“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

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Road Race report...I came 5th.... + a proud mother paragraph

The last 2 years I've been dropped near the base of the Huberhohe...today it was at the top.  I tried...oh how I tried to get back on, but failed.  The 4 in front were too strong.  So yet again I TT'd my way to the finish, but this time failed to pick up anyone significant, although the group of 4 lost 1 on Schwendt...but then I also struggled there.  Results are here.

Alex looks to be performing best of the Aus elite men in the World MTBO champs in Estonia.  Amongst his team mates...he was  second fastest in the Sprint... his least fave discipline, fastest in the Middle and ditto in the relay.  In fact in the relay he was the fastest of all in  his particular combo of controls. Age and experience.  Their results however are somewhat off the pace...lack of high class competition will always show up in these events. Hopefully he can back up well in the long distance which is being raced tomorrow.

The speed the results go up is exemplary...road race organisors need to take note....MTBO is a minor sport and if they can manage it...why can't cycling?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Pix from Sankt Johann in Tirol

My favourite OS food.....can't find it at home and even the Italian versions aren't as good.

1. for better, for worse
2.  job description : willingness to perform slave labour

Nothing coy about the Austrians.....definitely down to earth!..translation someone? google translate struggled but I think it means ????our stinks are no longer???...or something!

The TT today was wet with a tail wind to begin with and then head at the end....nothing too strong but enough to send me off much faster than expected.

I am  at a disadvantage since the class is 60+ and I am 69.  I got 5th with the ages of the 4 in front of me being: 60,60,61,60.  Since it is usual to race in 5 year intervals, I am actually at the end of the class above these 4.  Hopefully the organisors will see sense and have a class for 65+ in 2014 although that is the year  I will actually be in the 70-74 class.  Where DID the years go to ?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Misc pix from Sankt Johann +1 from Italy

A first sighting for me...an electric car....2 seater

Another first sighting for me...a stork
Could be anything..is actually a gym for women
I'm not sure putting an apron on the tree at the door of Mrs Sporty sends the right message!
This is either a building set around a tree or the builder used whatever material he had at hand!
The weather here is the Tirol is not good...today's temperature  topped out at 19C and it rained...pfffttt...that's not what I'm here for!  The rest of the week appears to be somewhat similar and the long range forecast is somewhat similar in Feltre where I'll be for the next 3 weeks.  Not happy Jan!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Races, the challenge of Trento and THE challenge

Don't you hate it when everything you wrote magically disappears.  Grrh!

Ok so what I said was (in a much shorter version!)

I'm fine, my health is good, my wallet isn't empty, I'm in good form, sticking to my diet and not losing any more weight.  My next races are TT's and so I've reluctantly gone out today doing TT practise...well sorta TT efforts...actually more like sprint efforts.  Hill climbing here is such fun and the scenery is inspiring.

I'm off to Hartberg tomorrow midday for a TT then on to my second home from home Sankt Johann i Tirol ( my other HFH is where I am right now...Feltre) for a TT and a RR.  So  I have a week in Austria then I return here for a final 3 weeks of language school and training, ending up with another attempt at the Trento  TT.

Another coupla challenges beckon though...Monte Grappa ..a mecca for cyclists and with a rich war time history in  both WW1 and 2 and also the Passo  Croce D'Aune...site of the inspiration for the quick release skewer.  Apparently a young Mr Campagnolo had frozen fingers and struggled to change his back wheel, later he got the idea of a QR wheel.
The lower slopes of Monte Grappa
I went out for an hour yesterday..the road climbs almost from my door but the climb proper,  as you can see, starts a bit abruptly some km later.  This was a bit of a test and I will ride it on weekend day..taking as long as is needed.  This route is one of the easier (less difficult) versions...there are 10 options.

Passo Croce D'Aune..not yet attempted
Skype is great isn't it...yesterday I had a long chat with Donna Meehan  who is in a language school much further south than me...in really hilly terrain and with temps hitting 40 regularly.....her hill climbing is going to super ace when she gets back to Oz...in order to get back to where she stays she has to heave herself up a 14%er...similar to when we were in Mazze, although her hill sounded much longer than the one I grovelled up on daily.  No wonder Italians are good climbers and not quite so good at TTing.

I've finally found a truly great bike shop here...Della Rosa, Via Belluno, 57 Feltre 32032 who do great work and are extremely helpful.  Also almost next door is THE best supermarket and since I've finally discovered where the laundrette is...life is peachy!

Monday, 19 August 2013


Today's race was the crit..and this version called for 10 laps giving us 11-12 km race with points up for grabs for the first 5 across the line after 5 laps.
the pace was on from the get go with a surge at lap 5 that left me floundering and chasing.  My competition, Vida from Slovenia, had stayed with the front group but a few laps later she's been dropped and was back with us...then the front group had slowed and we were altogether again.  I marked Vida but she beat me by a wheel in the sprint to the finish.  I think I'm right in saying she's an ex- Olympian so I'm punching way above my weight.

My prologue result was either discovered or made up...they got me as being .1sec (1/10th of a second) slower than Vida

the podium for the road race

What with the racing and the party that went on outside my hotel room til 0330, the drive back to Feltre was punctuated by 3 stops for power naps!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Hartberg Road Race

Done,dusted and won.

We were ok..our  start time was correct but others were not so fortunate..the internet said 1 thing...the revised list (NOT posted on the internet) another. This meant some who were to race at 1pm arrived at the start at 1100.  Not happy Jan!!

The group of ladies 35 and up was about 15 strong.  the race started off with about 5km fairly flat which was just as well since I needed all of that to wake up:-)

The hills saw some falling off the back and at some point the person I saw as my major opposition got dropped.  I was climbing strongly only getting into difficulty once when a poor gear change caused me to drop back.

2km from the end the younger ladies started to play cat and mouse so I went to the front to up the pace in order to ensure my opposition didn't get back on.  Needless to say I was well and truly swamped in the sprint to the line, but...who cared...I'd won my class.  Yay!

No pix.  Sleep calls as yesterday's drive, plus race plus today's race has left me just a bit weary!

Hartberg Austria

Each place/town region/location you race in makes an effort to show off it's good points.  Hartberg doesn't strike me as a "sin city" at all...but as a German speaking friend of mine pointed out Sinne=senses.  soooo boring!

The welcome bag included the above offering + an apple and a can of Red bull!...oh and a rather large ball of Austrian chocolate complete with a pix of Mozart on the silver paper...so far I've managed to steer clear of all offerings.  At least it's not as bad as the WMG where I discovered a (in)continence pad in my welcome bag!!!!!

Yesterday's prologue beat the somewhat shambolic WMG races by a country mile...there were chip timing problems and the race, slated to start latish in the evening, started 1 hour late and was cancelled half way through when it became too dark.  By the time the race started I was well and truly over it and started the 1.4km race as though it was a 500m track time trial and died somewhere along the way!...took ~2minutes.  I was the last female starter and the first male rider, starting 30 s after me overtook me on the narrow tight last corner....crazy organisation and truly lacking in thought.

Hopefully the tough road race today wont be another disaster as that would completely kill off the event for future years since there are already some really pissed off cyclists.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Longer rides

Monday's ride was a bit of a reversal from Sunday but adding in a small col I had  looked at but didn't ride previously.  Plus i needed to find a bike shop for chain oil and new tyres...ended up buying 2 sets of sunnies, chain oil but no new tyres!...as you do/don't.

Tuesdays' ride was one where i really wished i had my camera with me, but it was doing Monte Grappa along with Alex and Chris.  I am just going to have to return as the vineyard terrain was magic.....more pix when i can bring myself to repeat this ride...bit tired now so can't even think of it.  i wore my new shoes and so the beginning involved a fair amount of stopping and starting while I sorted out the cleats and the last part was done with shoes loosened as I suffered a bout of hot foot.  I might have to revert to my old shoes for this weekend's races in Hartberg.

Language school is going along ok although I'm finding the grammar too easy and the conversation too hard!

 The guys leave  Feltre (AKA Fel3) on Friday am and I do a mega dash into Austria to be in Hartberg for a 1. something prologue at 7pm

Monday, 12 August 2013

Sunday's ride

today's ride had a dual purpose...get some kms into my legs and find a laundrette!  handwashing isn't good for weeks on end...at least not at our skill level!

I was told to forget about hills for a while, but that is really hard to do here.  However there was no real reason for me to attack the hill near Anzu..except for the fact that I had failed before and wanted to see how I'd go  "right now!"..I did it..thankfully..now I dont have to return there.  It's a nasty little climb peaking at 16% that goes up to a church, so I was accompanied on the way up by cars full of people going to mass and politely beeping their horns as they approached the blind hair pin bends...something I was grateful for on the way down.

The rest of the ride was going over old territory and I did manage to find 2 laundries,although the one at Anzu I think was not quite what we wanted. The one at Cesiomaggiore fit the bill...open from 0700 to 2000 and with drying too.  I rewarded myself with a tiramisu ice cream at Santa Giustina and also located the bike shop there.  A truly great ride.  Home again I quickly fell into nanna nap mode and have whiled away the hours since then prior to joining the other students at the welcome meal.

Feltre, like Sankt Johann, is a sort of second home.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Back at Feltre and final Torino pix

Door stop for when your door doesn't close properly

damp clothes

Have to confess I turned my head to look at this fountain during the TT

the hill we should have climbed in the RR..well part of the way

Yesterday after taking Alex and Chris to Chivasso for their train to Milan/Padova/Feltre, I loaded the car up with 2 collapsed bike boxes,2 MTB's, 1 road bike, 4 road wheels, 4 MTB wheels,1 ergo, 9 assorted soft cases/bags/backpacks, 1 computer bag, 4 helmets and 6 carrier bags of food and bike spares....and then there was just enough room for me!

It took me over an hour to pack the car and 5 hours to get here allowing for 2 stops on the way and 1 GPS induced wrong turn.

I then unpacked the car and took all of the above except for 1 exceptionally heavy case, up 1 flight of stairs to our apartment.

I was in bed by 7pm and then 4 hours later  having been  woken up by 1 incredibly loud Irish neighbour talking on her phone  finally had my evening meal!

Today's tasks are to have a really long ride and try to find a laundrette as 4 weeks of hand washing my clothes is 3 weeks too much!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Another thunderstorm

I've been in Italy 4 weeks now and I've lived through 4 mega thunderstorms.
The most significant one hit Torino just before our road race resulting in a delay in starting as they swept standing water off the road and a shortening of our course...taking out the 1 hill that would have made the course VERY interesting and also a challenge.  The delay also meant our course changed from 4 to 3 laps...making the race under 30 km rather than just over 40.  Esssentially it was just another Kermesse, but the mud slides down the hill meant using that part of the course was just not possible...shame.

I kept up with the lead group and only allowed them off the leash (!!!!!) for the sprint in to the finish since my competition wasn't present, and was in fact 5 minutes adrift. 
mouth open Tony Martin style in the TT  (on my road bike)
and also in the Crit

Today is a rest day and tomorrow we decamp to Feltre..me in the overloaded car, the guys on the train.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

TT time

After yesterday's presentation fiasco, I wasn't even sure I'd race today.  But in the end I decided yes I would.  The boys were not keen to join me and I can't blame them 1 iota for that but my sister is made of sterner stuff and she joined me and was an enormous help looking after my stuff, cheering me on and taking pix.

Warming up took place around the park and up and down a 100m straight road but since there were also dogs, children and assorted other bodies there one had to keep ones wits on full alert while doing efforts.

As we got near to our start time a distraught  American girl was trying to get a re-start since she'd ridden only 1 lap instead of 2...no go though ..not a hope.  Then the rider in front of me was pulled because her chip was on the right instead of the left side of her forks......so I started earlier than my official time..but of course with a chip this doesn't matter.

I was lucky...I had a motor bike escort...with the rider waving a flag which I somewhat belatedly realised was to indicate the best part of the road.  Despite not using TT bars, I was able to get in a good tuck position 'cos I'd changed to my TT saddle.  The temp was hot and humid and actually as we drove home there was a thunderstorm.  The course was a bit rough underfoot and included a section of "cobbles"..not real cobbles of course... the modern pseudo type.

Anyhow I did 19 minutes, was half way down the list of all the women and generally felt pleased with most of my effort.....still need work on hills.

My road race is on Thursday...the weather forecast is diabolical, so it's a question of wait and see.  there's a killer hill we have to go up and down 4 times..so tomorrow is look-see day

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

WMG Criterium

Yesterday's race...called a Crit but if we're being picky was in fact not a Crit..more a Kermesse.  The info on the internet said 30 mins + 3 laps...but it turned out to be just 4 laps in total on a ~4km course.  does one believe internet info?..not here at the WMG since there were 3 different versions of the program all up at the same time.....the only solid correct fact was that my Crit start was at 1830.

In somewhat hot and humid weather our 16 strong group was all 50+ ages with 3 Aussies in the mix...Desrae Cameron, Fran Watson and I..Desrae ended up winning 60-64 age group, I won 65-70 and Fran was 2nd in 70-74 group.  Also there were Petra Kleunder and Maria Zander, friends from St Johann.

The course was good...the surface not and the pace was hot from the start with the 50-54's getting the speed up from the gun.  I stuck with the lead group until halfway through the 2nd lap when a surge at a corner saw someone dropping a wheel  and the elastic soon broke.  I was then in a small group of 3 who later picked up 2 stragglers from the breakaway.  We stayed together til the end with the other 4 sprinting to the line with me behind not bothering to contest since I had already beaten my competition.

Then the "fun" started.  The presentation was not to be until 8.30 on the big stage. There was no marshalling at the podium which perhaps should have warned us, but we gathered anyway.  Finally a guy came and told us only 1 age group would be presented on the stage, the rest would be presented elsewhere...later(!) We all complained...loudly, in many languages.  Finally they agreed and we all got on the stage...then they ran out of medals! We got home at 11pm.

 Hopefully there will be a change for the rest of the races or rather the presentations..although at least there were to be medals for all age grades..apparently for the races on the track they were  only going to give out medals to women in two age groups... 30-34 and then 35+.  Until someone protested.

My family have been given a leave pass not to come to the TT today since my start time is at 19.12 and it'll be bad enough for me but for them...unbearable. In fact I'm not even sure I'll race it.  The course is 2 laps of a 4.5km loop which goes across cobbles at one stage. I'm already not using TT bars and having looked at the course will be using my ordinary wheels but the real killer is having to drive home by myself late at night in Turin traffic.

A bit of a negative post I know..but it's such a pity when admin/organisational  problems overtake the racing side of the equation.

Monday, 5 August 2013

saturday was splurge day

..that's it for a while...back to buying fuel for the car and the body

Rides and races

Wagging school on Friday gave me time to get a fairly decent length ride in during the cool of the morning.  Nothing too long as I'm in a taper week.
this area is great for training...there are dead flat roads  for flat out TT training and also some nasty little pinches..including the final one up to our house.  Must be getting fitter as yesterday I rode the first part of it eating an ice cream!

the commute to Chivasso..our nearest train station.  Alex and Chris has the use of the car all weekend and so I rode/train/rode my way into Torino.  Saturday for a lunch date with an aussie friend and a chance to finally get the internet personal wifi 100% secure in order to access my bank and Sunday to pick up numbers and race chip.

One has to be a little careful with August rail timetables as I discovered last week....to get home from Torino  there are usually 1 or even 2 trains every hour that we can take ...but during August there no/zero /0 trains from 0900 to 1200.  not a problem?..well yes it is when you have a bike so can't go into shops/museums etc and have absolutely no intention of trying to ride out of the city.  Torino roads are...well bumpy...and there are trams and cracks you could disappear into....and what's worse...traffic!

ooooh dear...the organisation is showing a few cracks.  I'm not sure about other sports but its a bit worrying when your TT is definitely on Tuesday but could be at 0900 or 1830..depending where you get your info from and your RR could be on Thursday or Friday.....again depending which of the 3 (yes 3) versions there are on the website.  I'm de-stressing myself as much as possible but have prepared my house mates for the biggest dummy spit in history if I get there this evening to discover I've missed the race!

Half way up the hill that goes to our house is where a group of ladies of an uncertain age (prob 70-80) sit and gossip in the early evening.....they have clearly been quite fascinated by us, so yesterday since I was on foot rather than on or in wheels, I stopped for a chat.  Reckon I fed them enough info to keep them happy for the rest of summer!

Side note...on Saturday Alex and Chris rode the roads near Pinerolo when Thomas Voeckler in last year's TdF (or was it 2011) rode off the road onto someone's parking spot.  Apparently it was much steeper than Alex had expected....glad I didn't join them!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Thursday's ride

Once again this ride was a bit shorter than planned but today I'm wagging school again and will clock up  quite a few more kms
then later on I have to go to the WMG event centre to have my medical...without which I can't compete. I'm interested to know how close to being a VO2max test it is...blood pressure with and without exercise sounds close to that sort of test...we'll see!..more anon

The weather is starting to warm up again...well the temp is staying the same but the humidity and therefore discomfort level is rising.  Maybe i should be happy since my acclimatisation will be to my benefit!!   The start list shows me the field is class...much better than I had thought.