“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!