“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

Monday, 2 December 2013

Mega long time no write

Finally  the stars are aligned and I have not only the time to write but also a few pix to share.

What have I been doing since I returned to Melbourne..working, training, scaling  "mountains" (ie trying to keep the climbing legs working) going to Italian classes and getting out on the MTB.

Last thing 1st.  MTB.
I put my name down to go to NZ for the Aus/NZ MTBO challenge along with Alex  with a plan to extend the holiday and visit  a few places in NZ..eg Hobbiton.  However, Alex had extended his European holiday budget to the point of having to cancel his NZ plans leaving me to wonder if I should still go.  Eventually I decided I would and lo and behold I found that I was in the Aus team no less!  Riding in the 70 + year age group and paired against a similar aged Kiwi lady...they even changed the rules to allow a 1 person rather than 3 person age group.  so a need to get out on the MTB arose!

This weekend I went in for the Forrest Festival (that's NOT a spelling mistake) a 2 day/5 race event in Forrest.  I hadn't quite realised how the format would play out but on finding out that after my first race of 15km I would have to wait for over 4 hours for my next start, decided to pull the plug.  Actually I was really tired...my training to date not been for MTB and the added concentration required during the 15km/73 min ride over single track exhausted me. It was quite frustrating to have to get off the bike on the technical downhills and then have to overtake on the next climb those who'd passed me while I was going downhill !

Our accommodation was fantastic...very bush and as can be seen by the pix there were King Parrots begging to be fed.  Alex did the feeding as I have a thing about birds flapping around my head...an issue stemming from a traumatic experience I had as a ?6 or 7 year old when I went too close to an owl's nest and it flew at me and landed on my back. An experience that I can still recall in minute detail.

As for the rest..
I've been working on a casual basis with my long time employer and today am checking out another job that will keep me busy for 2 days a week til  after Christmas.

I'm still attending Italian classes at CIS in Carlton  ...they have a sweet deal whereby 4 weeks into the term you can add as many classes as you chose, providing they are not already full.

I'm occasionally racing crits on Tuesday evenings with Eastern Vets and am taking part in the  7 peak alpine climb series where one climbs the 7 decent climbs here in Victoria.  I've done 1 so far..Lake Mountain and next Sunday will attempt to conquer Baw Baw..the worst/steepest climb in Australia.
I have also been having skills sessions with Helen Kelly from Kelly Cycle Coaching 
 to improve on a few technical issues eg descending,cornering, riding rollers, riding no hands, riding no hands on the rollers(!) track stand etc etc. The descending issue was actually one I realised was going to hamper me in my 2014 holiday when I plan on climbing (and descending) many of the iconic passes in the Dolomiti.

Training took a bit of a hit when I had to have a minor op on my toe...getting rid of a ganglion that wouldn't go away but with the help of a pair of sandals that would accept cleats I was able to at least get time on the ergo..totally ignoring the surgeons instructions to stay off the bike for 5 days.  Well ok...some might say that was silly but I analysed the situation...saw that the toe/op site was not being compromised and that it wasn't moving any more than when I was walking......

that's all she wrote

Friday, 25 October 2013

Last weekend's races and an appointment with a scalpel

On the way to the road race - looking back towards Sydney

as above.. a fave place name and this could be *only* be from Aus!

a tough TT course followed by a Crit (with the younger riders + Gaye Lynn driving the pace) followed by  a >65km RR (with the younger riders + Gaye Lynn driving the pace)  followed by a boring boring solo  drive down the Hume, followed by a full day at work ....and I ain't done much since!

Next Wednesday I have a ganglion removed from my right second toe which will mean 5 days off the bike...well actually 5 days off the road...I can still do ergo without a shoe...hmm now where did I put that cleated sandal OR single leg ergo  riding(!).  The original option was to arthrodese the final  joint which would have meant 6 weeks off the bike, so a 5 day offer was very much better.  

The story of this particular issue is quite interesting and the end result most unusual..or at least so everyone who sees it says;-)...some time late in 2011 I stubbed my toe so violently I though I had either broken it or it had subluxed.  It was painful and swollen for quite some time.  Then I forgot about it so that when a lump turned up on the same toe and I sought advice, when asked if I had damaged it at all...I said no.

Some time in March last year the ganglion was lanced and as mentioned above I was advised that I might need to have the joint arthrosed.  Earlier this year the lump returned but as I was due to go OS I just kept an eye on it...ie I ignored it and hoped for the best.  When OS it burst of its own accord and although concerned it didn't get infected I continued as before.  Cut to the present...its back up again and with my races finished for the year, it's time to get it sorted.  No need for the joint to be arthrosed since there is no issue there, but the constant fluid accumulation will eventually damage the skin so has to be dealt with.  More anon.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The TT at Cavedine

When I got back home from Italy I found an email from Cycling Australia waiting for me requesting a report of the UCI TT.  Somewhat later I sent it in complete with permission to edit  as they saw fit (I wasn't too sure the  the criticism bit would be welcome).  I got a  reply saying..thanks, a great report..you'll be able to read it in the enewsletter next week.

The enewsletter arrived and while there was a report on the event in general it wasn't my report.  Bugger.  Somewhat miffed. Probably wont bother to waste my time if asked again.
So, FWIW here it it..:

UCI World Masters TT Championships 2013 Cav├Ędine Trentino Italy
Closed roads, motorbike escorts and above all a tough, tough course...an  epic
A check of the course on the internet revealed that, despite the Italian promo saying that there was a bit of a climb and a descent but this was essentially a flat course, it was in fact the toughest TT course I have raced.  Ever.  Comparing parcourses, this one is probably tougher than the Elite  Women’s World Championship course at Florence later in the month!  

The course could be divided into 5 sections: the first, immediately after the start  ramp and a 90° turn to the right, was a 6% climb approximately 2km long, the second was a glorious downhill hoon. The third, slightly bumpy section was alongside the lake and was more what we consider genuine TT terrain. This was followed by the climb to get out of the valley - a ~3km long grovel with a vicious 11-12% sting in the tail. The 5th and final section was a slightly uphill grind to the finish.   Given this analysis I was one of many who opted to use a road bike with TT extensions rather than a full TT rig.

I raced the course twice.  The first time was in July as the TT part of the Charly Gaul gran fondo.  I had arrived 5 days before from a wintery Melbourne and, starting at 5pm, had to endure a 35°C furnace complete with a blustery wind that gave me moments of pure panic on the downhill hairpin bends.  My time was, to say the least, pedestrian.

The second time was the UCI World Championships and with a couple of practise runs in between there were no surprises, only the knowledge that the race would be won by anyone who was strong enough to maintain a good pace up the hill and still have the legs to come home strongly. 

This time my start time was early and in fact I was the first off at 10am...consequently our race was less temperature and  wind affected and this time the downhill section, with no blustery wind to contend with, was pure unadulterated fun.... my top speed was  somewhere around 65kph. The climb saw me yet again grovelling at <10kph and wondering if forward motion was going to remain a possibility.  I might have been first out, but was definitely not first back; huge congratulations to Gaye Lynn who passed me earlier than I had wanted...she did a fantastic race.

There were many, many Aussies at the event; it was great to see so much green and gold. It was also an honour to have Tracy Gaudry (now a  UCI VP) presenting us with the medals and jersey in the historic Piazza Duomo in the centre of Trento.

Organisationally there were quite a few glitches......registering was a nightmare.  Standing in a queue for between 2 and 3 hours the day before a race is not ideal preparation and I never did find the portaloos at the event.  The start list time gaps weren’t adhered to and so later classes in the morning session were thrown into confusion both at the start and in the results.  

Other races will fade in the memory but not this one.  This one was an epic and I am sure it will be talked about by those who were there for years to come.

 “I survived the TT at Cav├Ędine”. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

On the road again, it's great to be back on the road again tra la la la

 Memories first!  
Aussies at the World Masters Games Torino:

how's this for a really great shot??

 and back to reality!

somewhat sadly exchanging tall mountains for tall trees...historic passes for native animals and birds.

Yesterday's ride
 and  today's
yup...just checking out my climbing legs!

Soo...after a week I was back at work struggling through the day, but that was the end of jet lag and travel fatigue.  It was as if forcing myself to stay awake and alert beyond the "I just *have* to get horizontal" point fixed me up...although that day I did go to bed at 6pm, was up at 10pm and back in bed again at 3am to sleep through til 10am.

Having said farewell to the wee hours of the night and the spacey feeling that goes with jet lag I was ready to get out on the bike, which was when the weather took a turn for the worse and left me with no other option but the ergo...grrh!  So here we are...the first day of daylight saving and the weather was perfect for a longish ride..yee ha!

 This week I have a bike fit since my body has changed shape more than somewhat and then  the following week the CA Masters Nats at Goulburn NSW.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Last few days...Feltre, Trento, Sankt Johann, Munich and home

The last few days in Italy were so crammed full the blog didn't get a look in.

On Thursday, after class I drove to Trento to register for the UCI World Masters TT Championships.  As always I arrived a bit early and after circling the centre of town a few times found a multi-storey car park where I felt it would be safe to leave my car which was loaded with bike, spares and all my worldly goods and chattels except for my laptop and passport(!)  Much, much later (hours and hours later) when I returned I expected to have to take out a mortgage to pay to get out and so was a bit gob smacked to discover the bill was only 5 euros....in Melbourne I would have had to have done the mortgage bit.

I wandered round the old part of the town to kill time, ate something and then went over to the rider's briefing which was at 2pm...the same time that registration opened.  And that is where the problems started:
1.  there was no-one to tell us we could just go in,  so initially we all stood in the queue until I went in, asked the question and then suggested to someone official that it might, just might be an idea to let those waiting for the briefing know that  they didn't have to queue.
2. since the briefing was in the same room as the registration, just separated by a partition, it was well nigh impossible to hear the briefing!!!
3. After the briefing we then had to join the back of the queue to register..initially standing out in the sun.
4. Some 2 hours later I had registered and drove to my BnB, which was situated actually on the TT course, at a time much much later than anticipated.
5. Despite the lateness I went for a ride to ease the blocking of my legs brought on by all that standing...just the flat part of the course.
6.   I then dashed off to get some food at the pub which was a the foot of the climb at Ponte Olivetti.

The next day all went smoothly until I forgot to attached the timing chip to my leg and had to sprint back to my car just a few minutes before my start.  I was first off and so had none of the issues with timing that others did when the starter just followed the list of names rather than the list AND their start times!

I rode a rather ordinary race and was well beaten by Gaye Lynn who rode an ace race.  I came second ..my time on the course continues to improve but is still pretty pedestrian.  Weight loss is good until it impacts on your power output (I've lost ~10kgs since Xmas and am now a better  hill climber than a TTer!).

Back to the BnB and it was time to pack my gear which as always seems to take forever.  Once I'd finished, showered and eaten it was time to get to Trento for the presentation  although first I had to wait for the road to open and so was able to watch from my driveway and note how the really fast guys tackled that part of the course.

The presentation was  good with Tracy Gaudry..Oceania President and now VP of the UCI presenting us with medals, jersey, flowers and wine.   Getting a bit tired I thought it was time to go and so left a bit earlier than was polite, but I had a long day ahead of me.

So next day I took off early as I had stop off at Sankt Johann with various bits of gear before making my way to Munich airport and I didn't really want to rush.

After about an hour of driving I suddenly realised I had failed to confirm with the car place that I was definitely departing that day.  It was a Saturday and the phone and email were unattended and so panic set in....if they were not there I would have to stay another 2 days  with added costs for: car hire, accommodation, airline ticket change,car and travel insurance.  I costed it out as between $600 and $800.  I was distracted to say the least.

I decided I needed to get a wriggle on since if he was to be there...he might, just might stay until  early afternoon.  I stopped at 3 places to get one of those annoying vignettes that allow you to use the Austrian autobahns and finally managed to buy one.  Stress was mounting!  I went to my home from home in Sankt Johann and managed to keep polite but not stay very long(!).  Hans commented on how little sun tan I had on my face...I think I must have been pale with worry!

Then the real problems started...

I put the address of the car place into the Tom Tom but put it as a Munich street and so end up in the centre of Munich.  Too anxious and stupid to realise in advance that I was nowhere near the airport I finally cottoned on and took a good look at the instructions...you idiot  Halbergmoos NOT Munich!  Reconfiguring the Tom Tom took a while until; finally I was away.

By this time I was clearly mega distracted cos the first instruction was to turn right...which I did and saw what I took to be a line of parked cars and I since they took up most of the road, I assumed it was a one way street and so drove ...on the left of the street.  I approached the lights just as they were turning green and realised  my mistake......so there I was on the wrong side of the road on a minor road at a crossing with a dual carriage way and I wanted to turn left.  I stopped threw my hands in the air, then buried my head in my hands and finally looking sheepish and apologetic  manoeuvered my way around the cars who had, thankfully all stopped to allow to to extricate myself.

10 km later I was at the gate of the car place and was delighted and relieved to discover it was open.  Phew!

That, however, was not the end of the day's blunders!

The first of which was to walk from where I'd been hanging around into the the queue at the check in leaving my bike bag behind.  Some 10 minutes later I realised what I was missing(!) and went to wrench it from the grasp of a police man who was about to...confiscate it/blow it up!  The second was to leave the trophy I'd been lugging around forever in the lounge and was nearly in the plane before I realised my error.  I had to give my passport to the official in order to be allowed back to get it.

All in all...I think I was beyond tired.  What am I saying...I know I was.... I spent virtually the next 24 hours asleep...the "quickest" and least boring long haul plane trip I've ever taken!

We arrived 45 minutes early..I was one of the first through the passport control and on arriving at the carousel my bags were already there.  I was surprised!

Then I looked over at the oversized carousel and bugger me ...there was my bike case...I was reall really amazed.  From getting off the plane to walking out into the arrival hall it was probably 15 minutes and needless to say there was no-one to meet me.  A quick telephone call extracted Phil from MacDonalds and I was on my way home.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

1 day to go here in Feltre

Second last day at school - done

Packing - done...well sorta done.
Cleaning the apartment - done
Bike race prepped - done.
Last 2 somewhat boring TT type training session -  done.

Monday ride

Last Feltre  ride

My new best friend in the bike shop told me there were very few TTer's in the Feltre area...and no wonder..there's far too many good climbs round here to channel younger riders into TT's.  Let's face it...you don't do TT's for fun, and unless you show promise your first TT is more than likely also your last.

So...what's left?
Tomorrow:  last Italian lesson, drive to Trento, listen to rider briefing, register, escape to BnB, ride part of the course 1 more time, find place to eat, bed,
Friday: brekky, warm up, race........ pack..remember to break out the jeans and winter gear, watch afternoon "wave" of TT racers go past my driveway, attend presentation.
Saturday: drive to Munich, give back car, go to airport, be bored for a very very long time...get home...freeze (although the forecast is sunny and 25C the day I arrive)!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

My favourite Italian verb and my fave Italian supermarket feature

and I've no doubt I'm not the first anglophone to snigger over this one:-

buggerarsene - to not give a damn

 however there do seem to be rather alot of verbs meaning the same thing...does this give an indication of the Italian way of thinking I wonder???
fregarsene - to not give a damn
infischiarsene - to not give a damn
importarsene - to not give a damn
sbattersela - to not give a damn
sbattersene - to not give a damn

Of added interest is that my fave word isn't found in "google translate" (not that that site is any great pinnacle of linguistics!) or in my online or travel Collins Eng/It/eng dictionary and in fact I began to wonder if I'd stumbled on a joke.  

However I did find it when I Googled it and what's more there were quite a few references.

and my fave supermarket feature??

FYOB (fill your own bottle) house wine bar:

sigh...I'm soooo gunna miss this place.  Hmmm better try and earn enough $$$ to return next year!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Last long ride for the hols...to Lago del Mis

At 0800 my German co students and neighbours loaded me up with food they didn't want to take home and so my fridge is more than somewhat overloaded.  Hopefully there'll be someone in that apartment next week so I can do the same for them.  Then, since it was a still bit chilly  I went for a walk around the walls of the historical centre and had a really close look at some of the older buildings.

Check out the sky... cold temp though!

Steps to or from the walls...they are everywhere

Door panel

3 different doors with door knobs

And then it was onto the bike:

As ever I set myself a time limit, which once again was 90 minutes...I could happily have gone further, but with a bit of a slog home up the hairpin bends I'd happily hooned down, and with a big race on Friday...90 minutes it was.  Actually I nearly went the easy but extremely boring way home via San Giustina but the lure of ensuring I had enough climb to succeed in the Strada "Vuelta Skelta" challenge kept me "on the straight and narrow"  Nope that's not right....narrow yes...straight..no!

I also needed to make sure I could take a pix of yet another great place name.  Dontcha just love it to bits!  I'm glad I don't live there though.

  Although circuits are interesting I'm tending to go for out and back courses. which allows me to mark what I want to take pix of but keep going/no stopping and then take the pix on the way home.

So.... home, download ride and be happy with the amount of climb, nanna nap, go for another walk, eat, sleep!

That's all for today!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Friday's ride to the iconic Passo San Boldo

First for a bit of history see this link  ..... there are plenty more links plus pix and utube clips but this one gives the story in a bit of detail....  and as it says the road is indeed called the road of a hundred days (la strada dei cento giorni).

This is the beginning of the narrowing of the road and as is obvious there's not only a very narrow 1 way road, controlled by traffic lights, max headroom is also in attendance.

Proof that I was there follows...the multi layer road pix on the internet are obviously taken from a better spot there where I was:


I set off for this ride later than usual and in fact forgot to take my maps...however after being here for 8 weeks..maps are something just a bit OTT for all but my longer rides.

I had set a time limit for myself since the weather was a bit iffy , the evenings were getting a bit cool and I didn't fancy being on the main road home during the rat run.  I never intended going through the tunnels since this would make it a very very long ride.  Downhill is the way to go I've been told, so as not to get caught midway in the very narrow tunnels when the traffic flow changes direction.

So with an aim to go no longer than 90 minutes on the outward journey I was delighted to find myself at the top  just a bit before the deadline.  The climb was not at all hard but the distance from Feltre to Trichiana   where the climb starts was further than I'd expected...and somewhat tedious.

This ride takes me to within cooee (6776m and 94%) of the Vuelta Skelta goal on Strava of 7135m climbing during the staging of the Vuelta and I still have a coupla days left. Currently I'm 1,641st of 9,129 participants and  64th of 341 women...just can't help my competitive streak showing!

And finally...just to show there  are "good ole' boys" all over the world...although 1 of them just HAD to be a bit different;-)

Friday, 13 September 2013

Officially still summer here..but

the summer sales are over with new stock in the shops and people generally starting to rug up  abit...except for me ;-)...I seem to be the only one still wearing shorts.  In case you are interested the colours dominating new stock are taupe and slate blue. These shades don't suit me at all...not that I actually need an excuse not to buy!

Anyhow now, with the temperature being less sweat inducing I am finally able to justify the arm and leg warmers , the Gortex fronted undershirt and the various sleeveless thin jackets I brought with me.  I can also justify wearing the jackets I splashed out on while in Austria!

Yesterday's ride was supposed to be up to the beginning of a large lake called Lago del Mis but that plan had to be shelved very quickly since I was riding towards and then under some very black clouds and when the rain/almost hail hit it was not only  abit painful it was also a game changer.

I u turned and looked for a less threatening looking patch of sky and continued..a balance of steady power and spinning efforts uphill..."hill" not mountain.  Although the temperature isn't all that low, it's a change and on return I had to run myself a hot bath to aid temperature recovery.

Friday marks then end of another group of students leaving...this week I have been amongst a group of German speakers all of whom depart.  Next week...who knows what company I will have.

Is this organisation going to be WMG re-visited?

check out the message on this screenshot  of the rider's guide done today 12/9  (click to enlarge it) and then check out the dates..... top and bottom left.  And yes I did refresh the page and I've just checked it again to make sure!.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sorting out my last few days

All good things have to come to an end of course and so now and finally this fantastic 10 week "holiday" is fast moving into that category. 

With 9 days left here in Feltre before I move to near Trento - out of an apartment and into a BnB I'm taking stock of everything I've got with me:
  • Checking my stash of food.toiletries and etcs and trying to work out if they'll last the distance. 
  • Balancing the weight of  things lost/chucked/posted home already against new stuff bought: 2 jackets, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 polo shirts, sandals presents, to name just a few things
  •  Checking locations I really want to see before I leave here.
And as a side note..how do *you* define the concept of a holiday?....some would doubt that school in the morning, exercising mightily in the afternoon/evening plus the challenge of racing fulfills the generally accepted idea of a "holiday"!

Misc Pix
 Cultural difference abound and perhaps none more than the traditions around a wedding.  Not that I'm sure of all the details...all I know is that when you hear a total cacophony of car horns blaring, blaring, blaring...it's not an emergency..well not of the normally accepted type of emergency ;-)...it's a line of cars off to a wedding. And to help you get to the party  you paint directions on the road...this "sposo" is definitely clever...others a somewhat more basic and lewd.
As an English speaker there are many words in Italian that are similar to English ones and then there are ones that are not...false friends they are called.  The word for a river is "fiume" and the word for a dry/almost dry creek bed is "torrente" which  I find amusing.  The pix above is definitely of a torrente.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Place names to play with...Lason,Lamen, Arson

I had no intention of having yet another climbing ride today...it sorta just happened...and on very dead legs too.

I also had no intention of giving myself about 10 minutes of fright descending a muddy, badly kept steep strada bianca road (last steep downhill on the graph), but when you're well down the hill and the road goes from bitumen to mud you either turn around and slog back uphill or...you suck it up and carry on.

On the way I saw something that perhaps Kevin from Grand Designs could take a look at with  a view to renovation:

Since I've been doing alot of climbing I thought I might sign up for the Strava challenge of Vuelta Skelta..whereby one challenges oneself to accomplish  in 19 days the same amount of climbing the pros did in 1 day during the Vuelta..ie 7,135 metres, so far I've climbed 5,253 vertical metres and am 73% of the way to the goal and have another 6 days to go.

Of the 8,355 people who have signed up for the challenge I currently am in 1463rd place overall and am 60th of the 289 women silly enough to sign up and 11th (men and women ) 65 and over.

Christine and Vincent travel to the Dolomiti tomorrow and so we had a farewell meal at the Trattoria Aurora..a lovely meal topped off with wickedly chocolatey profiteroles...yum yum.  Seems as if tomorrows ride will have to be a calorie rather than a vertical metre counting one!

Monday, 9 September 2013

An epic weekend

Some time during the week I got an email from my Orienteering and Physio friend Christine who said that she and her husband Vincent were going to the Dolomites and would it be ok for them to stop off in Feltre for a day or two.  Would it be ok?...of COURSE it would!  woo hoo!

They arrived on Saturday but telephone reception was appalling (never again will I complain about Aus internet and tel reception...well not for a while anyway!)  so my planned ride + visit them in their B'B morphed into a ride  punctuated by calls that wouldn't/didn't go through,  SMS's that presumably went into the ether never to return and the feeling that we might well miss catching up with each other totally!  So this is the ride i did while waiting for them to arrive/get in contact.

I'd been wanting to ride to San Gregorio for some time...it was a turn off on one of my down hill hoons which normally I shot by too quickly..it appears their "animal logo" is a fox! and it's face is all over the road and there's even a pub by that name.

Eventually contact was made, but not before I was back in Feltre and so we agreed to meet here at Feltre and have a meal together.  I'd already booked at the very popular Crash Osteria at the earliest possible time...1930..almost criminally early by Italian standards .... an attempt to get it 30 minutes earlier failed! 

The food as ever there was very good and the prices reasonable and during the meal we agreed to have a good long ride the next day.  I had read about a Palio in Vidor,(link to 2012 version..part thereof) themed as an "assault on the castle" so it was agreed that if there was time we'd go there too.

so this was the ride which began at 0900 and finished at about 1900 (loads of stop for food, drink and a Palio(!)...~100km in total and here are a coupla pix from the Palio

Saturday, 7 September 2013

What you all missed today: a ride in Prosecco country

Looks as though I'm riding the valleys until you look at the profile
vineyards 360  degrees and as far as you can see..I'd need an aerial shot to do it justice..

don't ever complain about people's parking wherever you live, 'cos Italian parking has got you all beat...hands down..this car was parked literally AT the entrance to an almost empty car park!

Living here must get difficult if you can't climb steps

and with no railings at all, clearly the "I'll sue you if I fall on your property" mentality hasn't reached this neck of the woods yet.

Just hangin' around, waiting!