Life after work and the trips of a lifetime

"We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start." - Anonymous

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "Woo hoo! What a ride!..attributed in this form to either Maxine Cartoon or anon

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Training and a bit of waffle

Today's ride was the 120km MAD ride...Melbourne Autumn Daytour.  The weather was great..not hot, a bit windy and what's more important...dry!
The profile of the ride below shows we were working out there..I'd have to confess to getting a bit fed up of undulations though.

There were thousands of cyclists out on the roads doing the main ride or one of the shorter ones, but I saw no-one I knew,  which surprised me as I've been riding and racing for over ten years now, and had expected to see at least one person I knew.

At the end of the ride I realised that a few things need to be altered with my bike set up...its great for racing but need a tweak or two to allow me to be comfortable for a multiplicity of days riding over 100km.

On the drive back  listening to Radio National, I was most amused to  hear that the Japanese can download "therapeutic" ring tones that apparently help deal with/cure obesity, hay fever and insomnia!!  Comment was made about the lack of research backing up these innovations!

And while I'm on miscellaneous waffle...I'm truly glad that my employer doesn't make me wear rabbit ears in the days before Easter!..or any other time (!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Training and retiring

With the unusual juxtaposition of an hour record  attempt, a 500m track race followed by a 3000km tour through Italy my training of late developed  has a somewhat bipolar  character.   In order to address all aspects (and guided by the Style Queen) my training is equally bipolar....I am riding to work 4 times a week incorporating under geared leg spinning down hills and over geared explosive efforts  when  riding away from traffic lights and then doing long rides at the weekend.

Last weekend I did 1x long ride, this weekend I'm doing 1x 2hr ride  today and the 120km MAD (Melbourne Autumn Daytour) ride tomorrow.  Next weekend, being the long Easter weekend, I will do 2 long and 2 moderate rides and will start targeting the long dragging hills I'll have to ride up in Italy rather than the up down up down up down riding that is so plentiful around where I live.

In the meantime, I've sent off my completed  health  form to the tour organisors, got my Italian SIM and a very simple phone to use while over there and am about to marry up my Garmin 705 with my SRM cranks.  I've got all my gear together and will no doubt have to leave half of it behind since I'm only allowed 20kg+7kg carry on luggage.  So, apart from getting my bike serviced during the week prior to departure, there's really not much else to arrange.

The countdown to retirement has now become widely known at work and as a result every day I'm asked how many days left now, although  those I see regularly don't ask, they tell me!   Is there a message in that ?!  After working for 25 years in one location, the thought that I will  be fronting up for paid employment only 17 more times is difficult to comprehend.  

Yesterday I started clearing my desk and desktop.  Audits and projects I have instigated and proudly kept - into the bin,  updated treatments on various problem - chucked, emails I'd saved for some reason or other - deleted.  Chuck this, shred that, pass this on to someone else, delete,delete,delete...what a spring clean!  

There is a huge change happening in our department as 4 long stay Physio staff have either retired or will be by the end of April, resulting in a huge loss of "corporate knowledge".  I'd like to think the place will collapse without me, but know it wont!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The training begins

The tour de rural industries today's epic was 104.3 km, 4 hours 30 mins 55 seconds all up..prob 2 minutes of that standing still at lights (3 times only and all in the last hour) and once crossing a busy road..also in the last hour.  The ride was s'posed to be 110km but I made a small navigational error and so went north of the dam instead of south.  Only 2 road kill, no hoons, plenty of short hills and a squillion rows of who'd know what crop.

Damage to my body? nothing a rest wont fix..Towards the end I was getting a bit of cramp, was doing a lot of standing up(!) and had some neck ache, but that's knee was coped well with the undulations.  The only problem is that I don't know which of the 4..yes 4 count them 1..2..3..4 things I did to try and fix my knee was/were the one(s) that fixed it.  We all know the  golden rule which is to change one thing at a time..but well, I didn't... I did the following:
  1. checked out my road bike and noticed the seat had dropped down a bit, so I lifted it to its correct height (probably about 2mm higher).
  2. decided that since  my riding in Italy wasn't a short TT, I'd better move from black to grey cleats (grey ones have some rotational play in ones don't)
  3. decided to have 3 days off the bike
  4. took some Voltaren
gotta get horizontal for a while....

48 days and counting

With a hook like this one below, is there any doubt I would be tempted (direct from La Bella Italia website):

Highlights of La Bella Italia Cycling Challenge:

  • Visiting Mount Etna Pompeii, Rome, Florence and Venice. 
  • Cycling through the majestic Dolomites and visiting the serene mountain towns amongst the peaks. The spectacular panoramic views are a just reward for the burn in the legs!
  • Climbing the fabulous Passo dello Stelvio (2,758m) with its 48 hairpins. This is a very challenging climb on the highest asphalt mountain pass in Italy and you feel a great sense of achievement at the top.
  • Cycling along the Amalfi Coast, which is one of the most enchanting coastlines in Europe and renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic beauty and picturesque towns.
  • Absorbing the culture and lifestyle Italy has to offer. Cycling around 100km per day means plenty of hungry riders and we make the most of the beautiful Italian food and wine. 

Already done:
  • Deposit has been paid, flights booked and paid for
  • Medical done   
  • Shopping done for hard to find emergency bike spares eg spokes for the Kysriums, derailleur hanger for my custom made Teschner bike and I've even bought a puncture repair kit, something I've not bothered with for ages, since I've never been that far from help in the unlikely event of a double puncture. 
    Still to do:
    • pay the rest of the $$
    • provide a mug shot and medical certificate
    • get my body ready for the task ie used to riding approx 100km for days on end- drop kilos and get my sore right knee under control (a patello-femoral crunching annoyance which is a  legacy of my hour attempt)
    • get my bike  ready for the task..already got a more friendly gearing than usual, but probably not really friendly enough

    But before I get on the bike for this challenge, I have a four day tour of Sicily with my sister in order get rid of jet lag, get used to the place and the weather and  to see the countryside while not under pressure, biting my handlebars, drooling and breathing heavily! 

    B'nB's are booked, the car has been hired, advice on dealing with Italian roads and drivers been learned and we're ready to go!  
    May 9th arrive and sleep the comatose sleep of the recent long haul cattle class  passenger, 
    May 10th and 11th   Nicolosi for the  Mt Etna and Taormina experience
    May 12th Siracusa (UNESCO Heritage listed town, birthplace of Archimedes, mentioned in the bible)
    May 13th Agrigento (history, valley of the temples)
    May 14th back to Cinisi via Trepani (my sister flies into and out of this airport) and meet up with cycling group for start of adventure no 1 for 2010.

    and now its light enough outside so I'd better get out on the bike and attend to getting the body  sorted.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Public holiday Ride

    On Sunday I fell into the trap of not reading the rain radar, just  the weather forecast and so my ride was 1 hour on the ergo in front of the Tacx Real Life Video. A pity 'cos it was sunny and dry in the afternoon.  I chose the DVD of the Cape Argus ride...which is actually on  as I write and which I plan on riding next year. 

    On Monday I got in a 3 hour ride before the rain set in again. Today I'm riding to work..about 35 minutes direct, but I will add a bit to start clocking  up the kms

    Here is the day by day ride plan of my May/June cycling epic

    1 Saturday 15 May 1 Palermo to Santo Stéfano Quisquina 103
    2 Sunday 16 May 2 Santo Stéfano Quisquina to  Agrigento 75
    3 Monday 17 May 3 Agrigento to Gerace 107
    4 Tuesday 18 May 4 Gerace to Nicolosi 115
    5 Wednesday 19 May 5 Nicolosi to Taormina 82
    6 Thursday 20 May Rest day Taormina
    7 Friday 21 May 6 Taormina to Palmi 85
    8 Saturday 22 May 7 Palmi to Pizzo 86
    9 Sunday 23 May 8 Pizzo to Lorica 120
    10 Monday 24 May Rest day Lorica
    11 Tuesday 25 May 9 Lorica to Castrovillari 127
    12 Wednesday 26 May 10 Castrovillari to Sapri 113
    13 Thursday 27 May 11 Sapri to Paestum 122
    14 Friday 28 May 12 Paestum to Pompei 100
    15 Saturday 29 May Rest day Pompei
    16 Sunday 30 May 13 Pompei to Cassino 155
    17 Monday 31 May 14 Cassino to Tagliacozzo 110
    18 Tuesday 1 June 15 Tagliacozzo to Roma 134
    19 Wednesday 2 June Rest day Roma
    20 Thursday 3 June Rest day Roma
    21 Friday 4 June 16 Roma to Capodimonte 117
    22 Saturday 5 June 17 Capodimonte to Castel del Piano 74
    23 Sunday 6 June 18 Castel del Piano to Siena 91
    24 Monday 7 June 19 Siena to Firenze 67
    25 Tuesday 8 June Rest day Firenze
    26 Wednesday 9 June 20 Firenze to Castel San Pietro Terme 116
    27 Thursday 10 June 21 Castel San Pietro Terme to Chioggia 153
    28 Friday 11 June 22 Chioggia to Venezia 25
    29 Saturday 12 June Rest day Venezia
    30 Sunday 13 June 23 Venezia to Tramonti di Sotto 140
    31 Monday 14 June 24 Tramonti di Sotto to Cortina d'Ampezzo 121
    32 Tuesday 15 June 25 Cortina d'Ampezzo to Canazei 71
    33 Wednesday 16 June 26 Canazei to Latsch 107
    34 Thursday 17 June 27 Latsch to Tirano 110
    35 Friday 18 June 28 Tirano to Como 122

    Injuries...none that matter...the  chronic injury in my left shoulder giving me a fair bit of grief currently...but this doesn't impact on my riding. a rental car for the pre-ride holiday in Sicily and confirm all accommodation  bookings for the pre ride holiday.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    the fund raising part of my trip

    A part of the Italian trip I'm doing is to fundraise for the Oncology Children's Foundation.  This is a charity that funds research "in pursuit of a cure" for cancer in kids.

    I anticipate it will take me a while to raise the minimum required..$1800, but I've started already sitting for a couple of hours at the local supermarket, smiling and chatting to all and sundry.  I've also got red wristbands to sell and am thinking maybe later in the year running a roller derby (that's a cycling competition on training rollers..not one of those feral roller skates murder fests)...although that will take a bit of organisation.

    For those who'd like to donate but don't get to see me in person, here is an online site you can use: 
    and any$$ put into this site will be attributed towards my obligation.

    Training for the trip of a lifetime..yet another challenge

    On May 8th I fly out of Australia for an Italian cycling holiday which will take me from Palermo in Sicily to Lake Como in the Dolomiti.  In between those two locations I will be suffering many days of 100+km cycling up and down longer and steeper slopes of a vicious nature, through rain hail and perhaps in the northern end..even snow. I will also be camping. 

    The cycling part is a task I've not had any experience of at all, camping I'm very used to, although not recently.

    Last Monday I rode the track for an hour to create a world best for my age grade, now its Saturday and I've finally managed to get on the bike again and done the first of my build up rides, which was a 2 hour ride  with no hard hills.  Luckily this weekend is a long one with a public holiday on Monday, so tomorrow's ride will be longer and a bit more hilly and Monday's will be harder still.  After that I will be riding into work most days.

    More anon as training and plans kick into high gear.