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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I love a sunburnt country

the lines from the poem  My Country by Dorothy Mackellar "of droughts and flooding rains." ring somewhat true this weekend

We've had the drought and this winter  have happily seen our water storage dams rise from being only 30% full to now being over 50% full, so weather can be kind and it can be  nasty. Yesterday I was not happy to find that it had been just downright mean.  It probably only took about 30 minutes of torrential rain to undo a fair amount of the work Alex, the cat and I had done in the veggie patch.

 the top left  wooden border has been under cut and the gravel and river stones swept across the  veggie bed beyond.  
 The edging helped save the veggies although in doing so all the water was channeled down the 2 pathways we'd created around the separate veggie beds and which have now been stripped down to subsoil.  Some of the river stones from this path have actually been swept into next doors garden about 30 metres downhill!
I've only lost some lettuce and 2 potato plants,  so it could have been alot worse.
Got a bit of work to do ....again!  but  this weekend is s'posed to be a wet one, so I'll just see if anything is still alive under there...the potato on the edge at least might be ok..

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Back at work, worm farms, pets with loooong fur and track racing

In no special order:

Pippi's "passport" says she's a domestic short hair variety, but she begs to differ over the word "short"..and so do we.  She's the only cat I've had to take regularly to the vet to be groomed as her fur gets really matted and she's none too keen on me dealing with the problem.  Each visit costs about $75 and she has to be sedated to accomplish the task.  Not happy..either of us.

Then..tra daaaah!   Enter this grooming tool which I bought yesterday....

Fantastic.  Pippi is now half her previous size, I have enough fur in the bin to stuff a pillow and there were absolutely no complaints from a cat who is really VERY happy to complain.

Worm farms.
There are about 1000 worms who will be very sad they belong to me...well actually there are probably only about 500 now. I dunno what it is, but they don't seem to be getting through their original food lot although I was told they should have by the end of a week or so.

Then there were the ants that decided to  use the base of the farm as their new home...little buggers! I think I'd allowed it to get a bit dry, which I've now sorted.  Anyway I've got a temporary solution of using putting the farm's legs in 4 bowls filled with water!  Eat up little wormies!

no biggie really except by the end of the first day I was legs and feet were sooooo tired and I pretty well slept the clock around.  It's nice seeing friends and colleagues again, although in this campus there are also many people I dont know.  And as expected, being a different campus to where I used to work, it's sort of the same but different.

Track racing
Saturdays TT was soooo slow, although a good enough time to qualify for gold .  I lost it all in the start which  must have been like watching grass grow during winter.  Plenty of work to be done there.

Darryl had asked me to us a 92 (52/15) and drop bars.....I was ok with the gearing but hated starting on the current set up using drop bars...too low and too stretched out and  I just couldn't get up to speed enough for the first bend and I thought I was going to fall off!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed the guys at Brescia's Montichiari velodrome will be able to get enough sponsorship $$ to get the European Masters Track  Champs up and running some time in July.  I'm planning on being in Italy that month  attending an Italian Language school to beef up my slowing improving Italian language skills and having the champs at Brescia would help me decide which school to go to.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Track and Road Championships for Masters

  • World Masters Track Championships 2011..Manchester October 9th -15th 
  • European Masters Track Championships Brescia, Italy ???dates (you can enter if you hold  a European passport or were born in a European Country.
The roads are a little more complicated and up in the air...more on this topic when its a bit clearer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The future of Masters World Road Champs

check this out...

Fitness Testing graphs for the past 28 days

These are the latest results from a 20 min test I do up the 1 in 20..currently they are quite a bit behind what I did last year, but are slowly  improving.  The ride in October was full gas and I had to stop to recover after the 20 minutes, the November ride was more tempo, so although the distance and consequently speed are less, there is a definite improvement.

Some stats below are, of course, averages and some not

                        October                                                                        November
Time                   19.59                                                                             19.55 min
Power                160.9                                                                             161.4 watt
Heart Rate          154.6                                                                             149.4 bpm
Speed                   16.2                                                                             16.14 kph
Cadence               64.5                                                                              68.3 rpm (sigh)
Altitude               220                                                                                 208 m
Temperature         25.1                                                                                30.4 C
Distance                 5.4                                                                                  5.36 km
Energy                192.9                                                                               192.9 kJ

This is the distribution of power I've been exerting over the past 28 days ....usually it doesn't have such a big top end shoulder...but twice weekly track training sessions with Darryl will do that to a graph!

 and this is an indication of how my fitness is improving. Put simply, the red line is the acute stress, the blue line my general fitness and the yellow my recovery or lack thereof

Friday, November 12, 2010

Worm farms, work and training

Early this week after a long weeding session, I decided to restart using  the compost bin with garden waste only and have a worm farm for kitchen scraps (no citrus, onions, dairy or meat though).  

We've not been recycling ever since the rat episode earlier this year.  For those not up with the tale, one of the cats kept giving me presents of rats either dead, almost dead or in 1 case very much alive.  The presents were mainly left in the kitchen but also were found under the computer desk, in the bathroom and behind a bookcase(the live one).  The Pied Piper of Hamlin told me to get rid of the compost heap which we used for both garden and kitchen waste as it was attracting the rats from...who knew where.  

Emptying the bin  plus all the rat bait he put all along their run seemed to have worked so, with just over a week before I get back to the salt mine, I spent most of  yesterday researching and finally buying  a worm farm for the kitchen waste

fibrous stuff soaking in a bucket..a bit like trying to quickly defrost the mince beef for Spag Blog

then it was put onto of the cardboard in the top layer for the worms to munch through as their first meal

 add 1000 worms
cover with a wet blanket or newspapers or hessian bag and put on the lid.  Apparently for the amount of kitchen waste 3 people generate, eventually  I'll need an extra 2000 worms.  First I have to see if I can manage not to kill 1000 of them!

Yesterday I went into work to farewell a colleague who was retiring  and took the time to tell anyone who asked just how boring retirement was!  Over and over I said..there's only so much gardening, learning Italian and training I can do before I go stir crazy!  and strangely enough no-one seemed too surprised....

There are many reasons for this of course..the transition from the excitement of travelling OS to ...nothing, the transition from being around and dealing with people to not and the transition from being crazily busy busy busy to ...well...not very busy... 

Soooo..a clinical locum from 22/11 to 7/1 and then a 13 week Project Officer job will keep me out of mischief (and boredom) until April and then it'll almost  be time to go OS again (June 30th). 

With the weather getting better, I'm back on the road.  Today's ride had to be early in the day to escape the windy and >30 C forecast.  A small branch falling onto the road about 10metres ahead of me gave me a hurry up and a clear incentive to get out of the forested area of the  Dandenongs ASAP.  No track training this weekend or next with the Country and Metro champs taking up both weekends.  I'm racing in the Metros next week, but only the 500m TT and hopefully during the Tuesday training session with help  I will go part way to solving the vexed question of which gear to use..  My all time PB about 2 years ago was in the high 42s, lately its been high 43s...I'd love it to be low 43s, but ........

oh change coming through as I type!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My recent training..sprinter or enduro?!

Looking at this graph it is evident that rather a large proportion (3/4 actually) of my recent training has been at recovery level (grey) so now my coach tells me its  is time to get some more wattage happening.

However to analyse the days in this graph:
  • I had been on holiday in the US for the first few days then travelled back and spent time recovering from jet lag and commenced being a nurse(har! har!) to Phil post hip fracture 
  • so when I  finally did get back onto my bike it was in  genuine recovery mode.
  • but  the weather here was very, very wet and so  I started doing 2 track sessions a week and of course with track training there's a fair amount of   lapping with not much wattage happening (recovery, light and moderate type) followed by vomit-worthy max short efforts..
 So while there's a lot of grey on the graph I can proudly point to other colours higher up the pix  such as  >23 mins at max, >27 minutes at supra and >52 minutes at threshold levels.  I don't think I've *ever* had that much top end stuff before!

The training I'm doing on the track is totally different from anything I've done previously and has given my ageing body a huge jolt.  Under the banner "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" I can positively report I'm alive I stronger???well, in 14 days time I'll be doing a 500m TT in the metro champs and I guess we'll find out.

How this type of training will help my no1 interest...road TT's will also be of interest.

After many rumours, we've now been told that the World Masters Track Championships 2011 ,12 and 13 are  to be held in Manchester and already I am poised to book accommodation...just waiting for the dates.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

foil the rhubarb leaf eating ferals remedy no 2 and work plans

lets see how this goes: stakes and bird net and secured at ground level by bricks

and with regard to work prospects it looks like I'd better enjoy the next 2 weeks or so...I'm now signed up for work until about the end of April

we are STILL not amused

organic spray remedy no.1 clearly failed!  the little @#$%^& ate 1 leaf and stalk clear off last night..given the poisonous aspect of the leaves I hope it's feeling VERY unwell. 

Gunna hafta go with creating a barrier of some sort.  If this works its a possum, if it fails its a rat since after the rat sagas of earlier this year I know rats can get in through the minutest of cracks.

So off to Bunnings I go to see what there is to create a frame for netting

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We are not amused


 possums, mice or rats??? I think there's  far too much danmage done too quickly to be caterpillers, as there'd have to be an army of them and they'd have to be VERY VERY good at hiding too.

 this plant (dill) was thriving and bushy yesterday

me thinks somebody's been sleeping on the job!