Saturday, May 30, 2009

connecting

I am not much of a social networker. My sister 'made' me create a facebook account so I could upload photos for my mother to see, and I would do anything to please such a fabulous Mother. Time has passed, and people have found me, but I haven't really gotten the whole facebook thing. But I took a look today and there was a dear friend (really) from high school, so I accepted her as a friend and I hope we 'talk'. Sort of neat really.

Speaking of social networking, once apon a time a couple of years ago, some people started cycling together. Bonding took place, friendships were formed, and the daft notion that a bunch of old roadies could compete in a mountain bike race took hold. We need team kit, so we became a bunch called the cycleccinos. I designed the kit to be visible from space in case we took a wrong turn in the rainforest.

We won the race, because we had some ringers, and lots of girls. I came lastish.

Time passed, and word got out that there was a nice social group ride on saturdays. And people came along, and the cycleccinos grew and grew


I swear there are people in this photo I don't even know their names, but that is OK, because we all love to cycle and we enjoy each others company. And of course there are people who have been added to the tally of good friends as well, and life is very good.

People need people. What fun to have such a community to be part of.
 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

early race



Sometimes a shot doesn't turn out, but then you realise you like it better than if it did. Daybreak, arriving at the race venue.

A road circuit loop over a hill and with sharp corners. I think D grade did 5 circuits this morning, for a total of around 20 kms. It was cold this morning, daybreak was around 10 degrees C, which for us tropical types is pretty rough.

The sun came up as riders registered. Boab has been pretty sick, but he was keen, so I made a mega Tim Horton's mug of coffee, took a comfy chair and the paper, and prepared to hunker down in my arctic fleece for a morning of racing. But this was training day for me, they needed another timer, so I joined the Commissaries and learned a thing or two about keeping count, memorizing numbers and pressing a button and keeping track of who the button was pressed for. It isn’t all that easy ya know.

There were quiet moments though. A pair of red shouldered parrots streaked by, emerald in the soft light. Spoon bills and cormorants arrowed in to a pond. A bull grunted at us from the paddock behind, while poddy calfs kicked up their heels in the first excitement of the day. A big ore train went by, it’s dual engines loud with effort, but so long that the final cars, distant from the power at the front, whispered and squeeked past us. 

We had to radio a warning to be passed onto the riders when a mob of around 8 big eastern gray kangaroos appeared at the top of the hill and settled on the road. One was really big, well over 6 feet, and at first we though people had gathered to watch the race. A truck went to the hill to scare them off, and they bounded away, in that most lovely of Australian ballets.

The races went well. BoaB was third in D this week (hacked up a lung for a few minutes after) and everyone got round safe, had fun, enjoyed the excitement and camaraderie of the race.

What a lucky life. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

hooning around

I haven't been on top of my game lately. The lurgy, a bit dizzy sometimes as I ride, no legs. So when I rode out to support some other riders today, I was a bit meh. A call went out to join the cyclists of the Great Australian Bike Ride from Civic Theatre 2:30pm. Mind you, the call went out Wednesday, so I spammed all my lists (BUGs, cycling friends) and then I felt obliged to go, since I was the spammer.

I rolled up and the numbers were few, but then the group arrived, and some local riders had joined them about 20 kms out, so they were a good bunch. There was much standing around, then some small laps for the photographers. The Red Bull girls arrived and we all got a free caffeine laden beverage. More standing around, then we all got to ride to a part of the just completed V8 super car track. Ours were the first wheels to ride it. 
They have altered this section so it can be used for criterion after the race.  They closed the loop where the arrow is pointing. The group wheeled around in a sedate manner, but I was itching to give it a go – blame the red bull but I was feeling better than I have in ages. 3 or 4 laps and most people were pulling over. A mate looked over at me, and I looked at him, There was just us and it was game on!!
We had a good scald up the straight. Adrian can leave me for dead, but he stayed beside me and we rolled up to 42 so easy, I figure 50 was very doable.  We had to show a bit of care because they didn’t clean the track carefully, and there were some rocks and gravel patches. When we race on that sucker, it is going to be awesome. I wasn't keen on the V8s, well I am still not keen, but this little track is fantastic!

Monday, May 18, 2009

skills training

I fronted up at a mountain biking clinc yesterday with a bad attitude. I had ridden the 19kms to the dam on the Myka, and it is such a tractor! I was sick of it already. But we rode in to the quarry for the clinc and as the morning wore on I came to appreciate some of the sterling qualities, and possibilities, of that bike. 

I still can't trackstand, even with those huge tires, but meh. I can now imagine getting over smallish logs, since I have managed to do it a few times. The dual suspension does a good job of keeping your teeth from rattling as you go over. I may survive a bit of single track now that I have learned where to focus and to trust the bike to follow the path. I will probably never master getting down steep and knarly bits (or up them either) but walking gives one the chance to admire the vegetation.

While not everyone needs hours of cycling in circles on grass, I sure did. I am a roadie who needs to train my brain that you CAN cycle through grass, and over (not around) a hole. I had to learn to believe that your bike won't just halt if you hit a dirt stretch, or a bit of sand, or a smallish log, or rocks. The instructors were excellent, and we learned heaps.

I am now looking forward to planning some rides off the pavement. Probably just on dirt roads, not single track, but that still opens up a world of possibilities. And I am going to try and ride the mountain bike at least once a week. It is good training and uses your upper body more.

In a couple weeks I'll be cheering on some mates who will be doing the Hot Rocks 8 hours out there at the dam. It will great to see them have a go, and I'll be there with extra candy snakes to help them grasp a bit of energy on the way through.  I'll remain a roadie I guess, but if I ever gain enough skill, I may give mtn bike racing a go.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

being the bunny

I mentioned that we did a time trial on Mother's day. This was a gift to myself and I really enjoyed it. The 20km return trip along National Park and flat easy country was lovely. Map of the ride is here, be sure to turn on the satellite view and have a good look around. There was a bit of a breeze, and the road surface is really rough, so I was slow, but I do this for fun so it doesn't matter that much. 

I know racers are not supposed to drink in the views, take note of the vegetation communities and spot birds, but I did, and it added to the pleasure of the day. I went at a good pace (I probably could have done better) and sprinted like mad at the end. Bliss.

I was rider #3 and we left at 1 minute intervals. To my surprise nobody caught me til after km 13. Only 3 riders passed me, and BoaB was the 3rd, and I was just so pleased to see him go by! So I was his bunny, and he caught me. I hope it shaved a few seconds off his time. After that I lifted my game and kept him in my sights, so nobody else had a chance. Even bunnies have heart.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cruel winter

OK, it doesn’t look cruel, and it doesn’t feel cruel, but it has kept us all sick in turn as if it was sleeting down with an icy NW wind.

I had a cold, and am on the mend. I only had to blow my nose twice going to work this morning, and I have turned wielding a tissue while cycling into a dainty art. Now, just hours after Sunday’s 20km time trial, BoaB has been slammed by a bronchial infection that has had him in bed for two days so far. Living on soup, tea and ‘fisherman’s friends’. I may introduce a dram of hot rum into his diet tonight so he gets some sleep between coughing fits.

The weather is unseasonably damp to go with the cooling temperatures. It has drizzled a lot and been gray more than it has been sunny. No enough to make you sick though. It is odd. Nice for cycling though. I came home early from work to check on the patient (I was fretting at work, and fretting is bad) and since he was untreatably miserable I went for a 20+ ride on the bike path. Then I went and got him some more fisherman’s friends. What more can a good wife do.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

sweet!

It was just one of those days. I figure if I had raced I'd have been in with a chance. I had such a strong ride this morning, held 30+ easy as pie. did a bit extra, sadly didn't leave time for the dam, but a great, strong ride. I flew up the single hill on my commute like Superman (well, Superwoman) and had a big grin for the whole ride. 

I had a good/disasterous day at work. I am a bit well utilized, and a few cracks are showing. I organized a meeting for noon, realized I had a lecture at noon, organized a chair for the meeting, had someone face my office at 10 to inform me the lecture was at 10, dumped last years lecture on a memory stick, went to the seminar room and rocked their socks. Well I do know my stuff...

I don't think I could laugh through lifes speed bumps if I didn't ride. It all came good, but the day was full on. And when I rode home I started sore and rough, but 10 kms or so in and the flow was sweet, so  I went an extra 10+ kms, and I'll tell you, if I didn't have so much to go home to, I'd have done a lot more.

Monday, May 4, 2009

too nice

It was so nice today that after my short blog, a sandwich and piece of pumpkin pie, we decided to hit the road again. Managed a 100km+ day, which is always a bonus. And because I was looking at 50k_loop while I had my sandwhich, I was shamed into remembering the camera for once. I promise to do better now that the drenchingly sweaty riding season has passed.

So here is BoaB heading past the dam on a damn fine day. We never even broke a sweat, but when I checked the weatherzone just now I note it is now 28 degrees, 51% humidity. This is cool and dry to us. We headed out at 7am this morning, rode to the Strand for coffee, then to Pallarenda for the thrill of a tailwind out (it was a bugger coming back!), then home for a break and out the door at NOON for a roll to the dam. This would be utter madness in summer. 

Here is also the promised sneak preview of the new kit. We will have a mega photoshoot on the Strand next Saturday. Juliette's is our favorite coffee shop and a major sponsor of the kit.

Here is me in my favorite red knicks (I like them so much I have ordered another pair). Yes we saw a kangaroo a bit further down the road, so the sign was correct.

And then we went home again for a 102.33 km total, and our presence was most welcomed by this guy

Being an only dog means you are very highly valued, and the rules of furniture etiquette no longer apply to you. Nor should they.

paradise indeed

I have my laptop back at last! Since I was away all last week there was nothing much to report anyway, but now I am home and enjoying paradise. It is cool, but not too cool. The sun is shining, and since today is a public holiday we could do a couple of hours on the road in peace.

Stay tuned for a look at our new social riders kit!