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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In between riding and learning Italian there are the house and garden renovations

this fence has irritated me for the 30+ years we've lived in this house and finally someone (!) has been persuaded to accept a change

this flight of steps has been dangerous for an equivalent amount of time..they too will change for the better

Alex in workman mode complete with sparks and demonstrating he has regained left knee flexion

aaah! that's better

the step killing field!

after day 1's paving

it really is the cat's paw!

and finally here is Alex's knee as it is ice session.  Alex had been wearing knee pads which had made him  very hot and sweaty.  As a result some dry skin was removed and lo and behold we discovered some very small sutures still in situ just under the scar (you can't really see them in the first pix).  They'll be the internal disposable sort, but after all the problems we've encountered, we rang the doctor's surgery  and will get advice tomorrow.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Road ID

When I'm in Italy during July, I'll be solo in that I'm staying in an apartment and will not have family or close friends looking out for me if I don't return from an evening training ride, and may only be missed when I don't front up for the next day's class.

Sooooo I've bought one of these engraved with appropriate personal info..NOK phone numbers, blood group, allergies, med hx etc

 with the Aussie dollar flying high, the price was very modest, maybe $30 all up, and compared to the insurance it will provide if I'm unable to speak for nothing.

The service the company gives is speedy to say the least and it arrived at my house in less than a week after putting the order through.  For a change this is one American company which  does NOT rob you blind over postage costs...I have had postage quotes from the good ole' US of A that more than doubled the cost of the article I wanted to buy.

It came delivered in a groovy container which will now become a tool box for small,easily lost,  bike a double thank you to RoadID

Maybe it's something more of my cycling friends need to consider buying, especially those with medical issues a first responder team might need to be aware of.......

First race - back in the saddle and other things

Easter weekend  used to find me in various parts of the country for the Easter 3 days Orienteering Carnival, then when I moved away from that sport I could be found at Maryborough, Vic  for the VVCC "South Pacific Championships".  This year with various crocks and cripples around the house, I didn't feel I could afford to enter for the entire weekend's worth of racing and so opted for just the TT on Saturday arvo.

Alex was back to being able to get on the trainer

 and also work: doing the paving around the house..AKA re-paying his Mum, so I left him doing this while I drove off to my first race for...well for ever.....

he can't quite trust his his knee to hold for long periods at all parts of the range of movement hence the poor posture...but his work is really top class (Mum speak!)

The TT was only ~15km and the drive was long, but you have to start somewhere and I needed a base line to see where I was in terms of fitness.

The bike had to have a new set of bars since the previous set  were not UCI legal
and late last year I bought the updated Fizik chrono saddle, which at 24cm long is the shortest the UCI allows.
  This length will allow me to be less illegal wrt another of the UCI's ruling about position on the bike...something shorties like me cannot attain and so have to jump through hoops prior to each race getting measured and so getting position approval.

All these changes meant that the race was not only a test of my fitness but also a test to see if the new set up was ok....comfort, strength, aerodynamics etc etc etc

The course is downhill out and not downhill back!  If windy it can be a brute.  I sorted a few minor problems during the warm up..odd rattles, poor gear changing..the usual and at 14:02 I was away...last cab off the rank.  I hadn't a chance of catching my minute man but hoped to pass my 2 minute man.  I immediately found a problem I'd not expected....blasting out of the gate  and on a downhill stretch I noticed I was only going at 28kph  and since I was a threshold if not a bit above I began to despair...just how far down the fitness scale had I plummeted??...then I Garmin 705 had for some unknown reason defaulted to mph.  For the next few km's I tried to work out what speed 23-28mph was in kph, then gave up and went by perceived exertion.

so there we have it...11 mins out..downhill is soooo much fun and 14 back.  A good race, coughed my lungs out after, position fine, fitness down, fatness up but....with 16 weeks to go I'm on track for great racing in Austria during August

Monday, April 18, 2011

and 73 days forwards

So plans for the rest of the year:

I've been off the bike for about 6 weeks as work and then invalids took up my time and I became exhausted.

April First race back is a TT this Saturday, and being too fat and very unfit I expect to set a VERY low base line.  Low base lines are goooood!

May/June After that I'll be racing most weekends in May and some in June right up to leaving the country on June 30th for an 8 week stay in Europe.

July I pick up my lease car at the Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris and drive south to Italy via Austria (to pick up trainer, pump and tools from St Johann i Tirol).

The first 4 weeks I'm going to be at Urbania  where I'll be at an Italian  language school in the morning and some afternoons and  putting in some solid training in the evenings.  I could stay with a family, which might enhance my language skills, but I have decided to forgo that dubious pleasure as I'm not sure they could cope with someone who gets up at 5am, has food allergies, has 2 bikes in her room and will ride the trainer indoors if the weather is bad;-), besides which i hear that they dont always allow their boarders to use their washing machine??!! 
So.... I'm going to rent an apartment instead.

August  I'll be over in UK for about 10 days experiencing the Eurotunnel +car to get there and back and visiting family and my coach plus getting in a race or two.

I return to Europe to race in Austria, first in Deutschlandsberg near Graz and then St Johann i Tirol before flying home on about 27th 

October Back to UK  for the World Masters Track Champs which are in Manchester and once again I'm staying ay the Stables in Ashton Under Lyne..a totally superior place with a great host.

October/November followed by another language school session...maybe 2 weeks this time and perhaps in Florence.

Watch this space.......

73 days backwards ..warning gross pix of wound included

ok so the last post was ages and ages ago and if there's anyone left out there still reading clearly have faith and perseverance!

So where are we...well the project that I was doing is over.  A mix of great fun and teeth grinding awfulness - I seemed to have to deal with more irritating people than I really wanted to. Stirring the pot more than somewhat was a 2 week period of dramas at home that caused me to fumble and almost drop the ball somewhat.  So when I was not working retirement sucked, and when i was working...yes you guessed sucked.

Family dramas
1.Ben's' fractured scapula prior to Xmas started the chain reaction.  I swear I've now had ENOUGH of injured family members.
2. Phil's fractured hip from August last year ended up with non-union and so he had to go back and have it re fixed with added bone grafting during early March.  The acute hospital was  difficult to get to and had appalling parking and so I was grateful when he moved to the rehab hospital which was much closer to home.  He'd only just settled in there when I got a phone call from someone telling me Alex had had an accident and needed to go to hospital.

Now let me think..when has that happened before!!!

3. So not to be left behind in the bragging stakes  it was Alex's turn .Alex had had a slow speed off from his MTB and managed to fall onto a long spike of wood which went into his knee.  He pulled it out with some difficulty and managed to find someone at a picnic ground who called the ambos. They did their bit and told him to take himself to hospital(!).

Long story but we got him to a private hospital since it was the March labour day  public holiday and I knew all the public ED's would be bursting at the seams.  A quick wash out,tetanus shot, standard grade ABS and 4-5 stitches later and we were on our way.

End of story???

NO..just the beginning!  5 days later it was clear there was something very wrong so back we went only to discover there was still a big bit of wood in his knee and he had a very bad infection.  One op later and instead of a 2 cm long wound it was right across the whole width of his knee and he was on IV nuclear strength ABS's.

He came home with an open (but natch well covered) wound which was stitched up about a week later and 31 days after his fall he was finally allowed to bend his knee.  Earlier today,  4 days later, he got on the bike for the first time...full range of motion albeit rather "rusty"  but lacking in strength and endurance.   His knee now looks much better...well it'd need to (!) and when it swells as it does when he does some exercises, the scar looks exactly like an old person with no teeth in...must try for a pix..its a classic.

Alex doesn't have private health insurance so what was initially going to be a quick trip to the private hospital for the wash out etc for $250 ended up costing us $7400.  He's going to do some paving at no cost for us by way of paying us back and also as a "work hardening" exercise.

So that's Alex and in fact me really since I've been nurse, mother, taxi driver, Physio, social secretary and cheer squad.  Not much fun with 2 people in different hospitals when your work is at a really critical phase, but I survived.