“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

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Today's ride and a sign(!)

Today's ride was a wee bit hilly in places and since i got 5 QOM's in Strava, I either was the only woman riding in the area or "I done good"!

Approaching Mazze...check out the sky...clear as....  since the storm to beat all storms.

And finally a sign: couldn't help but smile at the mental picture

Today's ride and more pix

Not a very long one but a little bit hilly...and the hills appear to be getting flatter!

especially this heave up to our house...you can see it on the elevation graph above.

a bit of detail of the castle wall...our next door neighbour(!)

the view from out bathroom...house..mist over a river and a hill or 2

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sunday's stab at altitude training

Such a beautiful ride although using road shoes added a bit to the challenge.

Mega thanks to Alberto, Chiara and their friends for such a great day....finishing up at a rustic rifugio for a well  earned late(!) lunch.

Pix time - our place at Mazze

Our 17th century house...on the right.we're told it used to be for workers in the Mazze castle..but we think it's a bit too grand for that.
Huge lounge room with an unusual balcony..too narrow to be a place to sit...too wide to be a ledge...strange!
The view from the front door..  now entirely covered/strewn with bike and electrical things..a Dick Smith bike shop!

Garage door...sooo high not a chance of hitting roof top bikes..if we had roof top bike stands that is(!), Alex,car, house.
Neighbour's cottage(!).. a minor National Monument, we're told it used to be open to the public  but it has been bought by foreigners who wont allow access.

More anon.  Link for more professional pix

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Mega internet problems

My Huawei pocket WiFi has turned its toes up and died and so I've had no chance to do any updating....up until now!

we are staying in a 17th century house in a village about 40 minutes outside of Turin...which has it's plusses and minusses...security for the bikes but a real annoyance  co-ordinating train/car journeys.  Pix to follow...i really have only just got back on the internet....so nothing uploaded yet.

The language school is good, the weather hot and humid.  i spend my day being wringing wet. 

More to follow when i get a chance

Friday, 19 July 2013

finally I'm on the internet

 What dramas there are around getting one's electronics working properly in another country.  Done now thankfully...no need to spend any more of my fortune drinking in cafe's just to get to the free wifi.

Soooo...Street and town names have always tickled my pathetically juvenile sense of humour and therefore it was with some delight that I discovered a town near here called Arsie.  I've not yet managed to take a pix of the town sign, but here in the meantime is the result of my trawling the internet.

Nothing really 'cos maybe it really is appropriately named.  However trip advisor.com tells me one can have:  Arsie Vacations.....although when you get to the page it is blank!!!!!
The next sign to grab my attention while happily driving waaaay above the speed limit and still being the slowest car on the road was  "Ospedaletto"...since ospedale= hospital and letto= bed I spent some time musing about what the difference was between an ordinary ospedale and an ospedaletto.  I mean, I know the financial situation here is dire but......

It wasn't til I was driving back along the same road that I realised that Ospedaletto is the name of the town!  Doh!

That same drive for a micro second my life flashed before my eyes when, while driving in a long tunnel, the one of my bike tyres exploded...BANG...shhhhhhhhhh!  For the briefest of seconds and with absolutely nowhere to go safely, I sort of waited for the car to go out of control.  Phew...next stop comfort food!

Tomorrow I have my first race...not up for much, but gotta start somewhere.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

bits and pieces

Not sure what it is about me but yet again at Tullamarine airport I was checked for explosives before being allowed to leave the country!   I had a conversation about this with the man yielding the magic wand and he reassured me that all such searches were done on a random basis!!!  Do I believe that? Is there a quota..1 female, 1 older female, 1 child, 3 men etc… or do they chose the least likely…which begs the question…AM I a “least likely”?!)….Hmmm.

Food…. At the table the day before yesterday after I stared at the offering and asked…what is it..meaning what animal did it come from I was asked if I liked Italian food…to which I replied yes except for Pizza.  It was then that I recalled last year’s “Basta pasta” (enough pasta already) and since that was my first meal in Italy and we’d already had 2 courses  of pasta, I may well end up repeating that mantra!

I always lose weight in Italy..part of the reason being that I don’t like the way they make bread here, so there’s no temptation to fill up on sandwiches etc. Today  with no milk in the apartment for my muesli and all shops closed until 0830 except for  caf├ęs and the bread shops, I bought a nice looking bread roll for brekky…however…..If I keep buying fresh air, I’ll definitely be losing more weight!

I have added Sunday to the days when I should try to avoid driving long distances with a tight time line.  Yet again I spent rather a lot of time crawling along at a very slow pace…it’s no wonder European cars have a switch off when idling feature, although initially last year I did find it very disconcerting when it dies…got used to it now.

Sadly this language school in Feltre is about to close its doors..this is the last year of its existence although it’s sister school in Treviso is going great guns. Interesting that the features which attracted me to it…close to the mountains, non-tourist area  etc are the very things that has caused it’s downfall.  It was the first language school in Veneto but now there are 50 others to compete with and all much closer to or indeed situated in well know tourist cities.

The bike and bits have arrived unscathed and I've had 2 rides...the first epic was sadly erased from my Garmin...another lesson finally learned...dont try to download to a partly charged portable device...the power drain deletes all data from the Garmin.

Jet lag..minimal, although I have yet to wake up at a sensible hour. I’m in the same apartment as last year which is great, although getting my car through the very narrow tunnel is once again a challenge, even with the wing mirrors folded in..  This year’s model of Renault Megane has got those alarms to tell you when you are close to anything and the  tunnel sends them into a frenzy..left and right ..beep beep beep beeeeeeeeep.
Weather..so far perfect.  26-30 degrees…..

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Austria at last! Day 1

The countdown has met it's goal...I'm here in sunny, humid, sweaty Austria.  And there's noooo way I now do a countdown to go home (sorry folks, but...).

My last day was spent trying to find things to do to fill in the time until blast off.  Packing all done, weighed, contents culled, reweighed etc etc , I'd checked in on line and planned to visit Bodyology, have coffee with a friend, get on the bike for a spin on the ergo and then what.... mooch around being annoying until 1630.

with silver frequent flyers points on Emirates I was allowed an  extra 12kgs free luggage which meant 42kgs in total plus 7kgs in the take on board back pack.  The bike and spares + bag took up almost 20kgs, then I was taking over presents, extra stuff for Alex since his ticket only allowed him 20kgs, and my old Asus tablet for my sister which all  added up to 6kgs leaving me with what weight left for clothes etc? ...well you do the maths, I'm too jet lagged.  The drama trying to find  a case/backpack/duffel bag or 2   from amongst our hoard that would be light and right was fairly lengthy.

On line check in time was 24 hours before lift off and to my consternation I discovered that the Emirates database had lost me and had allocated me window seats and standard food, whereas my preferences are for an aisle seat and lactose free food (better for my on board digestion and you get your food first!!!).  What to do...a frantic email to my travel agent and the advice was...get there super early and politely point out the error.   And that's what I did and  woo hoo...I got upgraded to business class for the hideously long 14 hour sector from Melbourne to Dubai.

For those who haven't seen me in a while I'm pretty well the lightest I've been  in 20  years and I really wanted to know what % fat I was and also needed some advice on how much I could eat at my new weight and not risk putting it all back on again.  Skinfold testing is so inaccurate its not worth the time $$ and effort, my Tanita weighing machine was saying anything from 19-23%, depending on my level of dehydration and what used to be the gold standard of immersion was unobtainable..what to do?  Go to Dr Google of course and here I found Bodyology in Notting Hill with their BodPod.  So 1 month ago I went and armed with my data  went back to NOT trying to lose weight.  Friday's visit was to check on how I'd gone and the result?  lost 500gms...so not too bad.  I always lose weight when overseas so the advice is...be careful...too much weight loss might be good for climbing steep hills, but only if you don't lose power as well as weight.

An unevetful flight to say the least, full of horizontal sleeping...no dramas at all and the Emirates lounge at Dubai was super nice and such a relief from having to fight the heaving hoards in the concourse.

I was picked up  by the Renault agent in my lease  car and unlike other times he drove me to a petrol station thereby eliminating the stress of having to find a garage when there's only a tablespoon of fuel in the car. The next car related task was this:

'cos if I can waste hours of my life trying to find  my own car in a car park, then losing a strange lease car is frighteningly simple...now all I have to do is to remember to take my camera with me!

The stories around "getting lost courtesy of the GPS" are a million and while not exactly getting "lost" this time, I certainly seemed to take an inordinate time getting out of the clutches of Munich and its environs.  I absolutely MUST remember never to arrive on a Saturday again...too many cars on the road as Saturday is tourist change location day.

I finally arrived at Sankt Johann, picked up my left behind gear (ergo, track pump, gas bottles, tools etc etc) and made my way to my B'nB.  Where upon I started to sort my gear from how I'd packed for the journey to a more manageable 5 or so packages of like minded stuff so I can find things easily.

After doing that I had no energy for food or unpacking the bike and sleep overcame me... at about 730pm and naturally 2am saw me wide awake and famished.  Sadly all there was to eat was 2 of these:

and today chocolate lady birds are definitely on my diet!

and now...well I  still have four hours to wait til brekky...

 and finally I have just seen/heard my first mozzie...now where did I put that zapper?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


When I was working full time I would, at some stage close to the start of my holidays, start a "days to go til I go on hols.." notice on the white board, which invariably some one would cross out and put.."til we get rid of her".  

I was the only one who did this and my boss was less than pleased, telling me it was childish and  disrespectful to the other staff members!!!..management speak for ..she didn't like it, and in fact she finally  banned me from doing it at all. 

It's good to have someone or something to blame..and for this quirk (and indeed many others) I blame boarding school.  Our terms were 12 weeks long and at best we were only allowed  visits from family 4 times a term, consequently as the end of term approached we were really keen to get home and  the countdown helped mark off the days.  It actually was the alphabet but started 27 days out...all the letters of the alphabet + the day you went home.  The day's letter was written on the blackboard and along side it people's names..eg 27 days out was the letter "A" day.  There were always 2 letters up as there were 2 days for going home, the first day was for those being picked up by car, the second for those of us going home by train.

I never really thought about the why of the 2 days and especially why the train people had to stay at school 1 more day but logistically it makes sense.  Parents picking up their kids by car arrived in dribs and drabs, whereas the train people all left in groups, leaving the school fullish one moment, empty the next.  As well as the alphabet, 3 days out we chanted things like.."today's the horse tomorrow's the cart, the next day after we all depart" or "today's the brush, tomorrow's the comb, the next day after we all go home"  !!!!   ah the cuteness and naivety of it all.

Although I was always a train person, spending all day  travelling to get home down south in Lincolnshire, there were consolations as we shared the train with the boys from Sedbergh school.  BOYS.....after being literally cloistered away from most of life for 12 weeks this was an exciting event.  Even more exciting was the fact that the train had to stop at a tiny place called I think Clapham (not the big junction of the same name further south) where a pub would, totally illegally open its door waaaay early and even more totally illegally serve drinks to underage school kids.  Magic!  I can't recall if I actually ever got a drink from there but if I did it would have been  either  cider or a Babycham!  I know in my later years at school the publican failed to open ,so maybe words had been exchanged between him and the police.   Sooo wicked!

Ah.. nostalgia!...I no longer do the alphabet thing but I do countdown and my current countdown is getting very close to single figures..so possibly today is "Q". So for the next 10 days I'm  indulging in  moaning about the cold weather after which I  will no doubt change to groaning about how hot it is.  I hope.