Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Cycling, or any exercise I suppose, is such a tease. You take it up and everything you do makes you better. Weight drops off, you get faster and go farther and feel like superman.The motivation is strong because the payoff is so obvious. Then time passes and the Great Plateau  is achieved and it seems like it is over. Except it isn't really, because you are still stronger and fitter than most people, but the reward isn't so great any more, you had your dash and what are you going to do.

 Smart cyclists start doing hills, but I hate hills, so I started running. I have made Wednesday my mid-week running day by getting a drive to work and running 5.2 kms home. That way I cannot avoid it, and with one run firmly planted in the week I hope I will be motivated to do two more somewhere. Haven't got that bedded down yet, but I am optimistic.

here I realize there are two people wearing cycling kit. guess who.
We are used to a Sunday race day, so with road season well over it seemed like a good idea to do a Duathlon for some running motivation, and a ride thrown in. We got up very early and rode out to the dam for the race start. We were the only people who rode, which I thought was weird. We were also the only cyclists running, which means we dressed funny by runners standards. Well whatever. I figured if I wore my tribal kit I would be motivated to not let the side down, and it helped.
Yay! It is over, this really sucked!
I would like to say I smashed it, but I didn't. It was way shorter than the 5km run/10 km ride advertised, which normally would have annoyed me, but I was just grateful it was over. Blah. The best part of the event for me was the 18 kms to and from the start.

And now some pictures! I still take a photo every day, but if I don't get it posted the moment seems to pass. Rantwick has been begging for autumn foliage photos, but it is too late here for the end of winter leaf drop which is similar, so instead I have shots of early summer blooms.
 Jacaranda at the Uni. They do much better in the sub-tropics
 I adore Poinciana, they scream Christmas season to me now. Beats snow! This is the home stretch to the dam, I use the road but there is a bike/walkway too. We have it good here for the most part. 
 These make a great cut flower too.
Finally, at home a tomato that sprouted unbidden before we left for a month of the dry season is so impressive that it has gotten a bit of love. Few bike tubes get wasted when you have a big garden. You can see how poor and dry the soil is, and this thing is just powering along. I have a few fruit set aside for seed, this is a keeper. The tomatoes in my pampered veggie patch were an epic fail.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

on running

I don't like to run. It is hard and it makes my legs hurt. However, it makes me stronger and improves my cycling, as well as helping keep my bone density high, so I am determined to get running into my routine 3 times a week. Today was one of those madly windy mornings, and it was a running day, so I left the bike home and walked and ran to work, then ran most of the way home, making about 7kms running out of 11 kms travel for the day. My legs are really tired and aching. Good effort for me.

And now photos. My local, native hoya hanging over the fence and blooming like mad to celebrate the start of summer. It gladdened my heart as I headed out this morning, what a wonderful thing.

The run home was interrupted by a black cockatoo right over my head enjoying gum nuts. 

It isn't a great shot but considering how I was travelling at that point, a nice distraction. I ran like a sack of rocks today. It does get better, just don't ever stop. I am registered for a duathlon this Sunday of a 2.5 km run, 10 km bike ride, and 2.5 km run. I have no idea how I will cope with shoes and transition and stuff, it is my first multi sport race. At least I don't have to swim!! I must be nuts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ride interrupted

I got up and pfaffed around and still managed to leave in good time for a hard ride. I missed out on 50 kms yesterday and i was miffed, because that ride was always 50 ks and now it is not (according to my GPS), go figure. I took my lovely bike off the rack ( my heart quickens) and the back tire was flat. *sigh*

I had it all changed and was pumping up when Scott got home. Better late than never I headed off and fanged for maybe 8kms before I got a flat. I pulled off the road and did a patch job - I just put in a new tube!! - and remounted it. I spared a thought to the implications of me on the roadside, wheel with valve against my upper thigh while I worked my mini pump to fill the tire. Lets just say I managed to continue on my way before the police arrived.

I got to work and hit the showers to discover that my lunch had failed while I was pumping by the roadside and my dress was soaked with melon juice. I put it on anyway because it was all I had, but I couldn't manage the back zip as it wouldn't slide up as usual to allow that most difficult of feminine maneuvers. Stumped, I left the showers to find a fellow techie having a smoke just outside. He fixed me up with the 'whatever happens' attitude that is the mark of a good technical officer. On Ya Rob.

I wafted through the day smelling of sweet fruit and did a deal of work, then kitted up to ride home, to find a flat. *sigh* I walked to the bike shed so I could change my tube and use the floor pump. I think I am well under 15 minutes for a tube change and clean up now. Practice makes perfect. I have set my alarm a half hour earlier than usual for tomorrow, I need a good ride and I will have it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Croc Trophy

We drove up to Cairns this weekend to see the start of the Crocodile Trophy, and it was wonderful. I regret not taking pictures of pies, because they were an important part of the experience. Aussie meat pies are magic.
 The opening race was a prologue on the Smithfield tracks. A Great chance to see these elite riders up close many times 
 We settled into a pocket of tropical pine in the rainforest and had a fantastic view. A friend from Townsville was competing in this race, which makes him a very big deal! Go Guy! That is him in the red.
 Almost missed the shot but there are two guys on a tandem doing the race! SICK!
 During some small lulls in the action I noticed a plant covered in insects. Just the one plant. Strange and delightfully rainforest creepy.
 Guy finishing well in the Masters 2 category under the famous Croc Trophy finish line. Fantastic.
He looks happy so far, but it gets a lot worse before it gets better! Best of luck and I will be following the rest of the race very closely. It is always thrilling, but even more so this year!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


For me, it was my annual drive to work day, but I made up for it by running home. I have a blog full of photos here:

I had to laugh running home. I got all geared up and tied my backpack down with a scarf so it wouldn't bounce around, and headed out from work. I got to the first corner and a workmate pulled over and asked if my bike was broken, and did I need a drive home. "No, I am OK, I am just running home because I had to drive in with the van and breakfast, and my bike is at home but I need the cross training anyway."  Surprise from my workmate "but it is too far".

Has it really come to this? That a 5 km walk/run is beyond the comprehension of normal people? Am I so far out of the loop of normal?

Any way, I did my run home, running for probably 3 kms, and walking either end. I loved it, I need to do more of this. The last km or so was really slow because I know so many cyclists, and they all stopped to ask why I was running, and many thanked me for putting on a brilliant RTW Day breakfast (it was pretty fantastic if I don't say so myself).

So tomorrow I get to get up early and ride, and I intend doing just that. Back to normal and twitching for a bit of free flight.

Monday, October 15, 2012

feeling better

I knew before I got up that my face was in strife. I couldn't sleep on my right side because it throbbed, but even that didn't prepare me for a look in the mirror when I got up. UGH!

My face now hurts more to look at than to feel, and that has to be a good thing. I stayed home today, which grieved me because that means no bike ride, the cancelling of some really valuable meetings, and missing the annual 'laying on of hands' of our Vice Chancellor. Bugger.

So I pottered in the garden, and went to the shops and got free food for Ride to Work Day on Wednesday, iced my face regularly while reading the news of the world and keeping up with my email, and I cut some fresh flowers. I think I'm healing so well because of their beauty. I don't look normal yet, but I do feel better.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

ouchy weekend

For some strange reason the guys all grabbed their old cyclechinos jerseys for the Saturday coffee ride.   I got nostalgic by having a good old low speed crash with another cyclist and landing hard on my shoulder. Not a bad bingle (I laughed my head off and some grumpy old guy in his yard thought we were nuts) but the shoulder feels a bit sore and stiff today.
 That didn't stop me from riding out to an event to represent the Townsville BUG. Very nice ride to a very nice National Park
Where I promptly got stung on the lip by a wasp who was put out by all the activity. My body doesn't react all that well to Aussie wasps, but I just get a big swelling, no other symptoms.

 Saved by my favorite Knight in shining VW Van, I abandoned
The swelling has evened out on my lip, but the side of my face is now massive. It will go down over the next couple of days, I have been through this before. Usually it is a high speed collision on the bikeway that gets me stung. I think this may be the first time I have ever seen a paper wasp when I was holding still.
Looking very Hollywood with that lip, must get that eyebrow groove spackled next. Ha! I'll be glad to go back to my usual aging visage, this is an honest BLOG after all.

Friday, October 12, 2012

just nerds

No nerdy photos, just a photo of nerds
I was a nerd first! I was doing the ESRI 3D course around the corner from my son's place, so he joined me for a coffee and a deep conversation about GIS technologies. Scott joined us and it is amazing how he keeps his eyes from glazing over when we talk shop. My son is an AutoCAD guru and GIS geek, and that is my gift to him I guess.

Meanwhile back at the Uni it is nearly Ride to Work Day and a favorite cycling geek was out working her magic. Bec, a medical student, won a bike last year and is so fired up about this years effort she baked a ton of cookies and exchanged around 100 of them for a Ride to Work day registration from students. I can't imagine ever giving up the BUG work because people like this keep popping up and delighting me. 

We have a few issues with cycling at the Uni right now, but it will all get sorted because I believe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

brain dead and no photos

OMG spending an 8 hour day learning complicated new things isn't easier when you are over 50. Although you are probably a bit more motivated than when you were 20. But I had no time for photos.

Before I got out the door this morning we had a kerfuffle and that f**k**g magpie sent my wee eaglet into a spin all the way from the high nest to my low lime tree:
 Smacked into a spiky lime tree, and feeling a bit helpless
 Getting it together for a staged assault on the nest. By the time I got home the nest had been gained and dinner was being served. Man if it was that magpie in my lime tree he would be wearing a cycling shoe up the side of his head. 

And now a word about airline food...
Somewhere in the marathon flight from Canada, probably over the Pacific (since the flight across the country is pretty much food free) I had something so nice I was inspired to make it myself. A simple salad of shredded cabbage, julienned capsicum (those are sweet peppers to you foreigners) and a bit of onion, a scant half cup of nuked frozen corm kernels, then a generous dollop of sesame oil and a lashing of vinegar & salt and that is it. A lovely crunchy salad that was perfect with Korean grilled beef and plain rice. 
I will try and get some nerdyness on film tomorrow, but it is very full on!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

back at it

Well I had a top ride this morning out to the dam. There was a rare morning tail wind, and as nice as it was to be scalding along I could only think "bugger I am going to pay for this". You get used to a routine, and I quite like a good sufferfest out to the dam with a reward of free flight when I turn around. It just isn't the same knowing that you are going to have to 'work those knees' to get to work.

Eagle news. We seem to be down to one eaglet and one parent, so one youngster must have fledged a bit too far to get home. The Magpies are probably to blame. I am fairly tolerant of wild things, but we have a real bastard of a Magpie in our yard these days and he/she will not leave the young eagle alone. It is relentless and if I had the means I would remove the pest. It would be thrilling to see the Magpie served up for dinner to the young one though. Poetic justice.

The Scott Edwards Glamour Photography Studio continues to break ground with this shot of my new kit. It should have been a corker of me in action on a tight corner or something, but instead I am my usual disheveled self in that garden at the end of the day.

The lone eaglet is there in the centre, on the branch that goes across towards the nest.
A close up, but not a great one. 

On a nerdy 3D visualization course for the next two days, there may be nerdy photos.

Monday, October 8, 2012

being slack

I have taken time off to recover, and I indeed much better. Thanks TJ and carol for dropping by to check my pulse.

I have been able to get some decent riding in, and like TJ says, you quickly get that relationship with the bike back into high gear, and it is lovely to fly along on your perfect ride. It is getting nice and warm too, and as soon as the mornings get over 25 degree C I will be able to ride without blowing my nose all the time, which is a treat.

I have been spending a lot of time in the garden, and it is amazing what a bit of love and water will do in a few short weeks. Here is a better shot on the golden orchid. It is a local native and I was give a small plant collected in the bush (which I would not do myself!) and I am thrilled at how well it has done.
I have been buying flowers

 and cooking up feasts
 harvesting produce. This pumpkin (squash actually) is a funny shape because it was hanging in the orange tree and got all elongated. 
 A flower bed all planted and tucked in with sugar cane mulch. Love that sweet molasses smell when the hot sun heats up the mulch.
 I am missing all that pie! Time to take charge and make my own.
 More flowers, more slow food, Scott made fresh pasta
 Tossed with roaster squash, crisp bacon and garden herbs. I'll start my diet tomorrow (ha!)
Home sweet home.