Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm Alive!

This is our house, living the Simple Life. No electricity means, no internet, no tv, no microwave, no LIGHT! Luckily we had gas heating, gas hot water and a gas stove. Even better, I had about 2kg of left over Spag Bol from the night before. My night basically consisted of polishing that off and going to bed. Oh, we had a few candles as well if you hadn't figured that out.

Why you ask? Because it appears the drought is trying to break. Lots of rain, lots of wind, lots of trees down. Basically lots of carnage meaning no electricity. Anyway, it seems to have cleared for the moment so I figured why not make use of that wind and go smash myself on the bike into it. As a bonus, I had something to look at.

Five minutes around the corner the carnage is apparent. Lots of water.

Another angle from the same point, the main road South out of Sale.

The caravan park didn't have much camping room left.

And these rooms at the Motel suddenly had a water frontage.

Two minutes the other direction from home, not much paddock left for the livestock.

And this fancy new mansion nearly went in the drink.

Lastly, I thought I'd show the lovely roads you get to train on around here, shielded from the elements by all the trees. Hey, I can dream, bring on the 'nongs.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Yes, today I started a ride in daylight...

...but it was slipping.

I could see some mountains...

...but then it was back to chasing that white glow and nothing more.

I can't say I'll miss road training in the dark, real dark without even a street light. Doesn't quite have the wow factor that night on the nobbies have. Daylight was a special treat however today's total ascent was 20m, a real treat would be some mountains. Tomorrow I search.

I shouldn't complain though, people have it a lot worse. Like Dan, who thought his bad karma for the year had run out when he was hit by a car a couple of months ago, only to fall off a cliff this week and break his foot and arm. Or like those people that are on your patient list one day, and then the next they're gone. You still check the big book of where patients go, but you already knew.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Home for some R+R

Yep, some roots + rocks, and a decent side dish of mud. Being the year of the 21st I was home this weekend for parties both Friday and Saturday. An added bonus, some time on the knobbies.

The best rides are always the ones that just happen, Saturday was one of those days. Not really sure of how long I was going to ride for, nor where I was going I rolled out on the trusty single speed. Spinning myself crazy along the road, I headed towards Ivanhoe.

That first bit of singletrack for 2 weeks, it's nothing special, but felt like the greatest trail on earth after being roadie only in Sale. Is there any better feeling than having both wheels squirming around in a muddy corner, drifting outwards but still feeling controlled.

With the smoothness of Armin van Buuren's 10 Years along for the ride on the iPod, it was like a virtual reality experience with a killer soundtrack. I'd come to a Y in the trail - option A was loop around to home, option B was get further from home - and someone just kept pressing B.

In the end I arrived home on the longer side of 3 hours, which is a damn fine sesh for single-speed, by yourself, riding just Yarra Trails. I felt as fresh as I'd left, if anything I was more rejuvenated, especially considering the lack of sleep the night before - who knows what time in the AM I'd arrived home. How good's MTBing? No wonder there's more people on the trails every time you ride.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No one complained?

So I'm sitting in lively Sale with both housemates home for the weekend and notice one of them has left an Alpha magazine on the table, May 2007 for those playing at home. I'm not one for magazines, hell, I haven't purchased even a MTB mag for a few years. But desperate times call for desperate measures and it didn't disappoint with golden journalism like this on page 88. A special on the growth of MTBing starts with;

'This year's National Mountain Bike Championships in Canberra were held in a grey-brown haze of powdery grit that mountain bike officialdom described as "unrelenting". Yet no one complained.'

No one complained? Which officialdom was that? I'm thinking the one that ends with 'PIS'. Ah well, it's getting MTBing into the mainstream and painted a rosy picture, so it ain't all bad.

Now to my first weekend away which just happens to be a long one. Lucky for me Warragul plays host to SYG over the Queen's Birthday Weekend. I hadn't been for 5 or 6 years so it was good to be back. Managed to meet up with a couple of friends from uni through which I managed to score dinner (oh so full) and a campsite.

I got roped into playing basketball and ended with a win-draw-loss of 2-1-1, the loss being a one pointer, which kept us out of the finals. I also managed to be quite sore the next day. Luckily I wasn't racing the MTB as not only was I not registered, but I didn't bring a bike. Well that's what I presumed.

5 to 8, I roll out of bed and stumble down to the Start/Finish line with the camera to take some piccies of the young Peacock called James no doubt winning the juniors. Start time is 8, I get down there and the older world champion Peacock called Craig puts a bike in my hands and says here, race. From then I sprinted back up the hill, changed out of jeans and four long sleeved layers (anyone heard that Warragul is cold?) into the first thing I grabbed that was suitable. Sprinted back down the hill to see them already at the top of the first climb. Not that bad? Well this race was 3 laps of a 3km course (mmm, dirt crits), so that meant I was already a third of a lap down.

I chased, on SPD pedals in runners, in t-shirt and shorts, with a helmet that was too small and a bike to match, another 5cm of seat post extension wouldn't have gone astray. Anyway, I ended up second in Open, coming somewhere in the area of 300m short. On the plus side I got to ride one of those fancy new Scott Sparks pictured a few posts back, not too shabby, wouldn't swap the Anthem for it, but pretty impressive none the less. Oh yeah, young James smashed the juniors.

The Morning Crew has a fast day tomorrow, and thanks to Juanita making the trip to SYG as well I've been reacquainted with my Vicious Power, sprint here I come. With most of them probably coming off the 3-day tour I figure tomorrow is as good a chance as any.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


So Scotty thinks the last post was disgusting, well Scotty, remember when you used to blow bubbles in your milkshake? Pretty simple but something very similar to that is termed 'bubble PEP' in the healthcare world and is quite effective when it comes to sputum.

First time using it on someone that actually needs it and it worked a treat. They always think it's a waste of time right up until they finish a set and that 'moist' cough turns into them finally getting rid of that thick, sticky sputum that has been sitting on their chest, not moving, stopping them breathing. PS. i'm quickly discovering sputum is a colourful thing, blue is the only rarity.

Moist and Sputum usually rate fairly high on the disgusto meter, am I right?

Anyway, to the important topics - riding. Today was the fast day for The Morning Crew. Same size bunch as yesterday, but only a couple of repeat offenders, the rest being those that are obviously the Sale big guns. We trundled out of town in a much more comfortable 9 degrees, the pace gradually working it's way up to what would have been the mid 40's along the unlit country back roads. They're a cautious bunch however so any deviation to a straight line had them all coasting and losing the wheel, with it taking a while to get back together and work up the pace again. Unfortunately I wasn't much better with only an LED flasher to light my way I couldn't see a thing with no street lights. My re-acquaintance with my Vicious Power is in the pipelines though and I'll have them for next week.

We meandered around the top of Sale, down the West side across the highway, past the Jail, a few more winding roads, we were nearly home, my legs were itchy and I was on the front pushing the pace. No one seemed to want to come through and then lots of downshifts and a mad scurry. It appears the twin 80 signs just before getting back to the highway is the sprint and I'd just buried myself leading everyone out. I guess mentioning it to me slipped their mind. Tuesday they do it all again though, and now I know.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Morning Crew

And so I'm 3 days in. The drive was uneventful, and work each day has been full, not exhausting but full. Plenty of experience is being had, finally hearing something other than normal breath sounds through the stethoscope. Quite a shock when you listen to someones lungs and hear gurgling, no wonder there's a tube sticking out of their rib cage draining fluid. Haven't even been thrown-up on yet, don't worry, my desk is wood and I didn't let go while writing that.

The digs are definitely acceptable. Who would have thought hospital/student housing would have a queen bed, a wardrobe big enough to stash everything including the bike, internet in every room, two tv's and even a dishwasher and washing machine. It will definitely help to make my rural life as comfortable as possible.

Now to the most important part - two bike shops in town, both of which are very helpful and today was the first day on the roadie thanks to being put in touch with The Morning Crew. Starting work at 8 this bunch is just about perfect, meeting 5 minutes from home to get in an hours ride means I'm home by 10 past 7, showered, dressed, fed and at work by 8.

Today was the slow day, a leisurely 32km/h ride, just enough to keep the legs warm during what was an average of 1 degree, yep 1! Same can't be said for the rest of the body. Tomorrow there'll be thermal liners under the thermal gloves, extra socks under the booties and both the thermal headband and skullcap. Might even add an extra layer to my thermals, jersey and jacket. Didn't even go sub0 today though, so there is colder around I know. There is one plus however, you don't need a drink bottle, just drink the frost that collects on your top lip. Now we just need some hills around to make use of the lower weight.

Fast day tomorrow, 38-39 clicks I'm told. Unfortunately I've already been singled out to put some pressure on up front on fast days so I'd better get the Vicious Power HID's sent down quick smart so I can actually see where I'm going. Quite dark in the country at 6am with no street lights, the LED flashers ain't gonna cut it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Are we there yet?

I wish, 3 hours drive to come. Gippsland Base Hospital aka Sale here I come. 15 weeks of fun, but quite difficult to plan that far ahead. Moral of the story, take lots.

A fair pile...

...fits quite nicely in the trusty SAAB...

...especially when the most important thing is added.

Don't know how often I'll be riding, don't know how often I'll be updating. I suppose that depends on how much fun Sale turns on. But there should be at least one update to show you all the digs that I'll be living in, and yes mum, to let you know I made it.