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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

205 k's of grind

Last Sunday I took on the Audax, Wandong winter wander ride.....
I had been watching the weather forecast all week so I was expecting a frost when I Left the house at 6.15am, but I was not expecting the doors of my car to be frozen shut, back inside for some warm water for the doors and windscreen.
I got to Wandong just after 7am and the 8 am start saw a good gathering for the 200k bunch with lots of familiar faces poking around.
I adopted the onion aproach and put on lots of layers though I only removed one the whole day.
The road to Tallarook then Seymour was up and down but mostly down then flattish to Nagambie, so I was able to chug along with Richard and George Judkins for most of the way though keeping an eye on my heart rate monitor I knew things were going to go pear shaped at some point, not having done a long ride since march, that point was Nagambie, at about 90k's into the ride.
After a bite to eat I told the lads I would have to wave them off, as I would only be holding them up from here.
Getting back on the bike was nice but I had not gone 5k before I realized this was going to be a very long day. It's been a long time since I felt this knackered only 100k's into a 200 and was beginning to wonder, how I was going to get home ?
It's days like these where I need to set myself goals and my first one had to be really close, 8 metres on and things weren't getting any better but I managed to roll on to Lockington then Longwood where I saw most of the guys that were ahead of me pass me on their way to Avenel.
I managed to steer clear of the pub at Longwood and opted to use the store as my checkpoint where I tried eating a piece of apple slice, but for the first time ever on a ride, was not able to finish it. I like longwood it's a pretty little town.
Back on the road to Lockington my cadence was not much quicker than that of a 3 toed sloth on Valium.
I always feel better once I'm past the half way mark on a ride and at Avenel I was not feeling too rotten, till I got passed by an old guy.
The next control was in Seymour, at about 150k mark and I scoffed a peanut butter and banana problemo !
With about 55 k to go and mostly uppish I headed out on the same road we used in the morning but at a far more leisurly pace through the hills and gullies to Tallarook. I lost my awesome sunnies somewhere along here after hanging them in their new "special spot" on my Ayup mount.
I got back to Wandong in 6 days 19 hours and 27 minutes and dug in to a bowl of soup and had good chat as per usual after an Audax ride.
Even though I knew my time on the bike was minimal leading up to this ride, I was surprised at how hard I found it, yeh, I probably went out a lot harder than I should have but I have done that before and recovered along the way, eh ! Good fun though.
Thanks to Lorraine Allen and her crew for putting on a great ride.


Off topic ? Not here mate !

We're planning a big night out with a joke telling Polar bear but we need to be quick.
7pm, 10th July,let Andy or myself know if you would like to come along.
Click on the image for more detail.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sunday's Winter Wander

Hi Folks,
I'm planning to do the Audax, Wandong winter Wander on Sunday 27th. The distances vary from 50 to 100,150 and 200k's. Details for the ride are below, let me know if you are considering it and perhaps we can drive across in the White Lightning. Don't leave it too late if you plan to ride as organisers need a bit of notice.
Sunday 27th June -- 200km & 150km 8 am start / 100km 9 am start / 50km 10 am start.
Contact: Lorraine Allen Tel: 03 5783 2427
Make a comment if you still intend to ride from Lancefield on Sunday morning to let others know there is a ride on.
More from Italy...
Traviata was great, and Pete didn't go to sleep (chairs weren't very comfortable really). Had to dodge a thunderstorm which was a portent of the weather to come!
From Venice we headed along the Benta past all the Palazzi, through Padua and down to Montagrotto Terme, ignored by Lonely Planet but full of accom for the hot springs. The camping ground had a swimming pool next door so Glo was happy, altho the lack of goggles meant a trip to the chemist for eye drops the next day. From here we headed toward Mantua as it started to rain again so we found a train and got out of the rain. Mantua was terrific and the tourist info (when we found it) found us a b&b around the corner. The rain had stopped so we walked the town and had an overpriced meal (should have read the Lonely Planet). Next day was raining again and Pete was restless so we decided it was time to head to the mountains. We changed trains in Milan and had some luck in deciding that Sondrio would be our destination. Sondrio is a great little town full of fruit shops and book shops. Very pleasant which was just as well as we had not left the rain behind. On the next day thurs 17, the sky cleared for long enough for us to think the climb to Bormio was a possibility. We managed less than 20k before the drizzle turned to rain and the temperature dropped a s well. By the timed we reappeared at our hotel we were all much the worse for wear. We had lunch and dried the clothes and shoes in a laundromat as Pete slept.
Forecast was for more rain so I will have to leave the Stelvio pass for another trip. We ran into some riders on the Bella Italia tour that we were thinking of doing and they told us that they had come through 5 days of rain in the Dolimiti and snow over Stelvio and couldn't see a bloody thing!
From Sondrio we had a good days riding partly on bike paths when we could find them and then along Lago Como down nearly to Lecco before Glo, nervously eyeing off the loomng tunnel didn't notice the longitudinal crack in the bitumen waiting for her. Fortunately we had a doctor with us and enough patches to shame the invisible man and we were soon on our way to the camping ground next to the lake. No long term effects that she will admit to from the spill.
From Lecco the next morning (yesterday) we headed up the west side of the east arm of the lake to Bellagio, a very pretty village at the end of the middle arm of the lake. On the way we thought we might try to ride to the bicycle chapel and museo at Ghiselle but were deterred early on by 1) Glo not being able to start the climb because it was so steep and 2) several riders telling us not to try! Another climb to put on the list.
We headed to Como after Bellagio on a narrow twisting and very busy road (traffic in Italy has been really kind to us). We sat out the start of the storm about ten k's from Como but it kept raining so after making a hotel booking we got drenched again on our way in.
Found some roast chickens last night for a feast in out apartment and woke up to more rain and a very cool temperature (probably a bit warmer than where some of you are, however). It is still raining (doesn't deter some of the locals - they have two hands one to hold the umbrella and one to hold the bike's handlebars)
Hopefully the weather will improve tomorrow as forecast and we can do a big loop across to the west and then south to Pavia and Mede to visit Glo's Aunt and then into Milano for the last couple of days before we leave.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ride and a post card

Hi Guys,
There is a ride on Sunday morning 9am.
I received a note from our foreign correspondant the other day...

Dear all
Matera seems so long ago! Headed to the coast from Matera through the hills. Lots of climbing now on quiet roads and no rain. The troops were not happy with all the climbing up to hilltop towns and then loosing all the altitude gain. I have now started drinking the coffee otherwise I miss the best part of brekky. We don't start particulary early, few k's on the board by 10am generally. Tuesday 25th we went trough Otenza for lunch and spent a very frustrating hour and a half getting out the other side. Had a downhill into the wide valley, crossed the autostrada and then into the hills again for a solid afternoon of climbing. We followed the tourist road to Satriano were we eventually found a b&b. Downhill start to the next day before climbing from Atena into the fantastic national park del Cilento and Valley di Diano. This was followed by 20+k's of downdowndown, with beautiful views across the valley. No accom at Roccadaspide but found the Panorama with views to the west coast a few k's further. Big hotel with just the three of us staying.
Thursday we criused down to the coast and visited Paestum an ancient greek settlement south of Salerno. Three very substantial temples. On busy roads to Salerno and the youth hostel for the night as we prepared for the Amalfi coast. Decided an early brekky was the go, even so we didn't beat the traffic. The Amalfi coast is terrific to visit but narrow busy roads take away from the enjoyment and doing it in a day is not doing it justice. Somehow we made it all the way to Pompei (94k) in one piece.
We spent Saturday looking at the ruins and being disappointed that there were not much in the way of frescos to be seen. Headed off midarvo to do the 25k to Naples to meet Noel. That would be 25k of cobblestones, Napolese drivers and Pilgrims who were headed in their thousands to Pompei. Found the station, found Noel and found a hotel all in quick order, unusual for a city of any size, Italians aren't really into signs!
Train to Arezzo in Tuscany took most of the day after looking around Naples for Sophia Loren (didn't find her) but we did find lots and lots of frescos in the museum.From Arrezzo we rode to Siena, a hilly 78k, camped and then walked into town for a coffee in the famous piazza. Florence was next on the list and we found some soft ground in the camping ground and being Florence it did rain, after we came out of the Uffizza. Found the same internet point that we used in 2007 with the same American running it. Noel left to take the train back to Rome.
Next was the big one - Lucca and its famous walls. Hard to find accom but eventually got a b&b. Walked around the walls on the way to tea. Next morning did the ride just to please Trivess and had an American walk out into my big and break the pannier mounting which I fixed with zip ties. Peter Ginn had already headed to the Cuinque Teera while we were going to tackle the ski pass of From Bologna we were in the flat country to Ravenna, Ferrara the Oriana (Venice) Just under 300k's in three days. Now they are complaining about flat rides
Back into Venice today and La Traviata tonight
cheerio til next time


A good crop of Canola on the Audax, Mallee Routes ride a couple of years ago. Shame about the weed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Purplemonkeynoodle !

Hi Gang,
There is a ride planned for Sunday morning from Lancefield at 9am. Let me know by one of the usual modes if you plan to be there.
Bring some reserves in case we decide to ride and ride and ride.