Monday, May 31, 2010


Karma baby. What goes around comes around.

If you cycle every day, by yourself, over a considerable distance, be kind. I always ask "are you right?" if I see a cyclist not peddling. I carry 2 spare tubes, one for me and one for whoever. I have a pump, tools, an extra muesli bar.

On Friday I was behind a commuter coming from the city, and as he changed gears to enter the bikeway his derailleur sheared off, smacked into his back wheel snapping many spokes, and he chucked a HUGE wobbly (as you would) and came to a halt. So I stopped too and checked he was alright, commented that my toolkit probably wasn't up to the task, and offered him my mobile to call for backup. Then we had a proper natter, and it turns out he stopped a few days before and helped a lady change a tire near where we stood.

Ah, we both observed, good karma. That is why I was right behind you today (I was going to go up to the V8 track and changed my mind).

Monday morning I am having the usual sufferfest to the dam (windy, cold, very snotty ride) and I realise I have a flat, that distinctive bump, bump, bump.

I stop and take off the wheel and I am struggling to get the tire off, I can't seem to get the bead to come out of the rim for more than a few cms. And then a gent who I had passed (and hailed with a hearty G'day) a few kms back rolled up and stopped. He is a real classic who I see often, but have never met, and now I am glad I had a flat.

My leavers just were not cutting it, so he brought out his. I nearly swooned, They were worn, and metal, and like delicate spoony surgical instruments. My tire quickly cooperated and the deed was done as we chatted. He is 91. Rides 100 kms a week. Started racing on the Tablelands as a youth, raced in Melbourne in the 40s. He is a genuine Kokoda track digger. He is still as hansom as.

We shook hands, and I am hoping I can organise a coffee with him next time we catch up. Isn't cycling grand.

I passed a rider sitting by the bikeway today with his bike down and phone in hand. "Are you right?" I called. "No worries" he replied. Sweet. Good karma.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

hot rocks

Congratulations to all my mates who raced the hot rocks 8 hour mountain bike enduro today. I normally would have rolled out to lend some support but I needed a half day at the office to do BUG things before a big meeting Tuesday. I got to the office at 10 am, and the wind off Mt Stuart was formidable, so I suspect it was a day with challenges. At least it was cool.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

from the inside

I am always interested in Canadians cycling in the Pro teams, so after reading Cycling Tips this evening I googled Michael Barry to see where he was from. The rest of the world thinks that calling someone 'Canadian' says it all, but us Canucks know better. He has his own website and while I have only had a few minutes to look at it, I commend it to you. It is the most tender and moving view from the inside I have seen yet. I look forward to getting through the whole site to its very beginnings, and I hope you enjoy it too.

Oh, and he is from Ontario, but I like him anyway : )

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

race season

Even though I spent the weekend in a stupor, there was racing going on. I only took out a club (sporting) license this year because I am a newbie and I need to stay home with my aged dog. The real racers were in Mackay (about 350km south) for a big weekend. Thanks to Melissa Stafford there are some pictures, and since I have been woeful with the camera for ages I thought you might like a look at 'winter' racing in the tropics.
Tony Zancetta. When I grow up I want thighs like his. Really. He is so scary powerful. And it is a good look, gives peole something to think about.
Adrian strikes a pose. Yes he is a big fella. You want to tuck in behind someone on a windy day, fight your way up to Adrian. He is also a great trainer, really kind and talks you through anything.
Adrian, Les and Sue racing through the sugar cane fields. Very Queensland!
Super shot of the race with cane tram tracks and the tall sugar in the background. So this is what winter racing looks like here. Pretty tough eh! Congratulations to the big contingent who traveled down from Townsville, you all did us proud.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

lack of fire

Well I could have ridden today. But I slept late (when did 6:30 become late?) and needed a coffee, and then it was almost time for the TOC coverage (yay! Mick Rogers) and then there was cleaning, and the home visit vet (bless his kind heart). Rusty is now on a new medication to ease his sore knees and hips, and he had a massage and a nice visit with his Vet. The we wandered in the yard and sent Dr. Bassingthwaighte home with a bag of limes and herbs from our abundant block. Way better than a visit to the vet surgery!

Then we cleared up old paint cans and junk, and drove to the tip (where they no longer take paint cans) and bought a few missing ingredients for dinner. I made fresh pasta and a super sauce to go with, and BoaB scrubbed the ceiling in the TV room, washed the couch covers (there is a relationship to dog activity and washing need) and I did yard work and..... I didn't go cycling, even though it was lovely outside.

So I guess it is official that while I love to cycle, it isn't the most important thing in my life. So I didn't make 300 kms this week. Meh. I have found a balance, and I am at peace.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

living somewhere nice

If it was any nicer outside you couldn't stand it. Every day this week started out sunny and then turned dark and glowery. But today is drop dead gorgeous and sunny, and the skies have returned to true blue. Summer light is so strong that the skies are a washed out colour, but winter gives us back a richness that seems bold.

BoaB has been off the bike again (still?) and is very sick indeed of being sick. I am starting to blame his workplace, because ever since he moved into a detached building he has been sick. Being a supportive sort of spouse I have been riding for two and spinning up some decent numbers for the week. I went to the dam every day except Friday, and enjoyed variable conditions that made every ride unique. It was windy enough on Tuesday that I think Badger may have noticed a bit of a breeze. It was a lashy tree branches sort of a morning, but I have come to enjoy a bit of 'riding uphill' without the psychological barrier of actually riding up a hill.

Friday was a beautiful morning, but I spent my 'dam time' on the bike path looking for an earring. The previous evening I had noticed my local Councillor ahead, caught him up and removed my earbuds so we could talk about plans afoot for a mass ride. I felt something ping off my chest but didn't pay any mind to it. Only later did I realise I was missing an earring, and I knew when it had gone.

So there I am wandering slowly along the scene of the crime in the vain hope that a hundred walkers would have resisted the glint of diamonds. Now this is where the somewhere nice part kicks in... every cyclist who went by, in either direction, stopped to ask if "I was right" because I obviously wasn't cycling. Now that is nice. One older gent stopped and we had a bit of a yarn while I combed the verge. He recognised the Canadian accent (always a good conversation starter) and told me that his Father had been in the Australian navy, trained in Halifax during WW2 and served in the North Atlantic. We compared health notes (I am in recovery from decades of high cholesterol, he was cycling nearly 20kms each way for physiotherapy after knee surgery) and we congratulated each other for taking charge of our long term health by cycling everywhere.

Then we concluded the earring was probably under new ownership and cycled our separate ways. I was going to go straight to work but a colleague caught me on the road and suggested we could fit in a ride part way to the dam. Off he took and I dug very deep indeed to hold on and make it to the turn with my pride intact (he seemed to think it was a given I could). So now I know I need a training partner to force me to lift it up a notch. I need to get BoaB back up to speed and on his bike.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

living vicariously

Last night saw us out for a rare social after dark. We cycle, do chores, eat, sleep. But last night we went out on the town and got home very late indeed. So we settled down with the internet and found a live feed for the Giro and watched, mesmerized, the best stage EVER in the classics.

The riders hated the mud, but it was old school epic. I figure if you can cycle at that level a bit of dirt and mud is doable, and it was amazing to see the stage unfold. I admit that Cadel Evans is my hero, and to see him calmly take the lead over that hard end to a stage and finish with poise was fantastic. Yes I sacrificed a race to stay up so late and see the pros do it. It was an inspiration, and I am privileged to have that race as part of my cycling memory.

I think I will try and make a few memories of my own now. Go Cadel.

Friday, May 14, 2010

a symphony

Even when I was a teenager I couldn't imagine the life of a rock star. It seems glamorous, but really, you are trapped in an endless loop of performing the same old songs over and over, and I need to be on the bleeding edge of change to be happy.

Cycling has made a lie of that statement for me though. I love my loops. I cycle the same stretches of road over and over, 10,000 kms a year never much further than 30kms from my home. I should be bored and frustrated, but instead, I finally understand a rock star. It only looks the same to an outsider. Every repetition is actually a new experience. A phrase that is slower or faster. A subtle nuance of wind that makes a ride harder or easier. I am fine tuning my rides, searching for perfect pitch. The perfect delivery. A deep emotion.

Writing a perfect symphony. Then fine tuning it over a lifetime. I have much to do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I do like being a Mother, even though I have sort of finished the job and am now an interior decoration/maintenance/financial advisor. We opted to have dinner at our son's last night, where I was given a purple hyacinth at the perfect bud stage, my son's justifiably famous Sheppard's pie and a decent red wine.

This morning I wimped out of a very hard race, which I am now feeling gutted about. I didn't even know about it til yesterday, as it wasn't in the draft schedule, and I failed to achieve mental readiness in time. Not only that, but I was already booked into a wine tasting followed by dinner and hadn't managed to get the bike clean and ready... doh, I need to embrace rule 5.

The wine tasting was excellent though, my first taste of Penfold's Grange, and a few other Penfold wines too expensive for normal consideration, as well as some other expensive wines. The best part was at the end, when BoaB insisted we taste an affordable wine, which we all agreed we liked best. Funny how the wallet educates the palette.

Anyway, I slept in late (that would be 6:45) had a few coffees and read all the media and checked up on the Giro, and Boab cooked jalapeƱo cornbread. Then I spent the day in the garden doing the sort of weeding, edging and tidying that most people never even notice you have done, but which makes your garden PRO. There are many ways to introduce PRO into your life, and they are not all about the bike.

My gift for being a good wife and mother from BoaB was a complete clean of the bike, with a new cluster and spotless lubed chain to start the week. You know, my whole superannuation fund is in shares, with all that implies in these strange financial times, and I could care less. Hopefully I have time to recover from the madness over the next 15 years til I retire. If not, all I want is a clean bike, a veggie patch and cheap wine. The future so bright ya got to wear shades...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Summer has ended. Mornings are cool, not cold, at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned. I am like a lizard though, when it drops below 25 I slow down in the mornings, and when it dipped below 20 the other day I was seriously unmotivated to get on the bike and kick up a breeze. Where did I stash the arm warmers?

No race this weekend, and no hard riding as I decided it was time for a bit of recovery. I decided we should do a hike on Monday to enjoy the holiday, so up Castle hill goat track and down the road we went. It took a lot longer than I expected, but it was beautiful and breezy and we had eaten a big breakfast with our son at the local Greek, so relax and enjoy.

So of course today I am enjoying the pain of using different muscles than usual. I am hobbled unless I ride, which acts like a tonic and loosens everything back up for a few hours, then things seize back up again.

This just in, there is a possum fight in my back yard. I am not getting involved.

Anyway, I have to hike more in future, I am obviously not getting a full workout from cycling. I am looking forward to later starts, since I need the sun on my back when it is cool, and winter is perfect in daytime. No 5am rides for me for a few months I hope, and that is a good thing.