29 March, 2009

"And all that Jazz"

Just waiting for the"official" results from today's crit to be posted. I decided to go back up to "C" after last week's initial race for the year. I was feeling pretty demoralized after getting dropped from the lead group today after about 20 minutes but stuck it out based on my philosophy of, "unless you have a mechanical or a stack- you're going to finish this race."

I continued on for the 25 minutes plus 3 in a "zone". No one passed me and I actually managed to lap another rider who really gives me the "yertz" during the week on group rides. I thnk I managed about 7th from 15. Sometimes revenge is the sweeter than any victory!!

Back in the yard again today- tackling the bougainvillea. I don't know how many times I managed to stick one of those bl**dy thorns in a _____________ (select appropriate body part- and keep it clean!) Finger, thumb, heel, arch, toe, arm......all felt the wrath of a shrub/tryffid being pruned into submission. It had the last say- as I was chopping the larger pieces down to fit in the wheelie bin, I stepped on a branch and drove a thorn into my heel (this is through a pair of "Crocs"- not barefoot as seems to be the norm here in North Queensland)

As they say, "It's all good!!" Next week is a 4 km TT and then a 40 km road race. Crikey- I hope it's handicap and not scratch.

Cheers- ride safe.......but please ride!!


28 March, 2009

Cycling/Gardening- what should I do?

Once upon a time, Dee and I used to be avid gardeners- especially since coming to the tropics where things grow all year round. It was a regular weekend to spend at least 8 hours doing chores- pruning, mulching, weeding, mowing- all the things to keep a garden healthy and growing.

Then we discovered cycling and became "gardeners who like to cycle". This continued while our cycling involvement increased and we became "cyclists with a garden". Lately however, we've been "cyclists" and the yard and gardens have suffered from a bit of neglect. The garden beds need edging and mulching, everything needs to be fertilised after the heavy monsoonal rains this year and the new round metal garden beds need to be filled with gardening mix and planted

Today we set out to make amends. We spent about 4 hours pruning (I'm sure I could hear winces of pain as I lopped great juicy ginger plants and brunfelsia, allamanda and phyllodendron and a few hibiscus too). Tomorrow I tackle the bougainvillea- they are very showy but the thorns must be dipped in curare or something 'cause when you stick one in your hand, it hurts like hell- worse than any thorn from a rose. Add to that the fact that I have to work from a ladder to trim them and you can see another element of challenge.

But the bougainvilleas will have to wait until after tomorrow's crit. I'm going to race.........

Cheers- ride safe

22 March, 2009

"C" Grade next week

I had a successful return to racing today, albeit in "D" Grade. Having been unable to train for the last few weeks until the Dr gave me the go-ahead on Monday, I just wanted to get one race under my wheels for the season before going back into "C" Grade. It was a 20km road race along one of my favourite stretches of road- nice rollers and beautiful bushland.

The group was quite small- I think we started with 6 riders (C Grade had 20 I think)- and for the 2nd half there were 4 of us. There was one fairly young bloke who really didn't want a turn at the front until the last 600 metres. The other three had done our fair share of the work and I had taken the last stint on the front pulling the group up the last hill when he decided it was time to hit out and head for home.

I just managed to catch his wheel and then it was on- the two Pauls got dropped and with about 60 metres remaining, I managed to edge ahead of him- taking the line by about 3 metres. I felt quite strong but I know I have a lot of work ahead of me when I move back up to "C".

Dee didn't race today as she drove one of the race support vehicles- we always need volunteers and especially when it's a road race- and her assistance was greatly appreciated. She did manage to get in a good 30+ km ride down the Range. Hopefully she'll give the crit a go next week.

And it's good to see one of my fav bloggers back online- good on ya Bluenoser!!

Cheers- ride safe

16 March, 2009

Good day, Bad day

After much song and dance and playing the game that is "Modern Day Health Care", my Dr has given me the go-ahead to resume racing. While he was unable to explain the recent issues with blood pressure and erratic pulse, I've been advised that the test results and the readings from the 24 hour BP monitor put any concerns about my physical well-being to rest.

Although I've never felt intimidated by my GP, apparently I have classic "white coat syndrome". That doesn't really explain the high BP I experienced while not sitting in his practice though.

On the other side of the coin, of my favourite bloggers, Bluenoser, has submitted his "Last Post" today. Always entertaining, often thought provoking, and written with a keen wit, Bluenoser has kept me linked to my Nova Scotian roots of late- even from the other side of the globe. and "Yes B, when I'm next in Nova Scotia, I'll be looking you up for a ride around 'The Loop'."

Cheers- ride safe

14 March, 2009

I just want to race!!!

Ok- I've now had three appointments with my doctor cancelled in the last couple of weeks. I want to get to the bottom of this blood pressure issue and quickly. Two weeks ago it was- "we've sent the blood pressure cuff to Sydney to see if they can get the readings. We can't."

Last week it was, "we still don't have the data from the BP cuff." In the interim I had been keeping a diary of BP readings thanks to a good mate who loaned me a digital BP monitor. I even spoke with my GP on Sunday and advised him of what I had been doing (just in case they couldn't rescue the data) and was advised that what I was doing would be great.

Tuesday afternoon the phone rings and it's the doc's office saying they are cancelling my appointment for Wednesday because they don't have the BP readings. Not sure if you can sense my frustration but believe me, I'm nearing boiling point. They ring back again- "Can you go to the "Interventional Cardilogist, Dr. %^&^%&" to get a BP cuff fitted?"

As they say back in Cape Breton and Newfoundland."Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!" I grow weary of this but in an effort to get my health back and get back to racing- I wore the cuff for another 24 hours. Next episode is scheduled for filming on  Monday morning at the GP's clinic.

Oh yeah- tomorrow is the first official crit of the season on a new circuit of freshly built road. Well I can't race but I can go and gladly be soigneur for Dee.  

And on a very sad note, I read that 16 people are missing and presumed dead in a helicopter crash off the east coast of Newfoundland. They were on their way to a couple of the oil platforms in the North Atlantic when the chopper went down. One survivor pulled from the water and one body recovered. Having worked in the oil and gas exploration industry off Nova Scotia's east coast in the '80s and experienced the cold waters of the North Atlantic in the winter, my heart aches for the lives lost. 

As Bluenoser can attest- the Sea is a harsh mistress. It was 27 years ago in February (15th to be exact) when 84 people died when the Ocean Ranger went down off Newfoundland. We experienced the same storm as it passed Sable Island and our radio operators heard the drama unfold as the Ocean Ranger and all on board perished.

I later worked with a brother of one of the lost. He had a fairly reckless philosophy on life. "My brother worked all his life on the rigs and saved his money. Look where it got him- fish food on the bottom of the Atlantic. I'm leavin' nothin' behind me but empty beer cans."

Cheers- ride safe (life is fragile)

07 March, 2009

Here's hoping....

The weather in our neck of the woods right now is a bit perplexing (for some), frightening (for others) and awesome (for everyone).

There is a tropical cyclone- Hamish is the name for any and all interested- which is currently making its way down the east coast of Queensland at about 15 km/hr. Hamish was named late Thursday night and spent most of yesterday in a quiet developmental phase and has emerged today as a petulant adolescent- building into an impressive weather system. Today he has just about reached maturity I think and is a category 4 (out of possible 5) storm.

Cyclone warnings and watches had been issued for Townsville from late yesterday and we had been making preparations for  the worst. We have been spared to this point and it looks as if we will miss the worst of the storm with the exception of a few showers today. I suspect others along the coast to our south may not be so fortunate. Hamish is packing wind gusts of up to 260km/hr near the centre of the storm. This is "Cyclone Larry" or "Hurricane Katrina" type intensity. 

Radar image of Hamish @ 5:00pm

Satellite image of Hamish @ 5:00pm (Both images courtesy of weatherzone.com.au and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

In light of the possibility of the cyclone coming to land near us, the local cycling club has cancelled the time trial up the Paluma Range which was scheduled to take place tomorrow, until the Easter weekend. 

Just as well for me. I still haven't been given the "all clear" from the doc to return to racing. Plus I don't like hills to begin with; so an excuse to get out of a 20km uphill TT is fine by me. I've been wearing one of these little puppies and keeping a diary of readings- given that the one from the doc's office crapped out and lost all of the readings from a 24 hour period.

Another appointment Wednesday- here's hoping the issue can be identified and remedial measures put in place.

It seems a bit eerie sitting here with this massive force of nature churning offshore and yet there isn't a breath of wind through our yard. As I look out from the front deck, I can see a few palm fronds gently rippling in a light zephyr. Hardly indicative of what's happening out there.

One of our cycling group has just sent a text- there's a ride on in the morning- "weather permitting."

Cheers- ride safe
 Oh yeah- the numbers from February

13 rides (which is more than I thought given the weather)
Km for Feb:  415.6
Total for 2009: 1570.3