“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

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Post holiday analysis..what I learned this time

This is normally a task I would do when  in the throes of jet lag, however here I am still in Austria but with such crap weather I am frustratingly confined to be indoors with little to do.

Overall plan
Foiled on day 1 when my bike failed to arrive on the plane with me...or indeed  the day after.  Apparently it never left Melbourne on my plane .  It arrived 2days late and I had to go to Venice airport to get it.  NOT impressed seeing as I am a Silver Frequent flyer card holder with Emirates. A letter of complaint will be sent on my arrival back home.  However lesson learned...don't skimp on time...if I'd been locked into water tight plans I'd have been doomed.

Too much unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing was a lowlight of my first week or so..next year I wont go so far south at the beginning.  I love Feltre and the cycling in that area and knowing the place facilitates training, but there are other options further north and too much driving is exhausting.

The 2 weeks in the mountains was brilliant for my climbing ability and general fitness...next year it's going to be 3 weeks.

Arriving in Hartberg on the day of the first race is not ideal..next year I'll be there earlier.  The accommodation was good, friendly and although there was far too much cream, the food fantastic.  The distance (10km away) is an issue but given the above plus the tranquility and the low cost, I'll  go there again next year.  Hartberg police are a tad keen on parking fines, so I now have the requisite piece of cardboard to display and am 20 euros poorer for the lesson.

Not having too tight a budget is a must.  Both my sunglasses and my prescription glasses died on me as did my HRM chest strap...a total of 89+270+70 euros respectively of unplanned expenses (prob about $A700-800 all up).

I bought quite a few clothes(cycling tops, T shirts, shorts, groovy long sleeved tops) and bike bottles...too good to go past (!) and all will be used.  Also 2 jigsaws to keep us amused when not training and 1 major indulgence a panoramic photo of Feltre.  What with the latter  and the  2 jerseys I won, our local picture framer is going to make a mint!

 Staying on after the races.
A good idea if the weather is ok!  however as tedious as all get out if it's not.

 Monday is a ruhetag around St Johann...some shops don't open and since  I had a lot of trouble getting my pedals off  I spent all day, well not quite, trying to find a bike shop that was not only open but that had a mechanic working.  I tried 2 shops in Kirchdorf, 2 in Going, 1 in Kitzbuehel, 1 in Kirchberg and finally found one in Klausen.  Memo to self remember to tell mechanics NOT to tighten my pedals up so damn much...they seem to think that if they are not super tight they'll fall off...they dont!

That's all she wrote...and as the sun sets slowly in the west we say farewell to Italy, Austria and all my OS cycling friends old and new.

Monday, 1 September 2014

No excuse this time!

The racing is over and done with and I'm now in my final 2 days in Europe.

I arrived in Sankt Johann  on Saturday after a 5-6 hr drive from Hartberg and despite a day's rest was very very tired for Monday's road race and so couldn't even raise a smile over the final 200m ,never mind a sprint.  I had started off in good form and had kept up with the younger ones up the first part of the Huberhohe but blew a valve after a while and went backwards.  I was solo for quite a while before being caught by the next group and stayed with them to the end.   5th place.

Tuesday was spent mostly asleep or eating!

Wednesday is TT day, but for the first time I didn't race it.  The weather was diabolical.  I got a quick ride in, but my friends told me their clothes were about 1kg heavier after the race, it was so wet.  Hard to imagine since they were in skinsuits.

Thursday was another cruise day and we went to Gassteig to visit a cheese factory where we learned about how happy the cows were in that particular area...eating yummy grass in summer and organically looked after(ie no plastic covering) hay in winter.  There were about 5 types of cheese but we couldn't go past 2 of them...

they we a Camembert type of cheese

 We bought a Kleiner Stinker, but think it needed to sit around for a day or so as it wasn't ripe enough..nice but.  We couldn't work out the difference btw kleiner and grosser...it wasn't size....

Friday was the road race.  There were 7 starters in our group and by the top of the Huberhohe only 4, although 3 of us had to work extra hard to catch the front runner.  We think she didn't realise we were there behind her, as she didn't pull off or even look round until the base of the next hill...actually she is very strong but she didn't really know how to pull turns or ride in a group , so we wondered if she normally only raced TT's or perhaps is a triathlete.

This time I *could* sprint but was beaten into 2nd place....doh!  Later on I was unofficially awarded a jersey on account of me being 70  and riding against much younger athletes. I was delighted and very touched by all the work Maria had done to persuade the organisors that this was a good and well deserved gesture.  I had to promise to return next year...oh the hardship!

I've now moved away from our usual accommodation and had hoped to get some really long not too stressful rides in or even attempt the Kitzbeuler Horn ride...a particularly vicious climb of 12.53% average for 10.2km but the weather is crap and one is lucky to get even a couple of hours with no rain.

Depart these shores Tuesday, home Thursday. 1 last day of watching the Vuelta at a civilised time!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Farewell Hartberg and hello Sankt Johann in Tirol

So ...that's concluded what may well have been THE most exhausting 9 days I have ever experienced!

I had entered all 7 events without having the remotest intention of racing all 7, however...after winning the criterium on day 2 and the road race on day 3 and therefore winning the leader's yellow jersey, how could I not go on and race the lot.

 I was super strong on the hills after all that mountain climbing in the Dolomiti and Alps and so was able to keep up with the younger riders (35 yr olds) ...usually until the last km or so when they upped  the pace considerably.

The hill climb on the second last day was a struggle-some low day for me but with  10 min buffer ahead of the second placed rider I was able to concede only32 seconds on the final race...the Time trial and so thankfully held onto the yellow jersey. Final tally was 1 x 3rd (prologue), 5 x 1st (3 road races, the hill climb and the Crit), 1 x 2nd (TT)

After peeling off the plaques (?spelling??), I donate all trophies to Tracy Lea who uses them in the races she promotes for juniors, however I will be keeping the overall trophy.,,,.the brandy glass shaped one in the centre.(missing is a trophy for the prologue..the program said the presentation was to be at 10pm but it actually happened at 9pm!...no show=no trophy)

After experiencing a noisy room in a hotel in the centre of town last year, I opted to stay in a quite location 10km out of town.

The distance was a bit of an issue but the hosts were friendly, the food plentiful and yummy, the ambience great, there were other Aussies there and the bed was comfortable...so I'll be wanting to return there next year.  There was a farm close by with genuine free range hens, so I bought some eggs for this week..10 eggs for  2 euros,

Wigwam or drying hay?
To close this post, I want you to share my 2 am/0200. confusion ...after 9 days of hopping out of bed and turning left for the bathroom...tonight it was hop out of bed turn left and  find myself trying to get into the wardrobe!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Rest day today

I've got 3 more races here..1 road race, 1 hill climb and a time trial...then I move to Sankt Johann in tirol.

Herewith some random pix:

We're not the only regular visitors to Hartberg!

Tracy, Liz, Vida

What can I say?!

Such honesty
and finally after so much riding over such a short space of time, I must acknowledge Keywin Anti Chafing Cream. (I know.....TMI)  I won  some in NZ when MTB Orienteering and found it to be THE best chammy cream out, so bought some more ...thanks to the Victorian agent Kevin  of Gravity Zero for his help in getting it to me in time for my departure.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Random pix

Hartberg..not a slope we have to climb, thankfully

Elegant building, inelegant shop name!

Some names dont cross the language barrier too well!

Hartberg..old and slightly less old

Napkin at the Die Sonne cafe!

Beer Pong..

Winner! can I hang on to it for 4 more races?

 Feltre...This one and the one below..irate shop owner pissed(!) off with dogs and their owners

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Finally a rest day!

There has been a huge hole in my blogging this year due to very poor internet connections despite me having my Huawei Personal Wifi .  I threw alot of money at it by buying more Gigs but even with  copious memory..we seemed only to have 2G or even worse H connection..ie VERY S L O W.  I learned 1 thing though ...in order to recharge for data you have to go to  the TIM orWIND (vodaphone or 3 too) shop...NOT the Tabaccheria...so that was 20 euros added unnecessarily to my hone SIM card!

We finished off our time in Italy by returning to Feltre for close to 2 weeks where we were joined by my sister for  10 days.  The theme for the time there was training for legs speed not climbing and delving into the history of the area WRT to WW1.

Prior to that we were in Bormio.  Our time in the mountains was beset by less that perfect weather, but with a week in Cortina and another in Bormio we managed to do all the climbs we set out to do.  Where there was an option we opted to go for the easier one and will be returning next year to tackle them all again possibly the harder option, or maybe just trying to do better on the ones already done.  Can't find the Stelvio pix but these below are the last 2 rides from Bormio, done on consecutive days due to weather concerns.  The really old body found day 2 very very hard...I got to the top but really I was ragged.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Back in Feltre

So the Alps and Dolomiti are now just a memory and a lasting fatigue in the legs.  I hope to return there next year in order to re-climb the mountains I've already done and perhaps a few more.  I hope to be better prepared next year and plan to allow more time in each place to give me a longer  recovery period between big efforts.

My training is now shorter sharper stuff that is much more easily done here in Feltre and knowing the area as well as I now do, I can accurately chose where to ride.  Next year there will be no house in Pedavena though...even although that slog up the hill was good "medicine/training" it's difficult access  cramped our style.  The town flat I'min now is much better despite it being basic++.

So here with me are my sister and son.  Alex continuing his training prior to his comp in Poland and my sister joining me in exploring the history of the area around the WW1 period.
Outside the cafe at the top where we encountered an Aussie we knew..small world!

Entrance to the tunnel dug right through the mountain to behind Austrian lines

We drove up Monte Grappa which was highly significant during WW1 and a bit in WW2 and also went to the War Museum at Rovereto.  Today we are having a lesson with my language teacher..it's to be a conversation on what we have learned so far.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Internet woes =no blog updates

Weve had mega issues with nternet access recently and since creating a blog post + pix takes a while Ive not managed to get anything happening...there's ony so long you can stretch the friendship of a free WiFi  cafe on 1 cup of coffee!

Updates wil hapen but perhaps not til I get to Austria next week.  In the meantime:
Cortina was good and appartment 100% good..rode all the climbs I'd planned but there are more..that's for next year and I've already asked to book the same place next year.

Bormio..we did the 3 iconic climbs..Lo Stelvio, La Gavia e il Mortirolo and more.  Back next year to do the alternate approaches to all these 3 but not in the same apartment as itwas a bittoo far out of Bormio and was too small.
Gavia.ridden the day after the Mortorolo which was too soon for me


Now we're back in Feltre to do pre race training, rest up and learn about WW1...an opportune time given the centenary.
Monument to the partisans in WW2, Monte Grappa

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sella Ronda

Final day at Cortina and we were lucky enough to have good weather...or rather we started and finished in good weather but got rained on round the back...close to hail actually and  since we were descending at the time, we got rather cold.

Corvara looks to be an interesting place..ie loads of sports clothes shops and I stopped atone and bought a maglia...that's 3 cycling tops, 2 polo shirts,1 warm jacket, 1pr gloves, 1pr socks...all on sale added to my wardrobe! 

Simoni statue at the top of Passo Pordoi

Passo Sella and the weather was still ok
Entering the Gardena area and that cloud was about to drop it's load on us

and finally Passo Campolongo
this last climb, despite appearing on paper to be the easiest had some nasty pinches coming out of Corvara.

And finally...this sign was onthe window of our closest shop/bar.  Sadly no camera with me when I saw it and when I went back to take a pix but it had gone, so this is a mock up....

Friday, 25 July 2014

Passo Giau

This climb was a bit of a toughie for me although I managed it at my slow pace.

the ride is quite short but makes up for it by it's steepness

For the Orienteers amongst my friends....the gondola, north side or perhaps the monument,¬50m above

Rest day today and hopefully the Sellaronda tomorrow

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cortina d'Ampezzo

So we picked Alex up at the international airport outside Venice in steamingly hot weather, the drove up to the Dolomites..to Cortina d'ampezzo.

Our apartment here is just brilliant..loads of room. a laundry and a bike shed.  There are 2 bathrooms and the water is HOT!  not only that but there is free wifi, satellite TV, a microwave and rarest of all kitchen beasts here in Italy...an electric kettle.

The only downside and it's not that bad really is that each ride starts off with a 2 km uphill slog...we wld have been really annoyed but after the Pedavena hill we had to haul ourselves up at the end of each day, this pimple is a very++ slight annoyance.

The forecast for   the week was, to say the least, extremely disappointing but actually like all forecasts has been less than accurate so far.

The area is very close to Austria and at 1 time probably WAS Austria, so the differences are very obvious..place names in 2 languages, decent Austrian bread rather than the stuff I dont like and which is in the shops just an hour's drive further south.  Then there's the architecture and the more Austrian style designs in the clothing. etc etc.  Also I'm now mistaken for an Austrian or perhaps a German  or perhaps a Swiss lady rather than well we know yr not Italian..maybe ur an American or a Pom.

So our rides here are just so full of photo opps its hard not to stop every km or so.  Our first ride was up the Passo Falzarego and the Valparola.  I was slow and Alex kepton coming back down to round me up like a sheep.I.started to call him Lassie!!

there's a bit more to the ride, but my cyclo computer was giving me a bit of grief, so I missed the last bit.

The next day the weather was baaaaad and we thought we'd have to have a day off...later onit clearedup and we went out but I turned round early as my legs were suffering from 3 really hard rides and 1 day off driving.

Today we rode the Passo Tre Croci in good weather despite the forecast.  It's a really nice gentle ride and my legs were good again.  Tomorrow we hope to do something alot harder, the Passo Giau

We stopped off at a souvenir shop near the Lago Misurina and were more than somewhat surprised to see what was almost  a shrine to Mussolini..with pictures and even  Mussolini themed calendars for sale.