28 March, 2011

Club Racing- It's Fun????

Yesterday (Sunday) was a club race meet. A hill climb TT (let's just say I wasn't last OK?) and then a 25k road race (for us plebes in "D" Grade) and 40km for the remaining grades. The "D" graders had a bit of fun- we're those who are new to the sport, not-quite-so-serious, and/or coming back from illness/retirement/deathbed, or just want to have a social hit-out. In case you're having a hard time doing the calcs- I ride in D Grade. I like the social aspect of D grade and if/when my fitness level gets to a degree where I can outride the other D grade riders, it will be time to move to C.

Club racing should be fun- it helps keep the spirit and camaraderie alive. And that's important in small clubs...

Yesterday I witnessed what was possibly the most unsportsmanlike race I have seen in our club. Earlier in the year (I'm talking this calendar year) a group of riders decided to form a team within the club- which is fine I guess for external events, stage races, etc... however, yesterday they decided to use their team numbers/strategies/whatevers in the club road race in C grade.

It became a race of 8 riders (Team X) vs 2 riders (non-Team X). A couple of Team X riders were sent off the front as a break and every time the remaining riders tried to get something going in the way of a chase, the remaining Team X would get on the front of the chase and slow it down. The remaining two riders never had a chance and there was no way that Team X would consider moving up to B grade because they would get whipped.

I just never realized there was so much prestige in winning by "swarming" in a club race.

I heard the leader of the team "apologising" to the other riders but it turned out to just be lip-service as that was "the race plan" they had set down beforehand. Makes me want to spew......

On the other hand- the countryside was lush and green, all of the streams were running and lots of waterfalls along the range. I know- at the speed I did the TT up the range, I had lots of time to take in the scenery.

Cheers- ride safe


21 March, 2011

We Bought a new TV and it Made My Legs Sore.....

I'm in recovery mode today. There was no race yesterday (Sunday)- in fact, we didn't ride at all but it feels like I did about 80km and then ran around "en pointe" for a couple of hours.

You see we bought a new tv and that meant I had to paint the ceiling. "Such logical progression" I hear some of you say. Well, Dee has done a pretty good job of telling the story of how we got to this point- I think I'll hobble off and finish painting the windows.


12 March, 2011

Did I Mention the Rain?

It's Saturday, the tenth of March. We're less than a fortnight into the month and already we have had more than 355mm of rain- that's about 14 inches in the Imperial measure and as I type, it is teeming down again. If it weren't for the palm trees, one could almost be forgiven for thinking it was blizzard/whiteout conditions- and the fact that it's about 25C outside as well. Not many blizzards at those temps.

The opportunities for a dry ride have been few and far between so when it wasn't bucketing at 5:15 this morning I decided to head out. It didn't rain for the majority of the 50 km circuit but it may as well have. The roads were still heavily puddled and it wasn't long before I could feel the water seeping between my toes and draining out through the bottom of my shoes.

It was better than yesterday though- I had probably only gone about 800 metres when the skies opened and so started a less than satisfactory ride. As I have said before, if it starts raining while I'm on the road, I'll stick it out- and that was my intention yesterday.

After about 4km with visibility seriously hampered (I need to wear my glasses when cycling and the rain on them was compounding the optical issues), I hit something on the road- nothing big, just very sharp- with the resulting tube failure sounding like a .22 shot. There was a bloke walking his dog along the sidewalk (which in that section of town have awnings from most of the businesses) who just about jumped out of his skin.

So I pulled off to the side of the road to hone my tyre repair/tube changing skills just a bit further. I was fortunate enough to be able to step under an awning to make my repairs as the intensity of the rain increased, seemingly every 30 seconds or so.

A quick once-over of the tyre revealed that the offending material had either been blown back out when the tube let go or was still somewhere on the road. There was however, a large gash right through the full depth of the carcass and any tube put in was doomed to fail.

They say if you throw enough money at a problem, it will disappear. For this problem I folded a five dollar note (we have that plasticy/mylar money here in Oz) and put it inside the tyre- over the cut. Popped in the new tube and pumped it up- ready to hit the road. The cut was big enough that the note was visible so I decided to not tempt fate and continue the ride, but to turn around and go home.

The rain had eased somewhat while I got the tyre fixed up but I probably hadn't gone more than 1/2km when down it came again. I did manage to make it home without further incident but it really took the edge off the day.

Racing for Sunday has already been cancelled due to a military exercise in the area where the race was scheduled. Apparently there will be a large number of vehicles on the road and we don't have the luxury of road closures for our races. The MTB event that was scheduled for tomorrow has also been canned- this time on account of the rain. It was scheduled to be a TT hill climb on a fairly new track but the club just doesn't want to risk too much damage to an overly sodden trail.

So with a bit of luck and the weather permitting, I'll just have to find another ride for tomorrow.

And I guess I shouldn't feel bad about the rain- a small town to the north of us, Tully, has had 2085mm since the first of this year- that's 2.085 metres of rain- most of that having fallen since they were hit by a category 5 cyclone early last month.

Cheers- ride safe

01 March, 2011

...to What the....?

I slept in this morning.....it was bucketing down for a good portion of the night- at least every time I struggled to some level of consciousness and looked at my watch it was raining. I think the last time I looked was around 3:15- too early to get up and head out at the best of times- let alone when the rain is doing its best imitation of a monsoonal downpour- hang on!- this is a monsoonal downpour.

I rolled over in the hopes of another hour+ of shut-eye. I certainly got the + out of it. 5:15 and I was out of bed like a shot- dressed, mixed a drink bottle and headed out the gate. Felt pretty sluggish for the first 10km or so and was just getting a good cadence going when the "A" graders went past.

I managed to stay ahead of the second major group until about 3km from home. They did catch me as one of those inevitabilities, and as we left the traffic lights at one of the major intersections, I recall looking at the bike computer and thinking. "Hmm- 38km/hr. That's not bad considering you've been off the bike for basically a month."

Then as I turned at the intersection into our neighbourhood, as a last check for the distance on the day, I realised my computer was gone. I did a drive-by along the route later in the day and there was no sign of it. It has been picked up, swept up or smashed into so many pieces by vehicles as to be no longer recognisable as anything I have ever had attached to my bike.

Cheers- ride safe (and make a reasonable guess at your speed and distance)