This whole business with between the USADA and Lance Armstrong has been playing on my mind a bit, I won’t lie there have been times when It’s been Lance on my bike, riding away from Pantani on the road between Tooborac and Lancefield and it seems like only yesterday that he looked back at Jan Ulrich after dropping him up a climb the night after he almost chucked in his job because his boss at the water board confirmed his ignorance with every stupid word he spoke.
I won’t go on again about my view on this witch hunt, but yeh, I would be really disappointed if any of these allegations stick or if he is ever stripped of his tour wins but it won’t change what cycling means to me. I’ll still be up in the middle of the night next July watching skinny guys attacking in the mountains then paying for it at work the next day, ‘coz I love it.
Knowing that elements of the peloton have tetra hydra glyphosate coursing through their veins won’t deter me and my pals from riding for half a day in anticipation of some volunteers standing in the middle of nowhere with a bit of fruit cake and some home made biscuits on my next Audax ride.
In a week or so a mate of ours is coming over from Tasmania and I’m hoping to be able to do a few k’s with him and no one’s B sample will mean a rats clacker when we’re talking bull shit somewhere in central Victoria, nor will it take away the joy I get from riding in the beams of my friends lights in the Oppy next March.
On a warm evening next December, when I’m riding in the pelting rain in the middle of a thunderstorm, I’ll still turn to JD or Pete and say “this is the most fun I’ve ever had”. I’ll still be getting flogged by mates that are 20 years younger or 20 years older.
There will be times when I’m climbing Falls Creek and looking on in awe as I watch the guns already coming down and being wrapped to see folk with so much talent, then later in the day I’ll watch the lantern rouge come into Bright and realise what the real meaning of grit is.
I’ll say “sneaky bastard” when one of the lads makes a dash past me on one of the hills on the way in for coffee.
How many hours will I spend riding alone just because I’ve got hours to spare? For a while my son actually believed that RDO stood for Riding Day Off.
The USADA will not be able to strip me of my PB’s on Mt Macedon, even if Joey had already finished the muesli bar he had while he was waiting for me at the top.
I see legends all around me, some days, even I’m a legend...to me.
The antics of Floyd Contaschleck won’t mean a thing as a car load of us head toward Mount Buller to spend a day frying in the sun then enjoy a beer and a laugh on the way back.
No matter what, my bike will always look awesome to me and John’s Jamis will always have me taking a second glance, on weekends I will always have a bunch of mates waiting for me to head out on another ride. I might push Glo up a hill or crack another joke about Meg’s ass, I can’t wait.
I love pro cycling and the heroes of the sport but they are not what makes our sport, our sport makes itself. It is what it is.
I reckon there will be a ride on from Lannie this Sunday at 9am, let us know if you can make it (I’m a bit iffy with the man flu but may be right).
A bit of a reminder, next Saturday means the Audax Spring into Seymour, a few of us will most likely be heading across for that, let me know if you need any details.
Janine is also hosting a ride on and around Mt Macedon, get in touch with her if you are keen to join that crew.
Glo flew home yesterday, Ken and I are catching a midday flight to France.
Ireland has been great - people, riding, food, scenery. Reasonable costs as well. In fact the quality and price of food was exceptional. B&b's for 30euro including a cooked breakfast and no trouble getting in.
From Liscannor in Clare we rode north through Galway to Connemarra for a couple of days before meeting up with t&t again. The booked accommodation was pretty awful so we all moved to Donegal before heading to Pettigoe which is on the edge of Northern Ireland. Connemarra and Donegal are fairly remote with lots of undulations but nothing too strenuous in terms of riding. We rode to Omagh in Northern Ireland on one day and another day when it didn't stop raining we drove to the top to stand in the rain and look at the devil's causeway. Northern Ireland accents were very hard to understand, and they had a bit of trouble with us as well!
From Petigoe t&t went to Belfast while we headed back to Dublin. I had a choice of two gears at this stage as my right hand shifter had spat the dummy. Had to work a bit harder and judge the hills better to make sure I didn't run out of steam before the top - was interesting a couple of times but generally made the top ok.
We tried to follow the Royal Canal into Dublin for the last few days but the surface varied from bitumen to grass to mud to large sharp stones so we gave up on it and followed the back roads into Dublin.
Had a couple of days to pack bikes and for Glo to recover before going back to work.
All up 1660km or so in a bit over 3 weeks, one puncture and one lever malfunctioning. Ireland drivers are as good as the French, if not better. Didn't see many other touring cyclists but there certainly are a lot of cyclists riding in the rain in Dublin. Dublin has a reasonable network of cycle tracks as well.
All in all an excellent month of touring. Glo might tell you something different when she gets back but she rode really strongly especially on the hills after her spin classes. We were all getting a bit tired by the last few days.
Now for France.
A ride is planned from Lancefield tomorrow at 9am. Usual drill.