Monday, June 29, 2009

how we spent show day

Today is the Townsville Show Day holiday- the equivalent of giving everybody in Windsor a day off when the Hants County Exhibition is on. Now having gone to one of the best agricultural shows in North America many, many times - I do find the Townsville Show a bit lame. It isn't agricultural enough for me, so I give it a miss.

That means we have a day to just do what we like. So this morning we slept in til past 7am (this is a seriously late start) got up, had two cups of coffee and read the online papers, blogged. I updated my "who's counting" and realised I was close enough to 1000 km for the month to nail it with one good ride, so kit up and out the door. 63 kms later and we have had a bit too much sun, a good coffee (we drink Nescafe at home, I actually like it) and I have rolled up a good month. Bliss.

Now I think I'll mill up those organic chick peas I have soaking in the fridge and make a mess of falafal, and maybe some pita bread from scratch. Labour intensive cooking is a great way to enjoy a day off too, and we have earned the carbs!

of bike trails and bells

I read the link from Bluenoser about multi-use trails and the conflict that arises. It was delightfully low key and made some good points. Very Canadian, eh.

I agree that cyclists need to be educated to ring a bell or call out, just as walkers need to be educated to try and stay to one side and to respond to a ringing bell by clearing the 'passing' side of the trail by stepping to one side. The same side every time please! Sadly lots of walkers 'startle' at the sound of the bell and choose to step across the trail. I haven't hit anyone yet, but odds are it will happen if conditions are crowded enough and behaviour is unpredictable enough.

Sad to see ATVs are allowed on the trails in NS. I guess this is what has led to the imposition of a 20kmh speed limit! What a shame for cyclists who are trying to build some fitness. Hope they never cap the speed here, it would kill off commuting for sure.

They recently banned motorised bikes and scooters here (electric powered is still OK) but I can't say I was ever bothered by them. Universally home made gadgets, you could hear them coming for miles, and they didn't go any faster than I go. Usually ridden by grinning young men who had cobbled them together out of old lawnmowers or something, I thought they must be very educational. But now they are gone and I suppose the purse lipped crowd will be looking for someting new to ban and control, like speedy commuters. *sigh*

Friday, June 26, 2009

flying with cockatoos

I hit out hard early in the week, then mellowed midweek, had a day off today and spent the morning riding and drinking coffee. Bliss. Perfect weather, cool and gentle sea breeze and that perfect blue sky.

Yesterday, cruising home from work on dusk was a lovely evening. The weather has been mellow. Dusty moist clouds on the top of Mount Stewart forecast the beige fog that overlaid this morning. The air was already sharp with flint. As I came out from under the bridge the gum trees were in bloom, and filled with cockatoos. Restless as darkness fell they lifted, and enveloped me as I rode. I was deafened by their screeching, and they flew with me for long seconds, then lifted and wheeled back up to the treetops.

I was transported. I was a cockatoo.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Had a top day. After a rest day Sunday I had a good roll to work, about 22 kms. Watched/listened to the live coverage of the Nevada City Classic. It was excellent, nothing like local cable for colour and flavour. Note the usual programming on the left, City Council Meeting. Apologies that I don't know how to make it so you click and get a bigger image.
While I edited about 20 expiring web pages, sorted out finances (I was hired to do cartography, but it is more efficient for me to do my financials than have a finance officer do it - apparently) I followed the race. The commentators were excited. The crowd cheered, and Lance came through with a decisive victory. Most excellent.

The day was grey and humid, and when I closed up shop and kitted up for home it was the nicest conditions. I have been a bit blah lately, but as soon as I touched my bike my heart started to pound. That old excitement. I took off, hammered up the hill and decided to go for the dam before home. Tail wind helping me along, I held 34 to 36 the whole way. I turned short of the dam, because I have a lot waiting for me at home. The headwind held me back a bit, but I gave a big effort and got home sweaty and elated.

My groove back. Hope it stays around.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

getting moving in the morning

I had to hang around the house this morning so I could go to a 9:30 appointment at the Post Office for my passport renewal. I can't tell you how nice it was to contemplate rolling out with the sun warm on my back. While I was drinking that second coffee and reading the news, my brother in law skyped from Ottawa. The usual exchange of weather conditions ensued, and it turns out our weather is pretty much identical (12 in the morning warming to around 28) except I am too cold and he is too hot! What a laugh, it is all relative I suppose.

Boab just got his long thermal knicks is the mail, I have some coming from a different source. (Team Estrogen is wonderful if you are tired of mens x-smalls that are huge!). I don't know how often we will wear them, but they will sure be nice when needed.

Looking forward to another century this weekend (metric of course!). While the weather is perfect it would be a crime not to ride as much as we can.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Townsville female cyclist humiliates Floyd Landis

Ruth Corset is a Townsville cyclist on the Jazz Apple NZ team. On a stunning day in downtown Philadelphia, the Jazz Apple team put together a classic team effort to deliver Ruth to the multiple Queen of the Mountain (QOM) lines in first place today. Ruth is the tiny person in Navy on the far right.
But the BIG NEWS is that the women's peleton overtook the men, and that includes Floyd!

From cycling news:

Fast and fabulous women's peloton

Chaos on the Manayunk Wall
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

It's an atypical day when the women's peloton catches the men's peloton on a circuit race, something that happened for the first time in the history of the Liberty Classic/TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships on Sunday.

Some 150 women gathered at the staging area to watched the professional men complete three parade laps around Logan's Circle. Once the men set off on course toward Manayunk, the women's race got underway.

"I was a little confused why we were not crossing the men's peloton in the opposite direction like we usually do," said Teutenberg. "And then I saw the back of their caravan and I knew that we were going to catch them."

The women's field was off to a fast start with attacks coming from Trixi Worrack and Kristy Scheffenacker (Altarum) on the first two laps. A threatening break of eleven riders separated themselves from the field at the end of the second lap. TIBCO, not represented in the move, put its power on the front of the field and brought it back before it could gain too much time.

The average speeds were so fast that they collided with the back of the men's field, who were traveling at an unusually slow speed, mid-way through the third lap on Kelly Drive. "We only do four laps so it's on the whole time. These girls are European road racers and they are used to doing four hour rides full gas. This was more like a circuit race to them," said Olds.

The men's peloton was neutralised until the women completed the final lap and half, leaving the roads wide open for the finale. The women made their way over the cobbled chicane and up the fourth and last climb of the race. Columbia-Highroad lined up their climbers Mara Abbott, Kim Anderson and Judith Arndt to set the pace that few could follow.

"The last lap was all together going into the climb," Olds said. "They got up to the front and drilled it hard into the bottom so that the field was completely strung out. Then they used riders to jump over the climb. By the top they had four girls all at the front and used them to make a separation in the field."

Friday, June 12, 2009

time passes

I am scrambling about getting things ready for a trip around the world in August. My passport has expired, so that has to be dealt with. I did the form and all that, and had my trainee Katrin take some photos for the application. "how are they" she asks. Well, except that I look like my Mother's older, meaner sister, they are OK. Should I try again? No - apparently, that is how I look.

I have the weekend to attempt to capture an image of myself that doesn't look the the librarian from hell. I don't like my chances.

DON'T expect photos posted here!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

10.2 C

... and falling? It was chilly this morning. I have a very hard time getting going when it is chilly, so I didn't get a big day in. 10.2 C doesn't sound cold to most people, but to us, it is freezing. Arm warmers, tights, wool socks. Eyes streaming. Blow the nose about every 3 kms.

You know in the tropics you have glass louvers in the bathroom. So the toilet seat is 10.2 C too.

I must take a day off to just ride though, because it was a max of 25.1 C, and that is just about a perfect day to ride until you can't ride any more.

Monday, June 8, 2009

why I am who I am

An Aussie friend emailed me a couple of links on YouTube to "Nova Scotianaila" this weekend. He meant well, but the first link was a vignette of 50s images with a Stan Rogers soundtrack. I haven't dared to listen to Stan since I migrated. Too close to the bone. But I watched and listened (tissues well used).

This is a balm for the soul. Thank goodness I am from a place which understands (and celebrates) leaving. I am going home in August. I am really looking forward to it. I gave up this place to be successful. I am, and it was a good decision, but God, it was hard.

long weekend

It was the Queens Birthday weekend. I don’t know when Liz actually has a birthday, but I suspect it isn’t this weekend. It was also the north Queensland Road Championship weekend, so we have had a big cycling schedule.

I haven’t been on my bike all weekend, which is very weird, but will probably do me good. Up and gone before daybreak every day, I have timed and noted and stood on corners for a lot of hours, starved half to death ( I eat a LOT) and drunk a gallon of Nescafe – thanks to the mother of all Tim Horton’s insulated mugs.

So – winter race season in north Queensland. I will not bore you with the perfect weather, the ideal riding temperatures. Here are the Galahs looking on. Note the perfect blue sky.

Here comes my mate Adrian, he has climbed the range (about 400m over 4kms) , and is about 24 kms along a total of 60kms of road race. Looking good!

Notice the lovely mist on the mountains all around. It was about 23 C and a very soft breeze. Lovely.
I missed getting Scotty coming at me. He started from here, and I was still driving a friends Ute to the top of the range so he would have a change of wheels available if needed. But here he comes up the home stretch

Trust me, that is him. Then I have a shot of road, but no Scott:

Doh! Stupid camera. Here he is relieved to be finished:

Nothing worse than days of time trial, but until he comes back from the Bronchitis that is what racing is. The most admirable racers are the ones who tough it out alone.

But winners are grinners. Congrats to Adrian and Tony, who medaled. It is great to see friends contesting the titles, and winning. Scott started it all, so he wins in spirit. Love ya babe!

Monday, June 1, 2009

proper month

At last, a month where I got to stay home and cycle most every day. So I got my 1000 kms and I didn't have to bust a gut to get them. Sadly I will be away a bit the next 2 months, and I am going to struggle to keep up the kilometre tally around those trips. I am really trying to give away the travel. Maybe next year....