26 October, 2008

Put Spring in Your Step

How quickly we acclimatise. Just a few weeks back I was lamenting the cold mornings and how I couldn't wait for the warmer weather.

It arrived on cue just about the first of September and we've been pretty fortunate since then. Beautiful, clear days with temps around 29 or 30C and nights down to 21 or 22 and a lovely afternoon breeze to keep things from overheating.

Yesterday was a bit of a wake-up. The overnight temp went down to 18 and without any blanket on the bed, it felt like about 10 but we persevered =8^) and after a few minutes on the bike, all felt right.

Not much in the way of km's this week. I spent the week in Rockhampton on "Team Building" meetings and delivering training- I travel by a smallish plane and don't have the opportunity to take my bike so I walk when I can (before work, lunchtime, after work) and am generally fidgety and miserable while I'm away. My fellow employees think I'm daft for getting up at 4:30 every morning and going for a ride when I'm home and it's a routine I just can't drop at a moment's notice.

So even without the alarm set, my eyes snap open around twenty past four every morning and I can't get back to sleep so I get up, do a few exercises, eat some brekkie and watch a bit of TV news on one of the breakfast shows. It quickly reminds me why I don't watch that sort of thing when I'm home- well for one thing I'm riding at that time of the morning and so am not generally inclined to watch TV while pedalling along at 35km/hr and secondly, there is just so much cr*p about celebrities being touted as news.

So it's back home for the next little while and then Dee and I are off to Canberra for a few days in November. Dee has a national conference to attend and I'll be taking my bike and looking to hook up with a few local rides while there and then after the conference, we'll head off on some of the National Capitol's great bike routes.

A couple of our cycling friends are currently in Western Australia for a holiday break and they're following (more or less) a route Dee and I did about this time last year. They've hired a campervan and MTB's for the trip and I am waiting in anticipation to hear their reports. We had an absolutely spectacular trip last year and were just saying last night that it would be good to go back and spend a week or so in the southern part of the southwest around Denmark.

So many places to go, so many trails and roads to ride.

Cheers, Ride safe

19 October, 2008

The Hoodoo has Left the Building

Well Sigma has been vindicated. After 4 (that's four- one more than three and one less than five) successive weeks where my Max speed was 54.77 km/hr, the speedo has just proved that I was having an extremely consistent period of cycling.

Yesterday's coffee ride had its little sprint down to the Casino (as it does every Saturday) and I thought I was going to see 54.77 again. About a dozen of us headed onto the straight with me tucked back about 4th wheel. 75 metres in was about time to give it all and so I did.

As I went past Mark (and I should qualify that by saying that Mark was on his "fixie"- otherwise I'd see nothing but the Assos tag on the butt of his knicks), I glanced down to see 53.5 on the speedo. I thought that was a pretty good sign as I was still cranking it pretty good but didn't dare look again until we had made the turn and started back to the cafe.

Imagine my surprise when I thumbed through the readings to get to "Max Speed" and there, "lo and behold" was 54.77 km/hr. I was, as they say here in the Land of Oz, "absolutely gobsmacked!!!". But I hadn't rolled 10 more metres when the numbers just sort of rolled like a slot machine (if LCD numbers can do such a thing) and there was a new Max Speed of 56.23 km/hr.

So Sigma, you have been spared a spray in my blog- not that you would have anything to worry about as something impacting great numbers of consumers. I guess for four weeks, my PB was truly my PB.

And today, Sunday, was a race day- but I didn't race. Officially the season is over, but just to keep interest up, the local cycling club holds a few "off-season" crits. Well, that and the fact that in a few weeks time, we're going to have some of Australia's top pro circuit riders here in town for a criterium where some of the local elite riders will get to test their legs against the "real deal".

Add to that, the fact that we had a bit of a "social" last night entertaining some cycling (and non-cycling) friends and a young lady newly arrived in Townsville from Halifax with many curries, barbecued prawns and several "refreshments"; I suspect that the racing legs would not have been able to put forth their best effort.

As it was, I joined some of our regular group for a ride to"the Dam"- a ride which Dee often mentions- and then onward for coffee. We had a rider from Cairns join us for yesterday's and today's rides. Trevor is 70 years young and is currently here in Townsville undergoing radiation treatment for cancer.

He rides a 20 year old "custom made" steel-framed beauty and had no problem keeping up with the group- even when we were getting up around 40 km/hr. He's been here for 4 weeks now and has three to go and if his determination to beat the "C" is anywhere near his determination to ride, that cancer hasn't a chance.

Oh and I'll throw in one more little serendipitous item for consideration- his radiation therapy nurse is from Halifax, Nova Scotia and just happened to have been our guest for the curry night......."Six Degrees of Separation???"

Cheers- ride safe

17 October, 2008

My PB- four times over

Okay- this is getting a bit weird. A few weeks back, I mentioned how I had hit my fastest flat ground speed of 54.77 km/hr.

This week, yet again, I hit.................................that's a drum roll for big effect.........54.77 km/hr. Now that seems a bit strange to hit exactly the same speed- right down to the 100th of a km , but that's what the good ole digital speedo said. But let's make it a bit more bizarre. That's not the second, but actually the fourth instance where the max has been 54.77.

Now I could accept a hundredth or two either side but to hit the same thing four times, I just am having a bit of difficulty accepting it. Anyway, tomorrow's coffee ride will have a bit of a sprint so it will be interesting to see what comes up on the Max Speed readout in the morning.

Next week will be a bit of a bummer. I'm traveling for the week and so no bike rides until next Saturday (well I might be able to squeeze one in on Monday morning before I have to head off to the airport). But even worse than that is just being away from home.

I spent a bit over 8 years working in the offshore oil and gas industry and did my fair share of traveling- it was part of the job. But now it just doesn't hold the attraction that it seems to for the younger members of our team.

And it seems that Cycling has infected me- I have no desire (or even ability) to stay out 'til the midnight hour "networking" with my fellow team members. 8:30 rolls around and I've pretty much had it but when the rest of them still have their heads on their pillows at 4:30am, I'm up and ready to go.

I guess it's a cyclist thing.

Ride safe


12 October, 2008

And the Stable grows by one

Dee got her new bike yesterday- an '09 Myka Comp- "beautiful!!". Earlier this year, she decided to go with a "dually" and bought an '08 Myka Comp. Nice bike- well kitted out but it just wasn't right for her. The top tube was just a bit too high and so after one ride, it was left to one side under the house and not ridden again.

On one of our frequent trips to the LBS, Mike, the owner, asked Dee how she was liking the Myka. When she responded that she wasn't, Mike insisted we bring it back to the store and he would get Dee an '09 when they arrived on our shores. True to his word, the bike arrived and was built and ready for the test ride on Saturday.

The reconfigured geometry meant the top tube was now about 2.5cm (1" for those non-metricated types) lower and allowed Dee to have a more comfortable stand-over. I think she liked it- she rode it home from the shop and I'm sure was grinning all the way.

Oh yes- there was the financial reconciliation as well. When I asked Mike the amount owing, he got out the paperwork and the calulator and looked on the computer and came up with $50.00!!!

Fifty bucks?? "I just calculated the freight and the labour to put it together- that's all I want. We want our customers to be happy on their bikes."

And as a sign from above, I was waffling on whether to go for a ride this morning. It would make seven days straight and I know I should have a day off but I haven't done the ride to Ross River Dam for some time now and thought this morning would be good. Meet at the bike shop for a 05:30 departure and all would be good.

Got to the LBS at about 5:25 and just as I pulled up under the front awning, it started to rain- just a light drizzle at first and the as the others arrived, the intensity increased. We prolonged the departure- discussed options and then decided it was time to make a break for it on a shortened circuit and then back for coffee.

We probably hadn't gone 50 metres when the skies opened and down it came. I lie about 3 km from the shop and decided that I would be peeling off there. The thing that confirmed it for me was the first set of traffic lights we came to- it took me an extra 20 metres or so to stop- the brakes were that wet that they just wouldn't grip. Good thing there were only a few of us with lots of room to spread out and find a clear path to come to a stop.

Cheers- ride safe