Monday, September 17, 2012

Blake's Manor

Situation: Genesys Training Camp; day 6

Weather: Filthy, bordering on horrendous

Motivation levels: Beginning to wane

The saving grace? Blake’s Manor

There were six of us out riding around the windy flats near Deloraine, Tasmania. Nearle, Dyball, Jai, Sammy D, Matt from Launie Homes and myself. About an hour into our ride we saw some pretty horrid looking black clouds coming in over the Tassie highlands. We pulled over and chucked on our rain jackets, extra gloves, head warmers, pretty much anything we could.

It was a smart move.

Five minutes later the scene had certainly changed. Ben Dyball was busy grovelling along in the gravel shoulder after being blown off the road by the increasingly strong wind (like seriously, seriously strong*)

*We are talking 170km/h wind gusts that ripped roofs off houses in Deloraine that night
Then came the hail. Oh the stinging hail. It hurt. A lot!

We cowered amongst a cluttering of trees trying to work out how best to ameliorate this truly shitful situation. The initial equation involved us riding up a climb to the Great Lakes which would see us gain another ~800-1000m of elevation. Given the temperature was hovering around the mid-single digits whilst we huddled, shivered and contemplated the crapulence of our situation; there was no doubt that tackling that climb would result in

1)      Snow
2)      Hypothermia
3)      Insanity
4)      A rather low level of satisfaction
5)      All of the above. And some.

So to Deloraine we soldiered.

Now on our training camps, and races, accommodation is always a highly variable theme. Given we end up staying in some tourist areas in ‘off peak’ season, or in other areas in ‘on peak’ season; for a given cost, we could be in a caravan park, or a chalet. Sometimes we score some really, really nice spots to stay.

Anyone on the team will happily regale you with tales of Toowoomba. Four people to a space so small it truly was a stretch of the truth to deem it a 'cabin'. All piled on top of each other. Only separated by our own sweat, dysentery and the dirt and sand that was just everywhere.

But fear not, because in stark contrast came our deluxe lodgings at San Remo. This stroke of good luck saw us start Tour of Gippsland in luxury villas with ceilings even higher than our enthusiasm to sleep beneath them.

Needless to say, we were all hoping to score a gem for the night. We were cold, miserable and hungry. Let’s be honest, caravan parks are fine. At that point in time, all we really needed was a warm shower. Heck, we’d have had one in the main street of Deloraine if that was our only option.

But then there came, Blake’s Manor. You. Little. Beauty.

Probably best not to wear our muddy shoes in here...

On arrival it appeared we’d slipped back into the days of ye Olde England. We had arrived in the palatial surrounds of something out of Downton Abbey. Certainly, no complaints here.

Certainly comfortable

But what’ that say you? Free food? Oh, well of course, many motels give you some tea bags and cookies!
Oh no, not just ordinary cookies!

Oh really, do tell?
We started with; fresh baked macadamia cookies. Brilliant. To which we then uncovered some local chocolate truffles. Oh how swell. Nevertheless the local cheese platter went divinely with the flagon of port. But only trumped by the delicious iced cupcakes. Truly satiating.

Anyone for cheese?

But wait, I know you want more;

Local Bacon, six rashers.
Local Eggs, times six.
And a fresh, baked, loaf of bread. And don’t you dare forget the fresh butter and Jam.
Yep. It was a feast. Of glorious proportions.

Here's hoping for warmer weather come Tour of Tasmania...

It equipped us with sufficient nutrients and motivation to tackle the dastardly climb we had avoided. Albeit in the car.

A good night’s sleep, surrounded by an abundance of pillows, teddy bears, tassels and all manner of opulent furnishings left us with the nobility of kings. Until we returned the next day, to our more customary abode of the Hobart Airport Caravan Hotel Caravan Park.

Accommodation on tour or training camp is about taking the ups with the downs. At the end of the day, we are lucky to have someone else organise and pay it all for us. And even luckier, to get to dot around the country and see places we’d never see. Even if it means rain, hail, snow and a lot of washing.

A clear and frosty day up on Mt Wellington, Hobart.

There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Sun on the other side of that grey cloud. And in this case, a hefty dose of fat, sugar with just a sprinkling of alcohol at the end of a despondent day in Deloraine.

Yep, I’ll take the good with the bad, because the good, is just that good.


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