24 March, 2012

Challenges? Well, yes I suppose...

Crit this morning....postponed from last Saturday when the weather wasn't fit for man nor beast- unless you're a duck. The monsoonal rains were wreaking havoc with many facets of everyday life- not just cycling races.

I had been hoping to redeem myself somewhat after the dismal showing in the time trial but if redemption was on offer, it would have to wait another week to be received.

We did manage to squeeze in a coffee ride last weekend but that was about it. The rain returned with a vengeance- and while I don't mind getting wet (and we're talking about having the rain water run down your legs and out the holes in the bottom of your shoes here) while on a ride, I have a bit of a problem heading out into that sort of weather. Once I'm on the road- let it pour- I can handle that and have on many occasions. There just seems to be something about stepping out into the open, from a dry environment, into a wall of water that just doesn't seem to have much appeal.

Looking at our digital rain gauge, it currently reads 566mm. That's over half a metre of rain since I last changed the batteries- and that was less than 2 weeks ago. I think it was on about 680mm just before I changed them. Anyhow, that's a lot of water.

Tuesday morning, I was thinking about my regular training ride- and how I was probably not going to make it. The rain had hammered down for most of the night making sleep a fairly scarce commodity. Just on 5:00am, there were a couple claps of thunder and the wind started to gust- nothing too unusual there. Then the wind picked up further and the power went out- then the streetlights went out.

Over the top of all of this was a loud roar- like a large military transport overhead- but it went on for a few minutes. Even the military wouldn't be heading out in the current conditions- at least not locally. A quick check on Facebook showed that a friend's home (amongst many others) had lost its roof and that there were extensive power outages.

A tornado had formed and torn through an area approximately 500 metres wide and 2 kilometres long. The roar we had heard was the tornado as it tore through the neighbouring suburbs. As the crow flies, it was probably less than a kilometre away.

Through my work with the local electricity distributor, I was well aware of the impact shortly after arriving for work. What I wasn't fully braced for was the level of physical devastation which took place. I saw a few photos of infrastructure which came back from the field crews but that did nothing to prepare me for what I saw on Thursday.

We did our regular training ride and as we passed the affected area, as we do every Tuesday and Thursday, I was struck by the twisted, shredded remains of the vegetation along the road- and the definition of the tornado's path. It must have been terrifying for those who endured those seemingly endless minutes enveloped by screaming wind and flying debris.

As we got closer to my turn off on the return leg, I was shocked at just how close we were to the twister. Tornadoes are not a common occurrence here- cyclones and thunderstorms usually have some warning and time to prepare. This was, like they say, "A bolt out of the blue".

Oh and the results from the crit were acceptable, 2nd in the preem lap and third overall. The result paid for my nomination and coffee with enough left over for the next crit's nomination.

Cheers- ride safe


11 March, 2012

The Results are in.....

The local race season kicked off last weekend with a 10km individual time trial- as it has for the last several years. Same course, same distance, even pretty much the same weather- a bit grey and overcast starting out with the sun breaking through and heating things up toward the end.

Pre-race nomination started at 6:30am with racing scheduled to commence around 7:00. That target might have been achievable if we had the same numbers as last year- around 60 or so. I think the official total for this year was 117 and as a result of the influx of riders, we didn't get started until almost 8:30. It was great to see so much early season interest from the regular club members, new and potential members and a good showing from the local tri club.

I felt pretty good- I had been riding quite well and in fact had ridden the course the day before. Looking at the log of that ride, I averaged about 37 on the outbound leg and almost 39 on the way back in with a couple of high 40 intervals. We had a good meal the previous evening and took all of the usual pre-race prep.

What a difference 24 hours makes- outbound was reasonable- around 35 but just as I hit the turn, I bonked, for the first time in a race. I could not will my legs to turn the pedals any faster- I think I maxed out at 29 km/hr. Looking down at the speed and watching the following riders catch and pass one after another had no affect- there was no response- no option, "this is the speed you're going and this is all you've got."

I have had club members approach me and ask if I had checked my time- surely the result was wrong (it appears there were a couple of riders' times which were out of whack) but alas it was the truth.

So I have awarded myself a little certificate, just as a reminder of how quickly things can change. Don't worry, I'll be back......

Cheers- ride safe

07 March, 2012


Can't find a definition for "blogostomy" but I would submit that it is a blog which has been excised from existence in the blogosphere.

I can hear people saying, "What the hell did you have on your cornflakes this morning?"

To which I reply, "I didn't have cornflakes this morning. It was toast and peanut butter."

 Back to the blogostomy- last week I did a bit of experimentation with one of Dee's photos- the panoramic shot she used of the city looking back across the breakwater and harbour. The only way I could do it was to create a blog, insert the photo and then view the blog to see the result with the intention of immediately deleting the blog.

And that is what I did; however, (and doesn't it always seem that there is a "however" or a "but", or a "whatever") what I didn't realise was that for the many thousands, sorry, make that both, of the people who religiously follow my musings, that moment of digital and binary existence became a bit of a mystery.

The blog showed up as a new post yet when anyone tried to access it, it was a dead end and so I offer my most profound apologies- well, maybe not my most profound but certainly up in the top 10,000.

"So what else has happened?", I hear you ask (Or is that the rain gurgling in the downpipes?) The running program which I embarked on some weeks back has been completed successfully. The Couch to 5 K program is a 9 week progressive plan to get non-runners conditioned to run a full 30 minutes (or approximately 5 kilometres). I would recommend it to any and all.

I have found that my cardio has improved, even considering the amount of cycling I was doing prior to getting with the program and my overall strength on the bike is improving. Although if I had to base my judgement on race results, I would call that judgement into question. Sunday was the first event of the year- a 10km time trial and you know how some days you just don't have it- Sunday was definitely one of those days.

Some project work I'm doing at the moment has seen a bit of an adjustment to my morning ride regime- an early start sees me having to cut my ride short by about 30 minutes. Yes I suppose I could get up another 30 minutes earlier but setting my alarm for 3:45 doesn't hold much appeal.

Cheers- ride safe