Friday, August 27, 2010

Murphy's Law

Murphy is a bastard. Whoever he is, whatever he did, he sure messed it up for the rest of us.

It was a crap day today, lots of drizzle and a genuine bathtub full of filth had made it's way from the road to my bike and clothing. I was a mud-bath moving at 35 k/h.

About an hour from home my pump did a runner from my back pocket. I hit a bump and heard it bouncing down the road behind me. So a quick U-turn and I found that the nozzle had come apart and the spring and washer from the inside were missing. Oh crap.

This road, like the many I had previously travelled over, was of the filthy variety, thus my task in finding and rebuilding my pump was beyond simple. Fast forward ten minutes and not only had I exhausted every swear word I knew (multi-lingual too..) but magically I had found the pieces to my pump, I was away.

So you can imagine during my search I had it in the back of my mind that I could not possibly go without finding the pieces because I would surely puncture.

So I almost smirked with victory when only 5k down the road I heard that familiar hissing sound. My tire was deflated, but I was almost elated, take that Murphy you bastard, I found all the pieces of my pump, this puncture will not stop me!

So apart from getting more grease and grim all over my hands changing the tubes and cleaning off the tyres I waited triumphantly to pump that first breath of air into the new tube. ...


The pump was not creating a seal. Oh crap.

I must have missed a piece on the roadside. Oh crap.

To re-use a great phrase I currently found myself sans paddle and slowly drifting up shit creek. That prick Murphy had me right where he wanted me.

After the second exhaustion of my multi-lingual swear words I had the realisation that I am in fact a complete idiot. The little 'thingamajig' from the inside of the pump was in the wrong way round.

Five minutes later I was on my way.

Lessons learned: Murhpy is a bastard and I am an idiot! Hardly ground breaking I guess.

Over the last week and a half I have had some monster races. 1.2 and 1.1 UCI races in Belgium, it just doesn't get any bigger, any harder or any scarier.

Unfortunately I have been nothing more than pack fodder, never lasting more than half the race. I have been having some real problems with my back and foot stemming from my crash last year. I seemed to have held together until Qinghai lake but now the wheels have completely fallen off the wagon. As a result I am bypassing Tour of China so I can get home and back into some of the rehab exercises and gym work that I obviously did not do enough of previously. Also I have these piddly little things called exams that I should probably (start) study(ing) for. So an extra fortnight of study whilst back home should go a long way.

So that's just about everything, and like they do in Holland, make sure that you


Monday, August 23, 2010

A bloody queen size bed!!!!!!!

After three months of laying uncomfortably sprawled upon a mattress as skinny as an emaciated cyclist post Tour de France, I am enjoying the lavish luxury that comes with laying upon a plush queen sized bed. Such grandeur, such prestige, such comfort. Who can honestly deny the joy of laying upon a bed large enough to contain all of ones limbs?

The day began like any other: Coffee, yoghurt, muesli, computer.

Matters were complicated as we were being thrown out of our warm cosy residence at the AMVJ hostel in Geleen. Not only did this result in the team being scattered across various spares beds throughout Belgium and Holland. It also highlighted to me that in a roundabout way, perhaps lady luck was no longer shitting upon me from a great height. I think she is back on my side.

Pavel, my newly acquired Czech team mate, and myself made our way to our new accommodation via a criterium race in Kleve, Germany.

After 2 hours of fast crit action, one coke, one pizza and one (or possibly more) pieces of chocolate we arrived at our new home for the next week and a half. We now found ourselves residing with the Australian super mechanic Mark 'Funky' Howard and his better half, Lindsay.

So that is how I have come to find myself laying upon an ever so comfortable bed ranting and raving and generally talking complete crap.

Anyone for some icing on that cake? Yeh? How bout a cherry on top too?

Oh you better believe they have a smoking quick wireless network. Why the bloody hell didn't we come here earlier? This IS living people.

Lindsay has equipped us with a map for a nice recovery ride through the forests with promise of a damn tasty hot chocolate near the end if we find our way correctly.

Time to make use of this beast of a bed and punch out some Zzzzz's


Monday, August 16, 2010

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

This post should be consumed in conjunction with THIS

I left my home in Holland
Headed for the Antwerp Bay
Cos I've got a team to ride for
And there's a job to be done today

So I'm just ridin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the peleton roll away
Ooo, I'm ridin' on the dock of the bay
Waistin' time

Holy godfather in heaven. That was hectic. Yesterdays Antswerpse Havenpijl was one of the crazier bike races I have participated in to date.

I am not sure what the term 'Havenpijl' refers to but in 'Lovelock's Thesaurus' it is the foremost antonym for 'scenic' or 'beautiful'. Doesn't matter what Roget thinks, my mind is set. This place sucks.

Well, to be fair, we only saw the docks of Antwerp, we bypassed the real city so if anyone from the Antwerp tourist commission is reading please don't sue me for libel.

The course snaked along the docks with the appetising odours wafting from the buffet of chemical factories lining the course providing motivation for everyone to finish the race as soon as possible. To keep the riders nervous and twitchy were a number of obstacles; there were some cobbles and some nice gutters that I became well acquainted with. The rails of death, however, provided the most drama. A number of times when we would swing round a corner to be greeted with train lines in the road, running parallel with our path of travel.

I would come sweeping round these 90 bends, everyone leaned over, flying, bumping, shoving their way to the front before the inevitable split in the cross winds, and I would look up and see people on the exit of the turn changing direction and bunny hopping all over the place. My first reaction was to crap my dacks. My next reaction was to wonder what obstacle was coming up. In between reaction one and reaction two I would see a big nasty looking train line just ready to swallow my front wheel. Then reaction four was to wonder who decided to race us over this road? I mean, it's not even a road, it's just a path for effin big trucks and effin trains to get effin big containers off effin big ships to the effin big factories. And we are effin racing here? What are they, effin nuts?!?!

Luckily in between reactions two and four was an autonomous bunny hop that saved my hide. But then ten minutes later, another set of lines. Oh god. And the steak knives that completed the package got delivered in the form of MORE rail lines, running at a 45 degree angle across the road that we were heading down, with a tailwind, at 50k/h plus. So I was thinking that

Looks like nothings gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what the DS tells me to do
So I guess I'll miss the break away to,

Sittin' here not breakin my bones
And this hunger won't leave me along
It's 100 miles I rode
And I'm glad to leave this dock and go home,

Now, I was ridin' on the dock of the bay
The peleton has now rolled away
Oooo-wee, just ridin' on the dock of the bay
Waistin' time

Maybe reaction five should have been giving the race organisors a bollocking for such a ridiculous course.

I suppose (apart from apologising to Otis for butchering his song) I should be thankful that it was dry, and, no one crashed. In addition, the wind was really blowing so the racing was good and hard and certainly good prep for the 1.1 Race that we have tomorrow: GP Stad Zottegem.

I'll check back in with some more news as it comes to hand...


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Random thoughts brought on by caffeine

- I can't believe in my post a short while back detailing the return to form of one (I Hate) Shane Miller I forgot to neglect the one person truly responsible for his comeback. That person being his better and prettier half, Nurse Von. She's not really a nurse I am afraid but she manages to take care of the big injured baby aka GPlama whilst he is incapacitated and still bring home MASSIVE bags of 'off run' crunchy bars from consulting jobs at Cadbury just so Shane and I can sit in front of them while watching Tour of California on the Tele and see who can go the deepest into hypoglycaemia without eating any. The mental battle is intense. Then we part ways and devour 3 kilo of said crunchy bars in secrecy. Mmmm clement chocolate. Is there anything better?

-Similarly whenever I find myself bedridden its thanks to my very own private nurse (aka mum) that I survive. I am indeed lucky.

-I am also coming to the very real and terrifying conclusion that I am exactly like my father. I guess everyone has this horrifying discovery sometime around the post teen years. It really is the stuff of nightmares. Why am I exactly like my old man?

Well, he loves routine, and I love a good routine. Each day runs to a schedule, which must be abided by. Each week runs to a schedule. Today is saturday. Saturday is market day. Ooooo the joy of fresh fruit and vegetables makes me as giddy as a school girl. Fresh prosciutto? Well, that's the one thing my dad buys every week from the market. Every time he comes home with it I just roll my eyes..
"Prosciutto agaaaaiiiiin? Dad you're just sooooooo predictable"

But what do I find myself craving and hence purchasing, with the predictability of of a feel good Hugh Grant movie? You got it. The cured, salted, hung and dried quarter of a pig. Love it. Adore it. Whack it in a sandwich.

- Also I have just noticed that beach road has a new road safety crusader, introducing Pete Dowe
So this guy is a bayside resident fiercely opposed to the clearway trials that are being proposed in certain councils and approved in others. It is sad that you can have someone calling themselves a 'Road Safety Advocate' who is obviously biased against those two wheeled pests invading his beach haven. Now I'll freely admit, I'm heavily biased towards the cycling point of view. No Shit. So this modern day saint is getting on his high horse and spending his weekend mornings filming bunches on beach road. Capturing the anarchy on camera for the world see. Oh the atrocities! Oh the humanity! When will the injustice end?

This is the stuff I find laughable, see this description of one of his videos
'Difficulty stopping! Crossing lights are red for 15 seconds before a cyclist urgently yells "lights" to the rear of the large pack, yet the bunch still enters the Mentone Lifesaving Club crossing on red, where elderly Mentone pedestrian James Gould was struck and killed by a Hell Rider in a large, racing cyclist bunch on Sat. 26/8/06 @ 8.30AM'
Now watch the video here
Could he be any more incorrect? He has just proved how a large bunch of cyclists can safely ride the roads with proper communication, ie calling out 'lights'.

The thing is, there is plenty of dodgy bunch riding on beach road. But Pete, if you're going to get up before 6am in the middle of winter, at least get something worthy of the hysteria you are trying to whip up!

Here is another video. All I can see is some nice cycling tips and TFM kit and a bunch of cyclists having fun, but I guess I am biased...

It is seems a little ironic that in many of his videos he shows cars stuck behind large bunches or smaller groups overtaking other small groups. He highlights this behaviour as a reason for NOT enacting a clearway. Now, the clearway would help with the 'driver frustration' as it would be it easier for bunches to overtake and stay left, that seems pretty obvious. What is also obvious, however, is that on Pete's behalf, there should be no concession to the cyclists who are making life so horrible down by the bay. No, road safety is not being advocated here, it is mere petty 'not in my backward' pig headed stupidity.

Anyway, rant over! Ride time...


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Someone murdered a black cat

This is the bad luck story of the century. Cue, junior mens road world time trial championship...

Whilst in Europe I have been following Dave Sanders facebook updates about the latest crop of juniors racing for the national team all over Europe. These guys have been dominating so it was needless to say expectations were high coming into the world championship. This was Davo's update after the TT

World Jnr road TT .
D.Parker fastest splits. Then punctures. Changed bikes.
J.McCarthy Even faster splits and leading on the road.
Then is knocked off his bike by a motor bike marshal in the way on a corner.
(excuse me!!)
Both got on with it and finished 4th & 5th. @ 5 secs off a medal and 30 secs off the win.
Proud of them both.
"That's life"
We have the best athletes.
Bring on the road race!! (Sunday)

Wow, that is just terrible luck! Fingers crossed all goes ahead without a hitch for the road race. Just goes to prove when you look at Cyclingnews and can only get results they must be consumed with grains of salt, every result has context!


Friday, August 6, 2010

An Ode to the Lama

The following is something I have been meaning to write for a while now. See I have this mate, this quiet achiever, who has been kicking arse of late. But it hasn’t been all shits and giggles for this guy. The past couple of years for him have been riddled with even more crashes than me (!!!). So let’s begin…

I am talking of my arch TT rival, Shane Miller.

I first met Shane a few years ago at the local winter criterium. We both raced B grade. He won. I then found out he had only started racing in D grade two weeks ago, he won that, jumped to C, and won that. The week following his B grade win, of course, he won A grade. From bottom to top in 4 weeks, and amongst Hawthorn Cycling Club the “I Hate Shane Miller (IHSM)” club was founded.

Our rivalry flourished as we both discovered the website The next year or two of our respecting careers involved chasing down hill climb records and trying to continually best each other.  Our commitment to vertical ascension victories led us many places, the best of those being an IGA in Montrose in the Dandenongs We had been hailed on and rained on for the past 3 hours and were both frozen to death. Shane’s brilliant solution? Buy new socks. Yep, a 4 pack of socks, on went some new, dry socks and the old ones into the bin. Then we had another pit stop later on at the Black Kettle CafĂ© whereby pancakes and a 2nd sock change gave us the motivation to get home. This was only topped by a Mt Donna Buang climb where we were greeted by snow for the last 2 kilometres. IT WAS COLD. Yeaouch.

Fast forward to 2009 where we faced off at one of Blackburn CC’s Boulevard TT’s. Being both ‘Boulie’ locals and knowing each corner so well we could ride it blindfolded we were both backing ourselves to rip the course apart. Rip it we did. What I was not expecting, however, was that the prick would beat me! By two seconds! Here you have the VIS scholarship holder getting beaten by a full time IT professional. Crap. What can I say, maybe he should search for a new employer, I hear Riis is making moves ;-)

As we have both climbed and time trialled against each other, we have both sought to outdo each other in terms of injuries inflicted. I think I got the ball rolling by being knocked cold after hitting a dog in Tasmania, Shane upped the ante with a broken collarbone at a northern combine race, I followed suit with a collarbone at a Sandown crit. Not to be outdone Shane did his other collarbone at the Tour of Bright. Believing I was still the far superior between us I thought why not break my pelvis once at Gippsland, then again in China along with a bunch of other gnarly injuries. Well only a few months ago Shane saw my raise down in Geelong by demolising his pelvic bones in a way that would make many old grannies lower their heads in shame. Yes the osteoporotic cyclist award was firmly back in Shane’s hands.

So to give some context to these reminiscent ramblings, Shane has come back with some serious form. This crazy bugger does the majority of his training in his ‘Pain Cave’, I am talking about in his apartment on the wind trainer. I think he has a serious mental disease. Honestly, turn on a little fan and put on a Foo Fighters concert recording and he rides himself into the ground A true headcase. A true Time Trialist.

But boy does the hard work pay off, lately he’s been kicking some serious arse in a bunch of different time trials. He is putting out some insane power numbers too, but you’ll have to ask him to share if you want to know. 

So watch out for his name in some future TT results. He’ll be up there. And if he’s not, he’s probably just broken another bone, but don’t worry, he’ll be back on the results sheets in no time.

PS- Shane Miller should ride nationals TT at Buninyong. HE OWES IT TO HIS FANS!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Down Time

It's one of those things that floats round in rider folklore, passing through generations of cyclists who venture up to the big scary land of Qinghai Lake. People who come back fall into two categories, period.

Hypothesis 1
-A rider upon return from Qinghai will encounter some spectacular form and demolish their competition in any number of ways and enjoy the sweet and succulent fruits of success.

Hypothesis 2
-A rider upon return from Qinghai will be so deep in a hole that the only way to get out of it is to.....

Hypothesis 2 is still under investigation, no answer has yet been found. All cyclists facing hypothesis 2 are either in the dole queue at centrelink or wrapped in a straight jacket thinking that Tony Abbott may be our next Prime Minister (oh shit.)

Aside from snide left wing cheap shots or that I still can't believe that Australian Politics could get even more uninspiring I am currently experiencing some reduced training and racing in this time of 2 weeks AC (After China..) One interesting case study is Kiel Reijnen who rides for Jelly Belly. Apart from being a funny guy he's also a gun cyclist. He was telling me last year he got sick in Qinghai (heard this story before), but he got some tests before he left. Result?

Ebola virus. Result?

2 months on the couch. BUT, and a big but this is (we are talking Serena Williams here..), he came back strong strong strong. Not only did he win the tour of Thailand this year but he just capped it off with a GC podium at Qinghai, solid. So what I am saying is gimme a year and I'll be sweet, just put up with my complaints for the time being ;-)

I am hoping with some gooooood massage, some goooooood food, less saddle time and plenty of time watching 30 rock I can get my head screwed back on, my lungs plugged in, and my legs ready to work.

All analogies aside, I am feeling some serious motivation for our next big race: The Sparkassen Giro. A UCI 1.1 road race, in germany, in 2 days time. oh boy oh boy this ones gonna hurt. That good kind of hurt, that 'if I last just one minute longer maybe I'll internally combust but shit I'm gonna see what happens cos I'm not dropping that wheel in front' kinda hurt

 In far more hilarious but a touch disturbing news there has been a squatter staying in our building. This place we are in is a big ol' 3 story hostel with a big basement. This weirdo somehow got a key to the place, had his bags stashed in one room and would sneak into the basement and sleep (on a table) after all the lights went out, then nick off in the mornings before anyone was up. So now I know which bastard ate my 5 apples the other day. Damn you thieving squatter. Damn you. Not so smart was our sneaky intruder that he left ID with his baggage. So when we stumbled upon his assortment of 'crap' in one of the 50 single rooms in this building we suddenly joined the dots.

Back on the food front. I made pork spare ribs last night. It was great. That's it.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Head on over to

Cyclingtips for a big dose of toilet humour, promise it'll be good.