“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Sunday, 28 August 2011

From Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris.

In many respects Europe has a lot in common with Melbourne…38 degrees C yesterday, 9 today!  Worried about sunburn/heat stroke yesterday, trying to find warm clothes today.
My racing has been somewhat weather affected this year.  I was s’posed to do 7 races..3 got cancelled due to rain, 2 were unaffected and 1 (yesterday’s RR) was ridden in 38 degree blazing sunshine.

I got 3rd yesterday…dropped on the big hill again..although a bit higher up this time, I was 4th over the top not too far back and ready to blast down the hill etc etc.  I caught the rider in front and she did a couple of turns with me, but she was unable to hold my wheel and dropped back..I heard later she blew up big time and ended 5th (body parts scattered all over the road was how it was described to me!).
I continued to be within cooee of the first 2 but at the top of the last hill and onto the TT course there was a head wind and being solo was a distinct disadvantage but by then I was struggling with the heat anyway and realised that what I had to do was to go my own pace and make sure I kept 3rd possie.  The finish line couldn’t come fast enough.  Reckon I lost mega weight out there, but put it back on straight away with 3 very large mugs of electrolyte and some home made apfel strudel(!).

So then it was packing, presentation and bed followed by getting up today at 4am for the drive over to Paris.  I made very good time, partly due to the early start but also because the roads were strangely empty..perhaps the non stop rain helped.  My journey took me near Verdun, the Maginot line and sites of many First World War battle sites and cemeteries and Bitche again, but not Spy or Plopsaland.

So that’s it then…for this episode although I’ll be in UK in October and Italy in October and November..so don’t go away!  BTW at last count there were over 1000 visits to the blog…thank you all for visitng….

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

TT and yet another positive split

got third...and as always the ability to hold something in reserve for the return trip is a skill that eludes me. As a result  I rocked going out and didn't coming back.

ah well...one day perhaps!

Rest day tomorrow and a trip to Salzburg is on the cards in order to send my TT bike home as freight rather than incur  a mega buck fine for excess baggage. I did the same coming over and  even so was on the limit with my checked in and carry on luggage. 

The problem of excess luggage is magnified by the fact that  the trophies you get here are rather large and heavy and they give trpohies well down into the field..so in the older ladies classes you almost certain to get one. What a nice dilemma..place and get a huge trophy but can't get it home without paying,  What do you do??!..you can hardly refuse them.  One person I know managed to get hers on board without paying using the tried and tested method of bursting into tears when told how much it'd cost her...but  sadly bursting into tears, like good timing in a TT, just isn't in my repertoire.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

St Johann in Tyrol ..masters for masters

 continuing from yesterday's post.....top dead centre are the flags at the top of THE hill
 kirchdorf again
there are still some houses in the old style with  house and barn under the same roof line
 prior to the start....the oldest ladies' class
neutralised for about 200m..well not formally neutral but there's a truck in front filming.....

Monday, 22 August 2011

St Johann in Tyrol

St  J..my home from home and at an anticipated 33 degrees most days, there's not only racing to do, there's also a chance to beef up the sun tan before I return home to show it off to all and sundry, always providing it's not too cold to bare my arms and legs..

These 3 shots are from the start of the road race..and although they show cyclists riding toward the camera, for the race we cycle "into" the photos

about  1km from the start and about to turn left
this is the left turn and the start of the climb sweeping around to the right..change down to small chain ring time for the old ladies is at the right hand bend

 those houses you can see are where the road is on the lower slopes of the climb.  
The photo is taken from the road we return on.....

Kirchdorf, a village we ride through about 4km from the finish

seen out on my ride..I'm not sure what to think of this matching pair in their pseudo lederhosen/Tirolean lycra get up..they're either a bit weird or very brave.
So you can get a better idea, here's one of the ad pix from the club web site

 What got to me more than anything else is that they are from a MTB club!!! in my wildest dreams I can't see any of the  MTB'ers I know going for this garb as a regular club jersey and nix.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Time trial and journey to Saint Johann

A hot and humid day, so i was glad to have an early start.  However the humidity had meant that I didn't sleep well and so was rather tired and in fact while talking to others it seemed that we were all struggling to get our heart rates up to the usual TT level.  I came second but was really struggling on the way back.

The journey to Innsbruck to pick up my sister at the airport came unstuck with traffic, accidents and road work issues that resulted in the autobahns resembling a rather long car park, so I had to ring her and suggest she take the train instead.

The rest of the journey off the autobahn took me through some really nice country side
 as I neared St Johann, I got held up again, this time  by the day's road race!

forecast for the week...hot!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Road race epic

Some races you forget, some you never forget and today's epic is very firmly in the latter category.

Before our start there was some concern that it would be a wet race, but the locals had predicted just a shower.  THEY WERE WRONG!

The race commences somewhat cruelly for us older slower starters, with a brief downhill and then about 1000m at 6%, by the time we'd got to the top it was raining..heavy drops, not just drizzle.  Then it got worse, not only rain but a very strong side wind ...... we were on the downhill hoon by then...we were being swept across the road, trees were falling, debris everywhere.  So at about 2-3km into the race I'd decided a short cut would be a great idea and so I teemed up with 2 others, sheltering in shops when the storm was overhead and the thunder and lightning were a bit toooo scarey.  We lost the third rider somewhere..she had prescription sunglasses and couldn't see with them on or without them.....

As lightning again caused us to look for shelter we saw one of our number riding towards us...she'd got lost and boy was she glad to see us.

By the time we got home the rain had stoppped and then sun was out...and we found out that all the afternoon races had been cancelled.

TT tomorrow...hope it's fine...I seemed to be doomed with my planned races

Friday, 19 August 2011

Rest day ride

ah well..riding my treadlie in a dry 40 degrees plus heat is a really dreadful job....not, and I'm glad to be doing it. 
Today's effort was a ride of tomorrow's race course + a bit extra.
the course is ridden clockwise with a nasty 6% pinch and a half near the north west corner and a truly awful 11% drag on the extreme east part of the course.  My race is late in the day and with the TT early the next day, I'll not be expending any more energy than I have to.

Round the course I passed these beauties outside a furniture shop(!)
and they're hoping to sell them to.......?

Finally for this post another sign that really has it all I think...... a veritable double wammy..the result of a Google translate perhaps?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

got 3rd!

wow!  didn't expect that..had a good race and am going to bed a happy little vegemite.  The street party outside our hotel will interfere with that a bit..but i guess you can't have everything.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

deutschlandsberg..southern austria

It's so far south that if you take a wrong turn on the road race, you end up in Slovenia.

Yesterday was another epic drive from Aachen to here: from rain to sunshine , from industrial to rural, justunder 9  hours with 99% on autobahns and about 35km in tunnels.

I was getting very bored and had resorted to talking to Doris, the on board  GPS thingey, when this van shot past me.... and straight away my incipient fatigue disappeared.  Luckily we got held up by road works  so I was able to take a pix of an epic punctuation fail

Somewhat later I came across this sign and knew I wasn't too far from D'berg.
It's (or should that be i'ts) been quite a few years since I've been here, but nothing has changed much, which is sorts nice.  There's quite a few faces I recognise and many more I don't, and the shops all seem to be the same.

Today's race was the 300m giggle sprint and although still cobwebbed from 2 days of non stop driving I managed 4th in the quals.... the finals are this evening  and  somehow I don't think I'll improve on that placing but I'm really happy with that for a  first up effort.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Back driving on the right

So, as the sun sets slowly in the west we say “Farewell to UK” on what was a beautiful day with a wall to wall blue sky.  The Eurotunnel was running late, but only by 30 minutes, so no drama at all.

I’ve now broken the speed limit in 8 countries, having added Holland to my list.  Currently I’m in a hotel in Aachen (used to be Aix La Chapelle) and so I’ve actually brought thegood news from Ghent to Aix.  No galloping involved but I kept the pace up and arrived at 8pm…..the speed was aided by my totally brilliant in car GPS which never allowed me to even think of getting lost in the horrific maze of options.  

I've also added a great place name to my list...Plopsaland...in Belgium.  I think it's a theme park.....sadly i couldn't get my camera into action in time...I was going too fast....;-)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

London calling

Well that’s London done and dusted….and it’s a long time since I’ve done soooo much walking!
Thursday was look at the Olympic velodrome etc from the train, check out a bike shop, get stung by  a wasp and walk, walk walk.
Friday was visit the Millenium Dome (now the O2 dome) to see the Titanic Exhibition…fantastic and well worth a visit if you ever get a chance.  And walk, walk, walk.
Saturday was check out the Olympic TT course and at the same time visit Hampton Court Palace and walk, walk walk…. 
 "shepherds at night".....one of the paintings in Queen Mary's suite of rooms.......black on black?
 say no more!
 Henry VIII's kichen fireplace...big man...big kitchen etc
 Royal walk about..Henry and which one?
HCP was great to visit..we were there for a very long time and didn’t really even get to see the gardens and maze (where Paddington Bear had a few mishaps).
And finally today is sit in the train back to Norfolk and get ready for my long trip tomorrow… down south to Folkestone, through the Eurotunnel to Calais and to Deutschlandsberg in the far south of Austria for racing..nearly into Slovenia actually.  This time I’ve wised up and have booked a hotel in Aachen…August in Europe is not a time to hope to find a reasonably priced hotel room on spec.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Fat knee

I've managed to avoid wasps while visiting rural areas across most of the south of England, so I was a bit miffed to get stung by one, through my jeans even, at the ticket barrier in a London station.

I know 66 year old body parts are never a pretty sight, but I just had to share my swollen hot knee pix with y'all!

and 4 hours  later
bit more swollen and very hot

Thursday, 11 August 2011

last ride in wiltshire

If,when I was halfway through this ride, I had realised I was so close to Halfway, I would have gone on a bit further to get some symmetry into my life and to be able to say I was halfway at Halfway.

My second TT has also been rained off and instead I've suffered on the ergo.  Isn't it strange that when staying with one's coach one is able to complete ergo sessions that were previously sooooo difficult they had to be abandoned half to three quarters way through......

Monday, 8 August 2011

Rural days

Friday and Monday rides...the terrain near Marlborough is undulating to downright steep when you luck out and have to ride the escarpment.
this ride was done late in the afternoon and so I had to be a bit careful at the end of the ride when I was on the A4 due to the rat run home for the weekend.
The circular part of this ride is a triathlon fave.  Riding it their way...ie anticlockwise gives you a 17% DOWNhill hoon....grateful I didn't get conned into going the other way round!

 and of course I wasn't when I took this pix but I just had to stop and take it anyway..with a bit of condensation on the lens methinks.....must have been working hard!

 Standing stones at Avebury....didn't stop as I've "done' Avebury before

I don't normally take pix of road kill...but I've never seen a badger before..dead or alive, there were 2 of them very dead and very close; they are a protected species.

 Yup..definitely in the country!

Doggie land..2 of  my 7  newest best friends (not all in one place!)

this got me thinking

Innsbruck Airport passes the 1,000,000-passenger mark for the first time
The mark was hit on Wednesday, 22nd December 2011 at 11:45!

I went through one of those more prolonged senior's moments when I had to check the date a few times...just to be sure....

Sunday, 7 August 2011

UK time


I was born in England, I speak English (I also speak Australian!), but unless you live in the country you can't keep up with the latest phrases and signs such as the above are a bit of a mystery.

Visiting my family is now a strictly south of the country journey..no more travelling up to Scotland, Newcastle or Chester ..now I am very familiar with the City of London, and  the country side around Swindon, Stroud, Marlborough and places between.

The architecture of Cheshire

has been taken over by thatch

and flintstone

Driving on the left is not too hard and has been drama free...but  night time driving on 2 way roads is not amongst my favourite tasks, especially in area where the catseyes have been removed ?why? 

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Yesterday was s'posed to be the start of a racing block of 7 races......4 x TT, 2 x RR and 1x300m giggle sprint, but finally the Brit weather ran truer to form than it has been and rain stopped play.  Actually it was thunderstorm stopped play. Very sad.

Ah well..better not to race than risk life and limb racing a TT on the A11 dual carriageway in anything less than good weather with 100% visibility.

It took me the best part of 2 days to get over my solo drive across Europe....the sheer length/stress of it  plus having to sleep in my car sorta made me a bit tired.  Now I'm about to fight the traffic from Norfolk across to Wiltshire, but only after i've done a training session...seeing as how I did nothing yesterday.   Hmm that reminds me, I have to move the SRM powercranks across fromm TT to road bike.

So its off to the rels today, staying with my neice and her family.  The kids have got to the age when finally they'll be taller than me and so I've requested they either sit down while talking to me or I'm provided with a set of stilts (the type made from syrup tins).

Next race..next Wednesday, then off for a short spell in London town...i had hoped to watch the test Olympics road race, but have found out that what would probably be the best place..ie Box Hill, a circuit they do multiple times, is closed to spectators due to a rare butterfly/plant/something or other.

Speaking of the Olympics, does any one know of anyone at all who has got tickets for the Olympics??  straw poll here amongst my coach's many cycling friends and aquaintances found 1 friend with a ticket for kayaking and some of my rels have Modern Pentathlon tickets.  Disgruntle time is approaching methinks.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Sunny UK

I've been a bit confused as to exactly what day it is and am very, very tired following my solo drive through Italy, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium , France and finally through the Eurotunnel to UK.

The epic started at 1pm on Friday following my last Italian lesson and ended at 8am on Sunday morning when I arrived at my coach, Auriel Forrester's place in Norfolk.  It could have ended earlier but politeness prevented me arriving either at midnight or during the wee hours, both were possible as you will read.

During the trip I saw NO accidents at all and only witnessed 2 samples of bad driving..one when  a car cut in front of me far too quickly and one where I reverted to being an Aussie driver and stayed in the fast lane too long and got angrily beeped at by the impatient  German driver of a VERY fast Jaguar and shouted at by his irate wife.  Actually I may well have sinned more often, but no-one told me about it quite so loudly!!

Diesel on the freeway near Rimini was 1.49euros/litre..more expensive than in the country but later on I struck gold, getting it at 1.19euros/litre.....normal is 1.44-1.46..or to be a real European....1,45!

Once again, when driving in the slow lane though all countries at  or just above the speed limit (=10-20kph over) I was constantly being overtaken by cars travelling at warp speed...rocking my car on its springs as they blasted past me.  Not wishing to be seen as "that little old lady puddling along in the slow lane", I'm able to say that over a day and a half  I broke the  speed limit in 7 countries.

I was keen to avoid Switzerland due to having to pay for an exorbitantly priced road tax sticker for the privilege of using their roads.  You also pay tolls in Italy and France and have to buy a sticker in Austria...but the difference is that in Switzerland you HAVE to buy a sticker that's valid for a year..cost 34.50 euros.  The Italian and French tolls are obviously on a user pays system (40 euros from Pesaro to the Austrian border) and the Austrian sticker can be for 10 days (7.90Euros)or 2 months(23Euros), but the Swiss  have only a yearly one.  Last year I paid and used their roads for only a few hours.....never again.

.So my journey was north through Italy, over the Brenner pass into Austria, turn west at Innsbruck and then turn north again over a slow road and  by this time it was getting late and luckily I found a Pension, a bed and a hot meal in a small ski village called Obsteig.  I ate my steak to listening to Tirolean music and then Jim Reeves (1960,s)..soooooo old fashioned.

The next day I had to get to the tunnel by midnight but despite hold ups got there in time to change my ticket to the 20.30 crossing.  The journey was long, very boring and with many long queues.

I've no idea where this town was or why they'd have this insect as their town  mascot.....but it was where there was one very long, slow boring section of a diversion.....

The only things worth mentioning are that I passed by 2 towns in France called Bitche (noted on my arrival day too) and Spy..couldn't get a pix of this latter town..maybe next time...
loooong hours later I arrived in Calais and since I was 5 hours early, took a punt, got lucky, paid extra and got on the 19.30 crossing.

40 mins later I was chanting...left hand side of the road, left hand side of the road, left hand side of the road, left hand side of the road,  be next to the verge, be  next to the verge to myself and I was in England.  the driving turned out to be ok, although those huge roundabouts gave me a bit of trouble with the lane marking being a bit hard to read in the fading daylight.

I had to take the M20, then the M25 north to the Dartford tunnel , but it wasn't until I was within spitting distance of the the tunnel that I realised I had NO  English money on me at all.  Thank god for GPS.  It took me to Bexleyheath, a cash point, a shop for some food and the coins neccessary for the tunnel.  Back to the tunnel where I again joined the queue (loooong, unruly), finally arriving at the booth just after10pm and indulged in an ironic guffaw when I discovered that it while it had been 1.50  pounds before 10pm, after 10 pm it was free.

Sadly all the motorway services motels were full and so I had a rather uncomfortable sleep in the car.  Dawn saw me finally complete my journey although I needed to waste a bit of time before I fronted up at 8am