Thursday, September 30, 2010

prizes etc.

My sister commented that I didn't reveal the fabulous prizes I won in the tri. So here is a prize that was very suitable for a women's team, SHOES!
They are fancy leather thongs with a contoured footbed from a podiatry shop. For free!! I also got a $100.00 gift certificate from my favorite bike shop, as well as a water bottle and lots of coupons for dollars off massages and stuff, I shirt that fits Scott and a hat etc. Not bad for a bunch of amateurs who expected nothing!

My runner has already gone from ""never again" to "will you be on my team next year" She crunched all the results. We came 13 of 29 in the corporate women. She came 12/29 of the runners. Our swimmer survived the seas from hell - enough said. I came 6/29 of the cyclists. What fun, I am in for next year and I will do better!

Now some flowers:
This is a gardenia developed by a local nursery, I think. I was sure it was something bred by Limberlost Nursery in Cairns, but a google search nets me nothing. It is very sweetly scented, and the blooms are sticky to the touch. They open cream and fade to dark yellow.

Almost the weekend! I will be glued to the TV for the next three days for the world cycling championships. On Saturday HHD1 are covering the Womens road race from start to finish. The whole thing! I have NEVER seen a womens road race on TV. Just bits and highlights, and those are very rare. I am very excited to have the chance to see women race! Hope I learn a thing or two (probably HTFU and train harder).

I am now in the "off season" so I have organised a slow girls ride on Saturday. The Cycleccino's bunch ride has gotten too big, unruly and fast for the newbies. Since I train all week, I have decided to take Saturday off and get some of the girls who have been left behind back on board. It should be social, fun and a way to get a new bunch smitten by cycling. Come on girls, we can do it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

tri photo

I didn't have a photo of me in the tri, but I got one today by email:

I am glad I am smiling, because asking your legs to run a few hundred metres after you have cycled hard for 16 kms is actually quite a challenge. Thanks to the "tribrarians" from the JCU library for the photo.

As mentioned before, we were the oldest team. We came 13/29 in the womens corporate class. I was SLOW at 31.5 minutes for the cycle leg. We rocked though, because it was fun. Fun is all that matters really.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday without flowers

I may have to do the flowers thing once a month, because even in the tropics there really isn't much new every week. I will look around tomorrow and see what I can post.

I didn't spend much time in the garden today because I competed in the TP Human Capital Corporate Triathlon. Yesterday BoaB competed in the Top Brand Criterion. This is all part of the annual Go Troppo Tri Festival and was great fun, but sure sucked up a lot of the weekend.

Corporate events are all about team building, so I was really pleased when we formed a team from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences that was one quantitative scientist, one qualitative scientist, and one technician (that would be me). In a male dominated school there were two all female teams. Our team had three women over 50.
My team mates. Fabulous, fit, over 50 females.

It was a bad day for the swimmer, because it has been really windy and the water was very choppy and silty. She made it though, and I took off into a stiff tailwind, then had to turn into the stiff headwind, and do 3 laps of that for 16kms. My runner was fast and fleet and came home in good time.

We didn't win on time, but we did have the "oldest team". I am shocked, because we think we are young! However, we are going to enjoy our nice prizes. Surely next year there will be more 'mature age' competitors forming teams, but if not, well we will be 3 years older and ready to win again!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

cycling tribes

I was properly riled to read the letters to the editor in the latest Cycling Australia (or is it Australian Cyclist?!) magazine. Someone suggesting that a ped/cyclist collision was obviously the fault of the "lycra clad, carbon bike riding" cyclist.

Just what we need, not just fashion police, but a firm assessment of character based on dress and bike choice.

My pat answer to the 'why do you wear lycra' question has devolved to "to piss off people who don't like it". Now I can add my carbon bike to the weapons I wield in an attempt to so anger busybodies that they choke on their bile.

What have these righteous haters of comfortable kit done for cycling today I wonder? Penned a letter that further divides our tribe. Called again for registration (and this from a cyclist!). Harped on about cyclists being a danger.

It gets harder and harder to be positive and friendly on the bikeway every day, but I must try. Someone has to knock the silly haters on the head with niceness. Kill them with kindness. And do it while wearing full kit, and on your very nicest bike!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

more Sunday cut flowers

After a stunning ride on Harvey's Range yesterday (sorry, I was busy riding, so no pictures) and a nice brisk walk at a fun run this morning, it is nice to have a quiet wander in the yard and see what is happening.
This orchid gets no love at all, it just lives in the base of the dracena and does its thing. Too good to cut, it stays in the yard and I visit it every day.

This shrub doesn't look great for cut flowers, in fact it makes a pretty scrappy looking bouquet:
I haven't cut it for its looks. It is Brunfelsia americana, the 'lady of the night'. As soon as the sun sets it will fill the house with a complex, sweet perfume. I had to do some googling to identify the plant. As with so many great plants it was purchased from a local market by the common name. I am amused by some of the descriptions I read, saying it is too small and spindly to be properly called a shrub. well mine is a good 7-8 feet tall and has been pruned back a few times. It is thick even though it gets shade, and in Townsville enjoys successive flushes of bloom every few months for weeks at a time. Right now all the brunfelsia, including the (I think) rather stinky but more lovely to look at Brunfelsia pauciflora (yesterday, today and tomorrow) are blooming their little hearts out. Spring fever!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday cut flowers

I usually cut flowers from the garden on Sunday, and since I also update the "who's counting" part of my blog on Sunday as well, I have decided to make a weekly feature of my cut flowers. It should inpire me to bring in lots of different stuff every week, instead of the same old.

The heliconia are currently getting the machete treatment from BoaB. They have gone a bit feral and need refreshing, so I went out and rescued some of my favorite blooms. Heliconia only bloom on new growth, and because they are so overgrown with last wet seasons growth there are not a lot of blooms right now. Lopping them all down and chucking on a few buckets of chicken poo pellets and we will be harvesting armloads this wet season.

I couldn't resist adding a few amaryllis as the colours were so complimentary. I do love hot tropical colours in the garden (and in the house).

This should keep the Atlantic Master Gardeners amused through the winter Carol!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

garden update

It is the weekend, so expect blogs.

We are enjoying some autumn harvest these days. I decided when I bought tomato plants that the only tomatoes which are always expensive are the little ones. My $1.99 investment in 4 grape tomatoes has kept this dish full for a few weeks now, and I eat a few every time I walk by, cook heaps and make salads and sandwiches. Good call. We also have papaya and limes aplenty, and bananas coming on.

These photos uploaded in a weird order, so I will skip around rather than struggle to fix them on my tiny netbook. This is a broken off bit of dove orchid I tied to the palm at the top of the stairs a few years ago. It gets no love at all (being off the deck) but has started to bloom.
I love that Amaryllis just live in the garden and do this at the end of winter. I keep dividing and spreading them around. I won't be leaving this yard without them.
The grape tomatoes are absolutely feral. I had no idea they would tumble out of the garden bed like this. The whole idea of planting high is to keep the possums from eating everything. So far they haven't savaged the tomatoes, but I am not hopeful.
The greens bed. We have eated a ton of silver beet (swiss chard) and there is always lots more. I use it in everything from curry to stir fry, quiche to soup. Full of green goodness. There is also parsley, some garlic which were sprouting and are now growing well, a single lettuce and lots of beetroot and dill coming on.
Best mint patch ever. We have gray-water from the washing machine going to this spot (as well as the bananas) and it is obviously a big hit.
I always cut the top off a pineapple, let it cure for a month or two in a dish as a "flower arrangement" and then nestle it in the garden. It takes about a year till it forms a pineapple. we have a half dozen or so sizing up. They are great fun to watch.
My Big Sister thinks it is a bit lame to grow roses in the tropics, and I agree. They never look lush but we do get blooms, and I only plant the ones that smell devine.
Front garden bed all weeded and mulched, and doing its thing.
The mother dove orchid. It only blooms on old wood (existing flower spikes) so never ever cut. They last just one day and smell of dusty lemons. I think they are like magic in the garden.
Not bad for a poor, neglected cyclists garden!

first group ride crash

I suppose when you ride with a group every week for years, it is inevitable that there will be a crash someday. Some days I have a bad feeling about the group ride so I just drop back and let them go, following at a safe distance. I felt this way this morning, and even told one of my early starters that I was going to hang off the back today, I wasn't in the mood.

But I was near the start of the roll out and the legs were fresh so I sat in the top third of the group. I was feeling pleased with myself that I had ignored the voice of fear and stuck it out with the group. The winds were gusty and we were going at a sedate pace when the rider ahead of me took a drink about 7kms into the usual route. Before he had a chance to get his hand back on the bars he ran over a plastic disk of some sort, which caused his front wheel to slide, twisting the handlebars out of his grasp.

In the most amazing slow motion he went down in front of me, falling left. I veered right as the rider to my left crashed. I don't know what powers of levitation got me over his arm but I never touched him, and managed to keep the rubber side down. A third rider crashed hard into the fallen, tumbling through my peripheral vision.

When I stopped and turned it was mayhem. I don't think anyone was badly hurt, but we were all a bit shook up. People were pfaffing about and making a fuss over the fallen. The guy who went down first said "I am fine, you just go" so I took him at his word and rolled off by myself. I wanted some time to ride alone without the penalty of being last in at the coffee shop, so I noodled along til the group caught me, then though "nah" and continued to noodle as they passed.

Despite my display of 'mad skillz' on the bike I was so suffering a crisis of confidence that I couldn't bear to be near anyone. I could barely make a start when I got stopped at the lights. A wobbly newbie again.

A couple of coffees later and I was much better. The ride home with my small neighbourhood bunch was easy. I know and trust them so well that I followed a wheel without a thought.

Well I guess I have done that ride every Saturday for about 3?4? years now. First crash. Hope it is a very long time til we have another.

Friday, September 3, 2010

National Aggro Day

I don't know what it was about today, but it was the most confrontational commute ever. Last week there was an article in the press about senior citizens being threatened by cyclists on the bikeway (actually 14 yr olds on bmxs). Today there they were, in all their glory, a great herd of oldies walking 4 abreast at commuting time. I may have been a bit sharp in my interaction with them.

Shortly after I was nearly taken out by fast moving uni age cyclists coming around a blind corner at speed and side by side. I may have hollered something rude, and I got an absolute tirade in return. Luckily the ipod was at a level to protect me from actually understanding what was said.

Finally I was stopped short of the dam by the 'roadworks from hell' and heavy traffic. I made to do a u-turn and this caused me to be slightly in the way of motorists, who were so wounded by having their tires touch dirt that they yelled at me too! Actually, I enjoyed this as I fancy aggro from a motorist takes actual time off their life.

I got to work safely but yeesh! What a morning! Must be the return of the humidity I suppose.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1

Well it is nice, but it isn't HOT. I was able to roll out at 7am with no thought to arm warmers, which is nice. But there is no dramatic change from yesterday, putting my observations of "the big switch to summer" into question. However, at 7:30 pm it is still nice, no cold southerly, so I think we are on the way to summer.

There are other signs of summer. The sea eagles are back, and kept us awake the last few nights with regular outbreaks of enthusiam from about 2am. I have failed to find an audio file, so you will have to wait til I feel like vaulting out of bed to make a sound recording. Be very very patient. The first Coel has called, which is a sure sign of spring, and a mango dropped just in front of me this morning. It was very small and bounced up to about eye level, reminding me that there will be a risk of serious injury for the next 2 months.

2 weeks ago a magpie attacked a cyclist just in front of me and BoaB on the Saturday coffee run. Seems early, but be afraid.

Spring has sprung!