Sunday, May 29, 2011

not racing (again)

I was thinking of racing. Ate pasta for dinner. Packed up the gear. Set the alarm. Got up, went to the race. Sighed with a bit of relief that we needed drivers worse than riders. So I drove.
Early morning mist against the ranges, and C grade going faster than I expected.

I don't find supporting a race easy. I don't drive much any more, so it isn't a 'no brainer' at all (not that it ever should be). I am mindful of the safety of the bunch. Sitting close enough to let traffic pass, but far enough back to have time to react to a crash. The radio crackles with complaints from truck drivers and caravan pullers. I want to snap at them to give these guys a break for 30 seconds for Chrissakes, but I leave the radio on the seat.

The first rider is spit out the back far too soon. I stick with him til I see D grade on the horizon, then pass and catch the main group. I don't know the course well, so it seems to take forever to the turnaround. Then the race really starts and riders are getting dropped, we are catching D graders, and it is getting complicated. A rider is spat out the back. I pass him knowing support and sweep are just behind. I check the rear view and he is fine. I check again and he is cartwheeling in a crash. WTF!

I slam on the brakes and look in disbelief at the rider prone on the open highway. I u-turn as fast as I can and go back, heart pounding. There hasn't been a single car either way since he went down, thank goodness for that! He is just a teenager, and confused, disoriented, and freaked out by the blood. I play the standard Mom card. You are fine, you are hardly bleeding. It is just scrapes, get in the car, have a tissue or 12.

I struggle to get the bike on the Thule carrier. I haven't practiced and it is too hard. Another car stops and helps me, then we are off the few kms to the finish. Hand him over to Mom and Dad and the race director, the full first aid kit. Lots of clucking. Hope he is just a bit bruised and recovers quickly (well, maybe a couple days off school as a reward).

So I didn't race but I did good. BoaB was second in D grade. I got a quick ride in to do an errand at the office, all good.

I could whinge about the cold all week, and the wind and my chapped face. But I won't because the Badger shames me. It isn't THAT cold, and I need to harden up.

And finally, a slice of life in north Queensland. When friends visit. We share a similar taste in shoes, but the traditional footwear is of course, none at all.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

dam tough

Today was the dam tough duathlon. Since the bike racing was in Mackay and I was home a duathlon at the dam for a good cause seemed like a good idea. Finding a runner is always easy (what is wrong with these people!!) and that left a 20 km ITT - basically - for a cyclist. Perfect.

We left home at 5am for a 6;30 start, which was a bit of a worry, since the sun rises at about 6:35 these days, and there are no lights out at the dam. BoaB pulled me along for the 18kms to the start into a headwind at a warm pace, and then we stood, and waited, while the race was late (a good thing!!) and I went from sweaty to chilled to shivering.

My runner (thanks Shannon!!) was great, and I got away in about the middle of the pack. I was hoping to do some catch and pass, but I only managed about 6 riders. My legs were baggage for the first 10 k, but the course was flat and familiar, so I just settled in and enjoyed the ride. BoaB passed me at about km 4.0 and then we saw each other regularly on a 5 km, turn, 5km, turn (repeat) course.

I really enjoyed it, but I was cheated of my 'thing', to manage a good sprint finish. I had to navigate a lot of turns to the end, a cameraman in a truck, and then the dreaded 'get off and run to the transition' finish. Hmmm. I think we came third of five teams (podium!!), most competitors were individuals.

It was a great event though. I won 4 months of gym membership, which I badly need to use with some intent. At this point my core needs more work than my cardio. I was a lovely morning. Getting started at 5 am and home by 10 am is a fantastic way to start Sunday. Then showers, food, puttering around the hose and garden and a kip in the afternoon is about as good as it gets.

And now a word about cycling and the Giro Italia. I am very disappointed with the media coverage of the Giro. Stage 13 of the race was so beautiful. Contador gave Venezuela’s José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) the mighty gift of a stage win. He showed respect for the tenacious wee fellow, who hung from his wheel like a limpet, in the best way possible. It was a great moment in cycling, a sport I love because it is more than the fastest racer, it is respect for a racer with the most heart. Nobody has taken up that story though. While Contador has moved up a huge notch in my esteem for his gesture, it has been ignored by all the cycling press.

A great day and a sad day for the sport. A stunning gesture of respect drowned by the chatter of the cycling press. Watch the races, make your own judgments. The sport is greater than the reporting, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised by that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

the hills are aliiive...

I didn't race today because it rained and we wimped out. Plus we never did get interest in a team (the wet weather saw only about a dozen show up). They went ahead and did ITT but it must have been lousy, I hear the road has some very rough bits. I promised myself a long bike ride, but it never stopped raining (it is still gently falling and it is cold enough you need socks!) So I finished the apron I started last night to wear as my costume to the Sing Along Sound of Music:

It does actually have stripes, but of course I couldn't find exactly the fabric I wanted, you never can. I looked at lots of images from the film, thought about it, bought a metre and a half of fabric and got stuck into it. My big sister will be amazed, we all thought the sewing gene had skipped over me, but I guess some things run deep.

Skirt from secondhand shop for $6.50, and I will wear it often because it is a nice cotton one. I think I have achieved Maria frumpyness! Now what to do about the hair... and no it will not get cut or dyed!!

Friday, May 6, 2011


I have had nothing much to blog about. Just peaceful living and nice bike rides. I confess to sleeping in this morning, at 17 C I decided it was too cold to ride and the dog agreed as he snuggled down under the blanket. So since we are now living cyclone and earthquake free and there is 'no news' allow me to post some garden shots from this arvo, as I took a stroll around the garden with Rusty.
Sunset and things in bloom
The always reliable ground cover/bulb Caladium (variety unknown)
Tibouchina 'Alstonville', we once cut this down to knee high but it is back and blooming. It is actually more purple than the photo shows
Hibiscus variety unknown. The most pure orange colour, and really blooming up a storm since I broke down and sprayed it with rose spray, which is about as severe a form of chemical warfare as you can unleash, but really knocks aphids, thrips and fungis on the head.
Flowers in the house too, it is Mother's day this weekend after all, and I am a spoiled Mom (and wife)!

Hopefully I can find a team for the TTT on Sunday, if not I will solo the 20kms and hopefully do some sprints after. Happy weekending.