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

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Luck" gone AWOL

Today I scored the check in supervisor from hell who charged me 88 euros for my bike..just 'cos it was a bike.  Actually she said she should have charged me for 2 bikes but wouldn't cos I was a Star Alliance frequent flier.  That cracked me up 'cos I only have 1 bike is which in a bag with wheels only in the box!...she still insisted she should be charging for 2...sheesh..give me a break!

So, I'm giving Geneva airport the flick..not only for 88 euros but also from having to change money into Swiss francs..or paying in Euros and getting Swiss Francs as change.  So that's Geneva, Heathrow and Munich airports I refuse to grace with my presence ever again! 

Geneva..a clash of coin. Swiss Francs one side the fence, Euros the other

Since driving over into Switzerland..nearly all autobahn and nearly all in the rain, I've been busy packing up my bike and wheels, retrieving things from where I stayed on arrival and generally getting things sorted.  I finished packing my bike bags by 5pm yesterday and  drove to the airport to put them into the left luggage so they wouldn't have to be squashed into a shuttle bus. And this is when I started to get lucky

Lucky moment No 1
At Geneva airport the Left Luggage office is in the railway station (Swiss side therefore payable in Swiss francs) so when I drove in to park at the airport, I was supremely lucky to get a parking sport only 50m away from where I wanted to be. I also managed to do the deed and drive out all within the minimum parking only 2 Swiss francs for parking.

Lucky moment No. 2
The deal with the car was that I should give it back at 12 o'clock today and then I would be driven to the French side of the airport. After which I would  summon a shuttle bus from the Swiss side of the airport to get to tonight's hotel, which happens to be in France. The truly lucky bit was because there was NO  way I could have got my bike boxes from where I was dropped off to anywhere..the left luggage office or to where my shuttle bus stopped. There were no trolleys and even if you found one, you couldn't take it through to the Swiss side.....

I guess I'll be giving Geneva the flick for leasing a car in future...just too complicated  with bike boxes.Lyons look a likely candidate.

Lucky moment No 3
Since I was at the airport with time to spare, I decided to see if I could check in early, and yes I could but since I didn't have my frequent flyer card to use a machine, I had to do it face to face and that is where I got lucky again. Why?...'cos the number on my electronic ticket was completely wrong. I was in the system ok, but somehow the number got screwed, which explains why I had trouble checking in on line in Melbourne......The lucky bit is 'cos it took AGES to sort out..but I remained totally unstressed since I had 19 hours before my flight! phew!!

and finally Lucky Moment No 4
Eventually it all got sorted and I got my boarding cards. I was just about to grab a bite to eat when the most beautiful music started emanating from the arrivals hall, so I had a look see and this is what I found:

Swiss alpine Horns..just magic..soothing and special.  I hung around for ages, happily listening. Manchester tomorrow for the obligatory time in UK to meet the conditions of my ticket and then over to San Diego.

Turns out Phil is struggling, a very painful knee is preventing him from walking, so it looks like he really DOES need a spell in a Rehab hospital! I suggested he requests an x-ray of his knee too.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The long trip home commences

I'm not sure there's anything   quite so stultifying, so mind numbingly boring as driving  solo on an autobahn for 7 hours straight.  So when I saw this sign life was good again.

I dived for the camera and  a) managed to find it and b) take a pix..2 even. 

say no more, nudge nudge wink wink, but what do the inhabitants say when asked where they live?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

World Masters Champs

Well, the TT was so-so for me...I came 6th in a similar time to last time I raced here 2 years ago, but clearly the standard has lifted.

The road race was something quite different.... apart that is from the driving rain, uncertain wind strentgh/direction.  Firstly I got well and truly dropped on the Huberhohe..a 1km long hill starting about 1km from the start of the race.  The front group got away and I was soloing up the hill and dying from then on it was TT time and boy did I put in big time. 

I put in to such a degree that although initially I couldn't see anyone ahead, gradually I began overtaking stragglers from the younger age groups who started earlier,  sometimes getting tangled up in the queue of cars unable to overtake  riders ahead...???was the group ahead my rivals...I just didn't know..  but I kept on chasing, chasing chasing...

Anyhow...gradually I got closer and closer to the group...bugger only 1 in it was from my class and she latched  on to my wheel leech like..on, on, on, motor, motor motor...I was motoring but clearly the bunch was playing silly buggers and so FINALLY at about 800m out from the finish I made contact and so was in the sprint for second place. However the legs were far from fresh and I ended up 5th, 6th or perhaps even 7th.  (added later...5th).  Later on someone who saw me at the finish said I looked grey...and she wasn't talking about my yes I WORKED!  and in fact i think i did better on  the part of the course which is also the return part of the TT course better than during the TT race!!...weird.

Hopefully nobody thinks I got an advantage from the cars I got tangled up with...its really difficult to know what to all queues sometimes they were fast, sometimes not.. Actually on the narrow roads sometimes I was slowed down by them  and also couldn't descend a hill as quick as I wanted since I had to take my life in my hands and go down on the wrong side of the road...just hoping nothing would come up around the corner too quickly!  only 1 car  did  and   I had to quickly throw out the anchors and escape back into the slow moving  queue.

I'm truly stoked with the result and the adrenalin is flowing big time, the beer too..woo hoo!

Different topic

Some of you will have no doubt have heard about the possibilty that the UCI may not be sanctioning Masters Champs anymore...we've had a meeting here at St Johann re this but really are not 100% sure if its just a rumour or is indeed true.  There seems to have been no communication/consultation with federations but the organisors here at St J have been told about it.......!!!!!?????   Watch this space and also "World Masters Cycling"  on face book and twitter

Coupla pix to lighten the mood

guess when there are alot of cafes and restaurants you just have to have something to separate you from the crowd...and a witch will do it!

some signs I just can't pass without taking a photo!

Monday, August 23, 2010


The weather here has, so far, been really good..check out the blue sky in the pix.  However..its probably going to change in a coupla days.

this is the road 3km from the end of the road race..dead flat and dead straight.

St Johann has many, many houses just like these beautiful

the end of a Women's race

and yet another sign!

Sadly I may not be here for the races as I've just heard my husband Phil is in hospital with a broken leg.....obviously I have to shorten my holiday but am not sure by how much since this is prime travel time and there may b a problem getting my ticket changed......more anon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Austria and World Championships

We've moved on to Austria now and we are happily at our home from home at St Johann in Tyrol, the site of the World Masters Cycling Championships.

Talking of world championships..check out these  for weirdness..Sauna   berry picking   mobile phone throwing   and finally the loudest crying baby world champs  . 

Weird, weirder and weirdest and in the case of the last one very worrying.

more pix from Bled,Slovenia

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

more on Slovenia

great country..clean, friendly and very outdoorsy least it is here in Bled.  And it's 'cos of this last thing that`we're moving on as the weather forecast for the next 2 days is bad and there's not much fun being stuck in a hotel room for a coupla days  So we're off to Austria tomorrow.

meanwhile..I remain gob smacked by what some people have as house/garden decorations:

and  I am still pathetically amused by  Slovenian`words and I've opted NOT to know what they really mean

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I love Italy and its bike riders

it takes a bit of skill to ride a bike AND hold an umbrella!

Slovenia..misc pix

Slovenian cats are just as lazy as australian ones!

its been  along time since I've seen a sycthe in action

just a stones throw from the sythe wielding man.....

and when you have no knowledge whatsoever about the language, you Anglicise  or make things up


Bled church and castle

Korbarid .the Italian "Charnel House".  This was the site of an intense battle during the first world war btween Italy and the Austro Hungarian army.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 words needed

bolzano in the dolomites, tuscany and elsewhere

We're here because we want to see the Ice Man ...Utzi and it was well worth the queue...and believe me...i don't DO queues!

so its catch up time  and i'd like you to guess what these people are doing.....

answer a bit later

San Gimagno has at least 7 towers built by warring families......(!)

and roman remains and towers that you just have to climb up even if your knees are shot for a coupla days afterwards.

and great views everywhere...

and the answer to the riddle at the start is below

....yup they're posing!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


still in internet wilderness..or at least  only at an internet caff.  I'll just have to sort out my pix and put them on a USB stick......

weather perfect, house very nice, location loud church bells next door!!

We're planning to go to Bolzano tomorrow to see the ice man  museum (Utzi)  and if there's  time Alex may scale a Dolomiti pass....Pordoi (spelling VERY uncertain).

well best  finish before time runs to ride the grand canal

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


A bit of a problem with internet access has slowed input to this blog to a big fat zero..hopefully normal service will soon be resumed....