Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Since I'm home sick today and am mooching around feeling sorry for myself, I thought now would be a good time to write about my upcoming trip o.s. I haven't really spoken about it before, mostly because I've been a bit distracted by life's curveballs lately.

I've been invited to join the national team for 2 months of racing from May - July in Europe. We're going all over- Belgium, Holland, France, Spain and Italy, finishing with the women's giro. I'm super excited. It looks like a lot of the races will be hilly, and the giro is being talked up as the toughest route they've had in years- 10 days of fun and pain.

It's a big honour to be invited and I'm really looking forward to racing with the girls. I have been meaning to take a crash course in italian before I go but it's going to be hard to fit in. (On that note, if anyone has some handy italian phrases they'd like to throw my way, please do so... Particularly 'Hey! Get out of my way!, 'Left!' 'Stop!'... Well, you get the idea.)

Between now and then I have a lot of fun work to do! Mostly hills, and getting used to backing up day after day for the longer tours. The Baw Baw Classic next weekend should be good prep for the cols in Europe. Add to the mix some TE spring classics (any session called The Crucifixion must be good for you, right?) and an in-form Andy, and you have yourself some quality training.

I should also mention at this point my very considerate employers, Freehills, who are bending over backwards to accommodate my bike riding shenanigans. Lawyer-athletes, if you are looking for a supportive work environment, get onto these guys.

I'll be blogging over there and rumour has it that Lisa's Mum may make a guest appearance too, if she can be spared from the SBS commentary booth.

Ok, got to go. I've got to show this lurgy who's boss!

I hate being sick

I am home sick today after waking up last night feeling like a crushed bug. Hopefully I can shake it quickly but it's bad timing to be sick at Easter! I had lots of riding in the mountains planned and none of it involved lying in bed with a head/chest cold.

In the meantime, I have spent this morning trying to get my mobile blogging to work and this is a test to see whether it has worked. I've included a picture of the view from my office at work- it's pretty cool and strange as it is I'm wishing I was there instead of moping around at hope.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Goodbye Jimi

Photo courtesy

Yesterday Andy and I got the news that James Williamson had died unexpectedly in South Africa. Jimi had been racing in the Cape Epic (a 10 day mtb stage race) and just didn't wake up yesterday morning.

Both of us will really miss Jimi. He was an awesome guy and rarely without a smile on his face. For an elite athlete he was also one of the nicest, humblest and brightest guys you could hope to meet.

It's a huge shock and I still can't really believe it. My thoughts are with his partner Niki Fisher and the rest of his family.

Jimi, you were taken too soon. I'll really treasure that smash-fest in the Dandenongs a few weeks ago when you taught us all how to climb. Rest in peace mate.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lisa's Mum talks wound management

Most followers of this blog will be familiar with Lisa's Mum through her insightful Tour de France commentary (a valuable, if unobstrusive member of the SBS commentary team). Mum has been enjoying the off-season and is extremely excited about an impending trip to Europe this year, as she finds her commentary noticably improves when she is able to attend races in person. In preparation for her trip, Mum has been brushing up on her first aid skills.

Now, let's get one thing straight here- Lisa's Mum is not a doctor. However, as she is a Mum she is automatically also a nurse and is therefore more than qualified to talk about the treatment of injuries and abrasions. (Mum is also lecturing in Wound Management 101 at The University of West Glenelg, you can catch her for book signings afterwards or you can also sign up for her WEA courses, Crocheting For Beginners and Joining The Darning Revolution)

Mum has kindly taken time out from her busy schedule to impart some wisdom on first aid. So here it is, Lisa's Mum's guide to wound management:

  1. Make sure you are always equipped with a first aid kit when you go riding. Mum likes to pack some essentials, like betadine, saline scrubs, melolin and at least 3x10ft of gauze on her bike, generally in the panniers (under the reflective flag). It does make the bike a bit harder to ride but that is the price of preparedness. Mum also likes to pack zip ties to fix to the top of her helmet in the springtime because she finds them every effective in holding her marshmallows and cocktail frankfurts in place when out for a longer ride.

  2. Mum loves conversations with other people about dressings. She finds you can get to know a person intimately by their choice of dressing. For example, a person who favours putting second skin straight onto a raw graze (by day 2 the dressing is carrying enough fluid to breach water restrictions) is generally the sort of person who loved popping zits as a teenager and spends their evenings searching for ingrown hairs on their legs.

  3. Kissing a wound better has valuable anti-bacterial properties but not if the kisser is your Uncle Bill whose last run-in with a mouthwash was when he fell off the wagon in 1974.

  4. Make sure you tailor the dressing to suit the injury. Some dressings have stronger healing properties than others and are therefore better suited to more serious injuries. Mum calls this the Healing Zen Quotient. For example, Wiggles bandaids have a higher Healing Zen Quotient than Simpsons bandaids, but are lower than Mr Men. Dinosaur bandaids are ok but not as good as Barbie. If you get a Wiggles bandaid with the ORIGINAL blue Wiggle on it, you can practically cure cancer.

  5. Anxiety can slow the healing process. For example, wanting to punch someone in the head everytime you get asked, 'So, did you fall off your bike?' is not good for healing zen. Actually punching someone in the head, however, can definitely help, particularly if they are annoying.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

High country hi-jinx

Last weekend I went to the Scody High Country Challenge, a set of recreational rides and a few races, plus a food/wine festival, up in Mansfield.

I went to Mansfield because I wanted to know whether it was as everyone in Bright described - two-headed locals, terrible weather and tacks and diesel all over the road. And terrible wine. And only one big mountain.

At least they were right about the mountain.

The weekend was awesome - next year I'm going to get a crew together so that when I crash spectacularly at the crit again, I'll at least have some photographic evidence.

There were 3 or 4 different recreation ride options on Saturday, ranging from 185km to 40km, and a few more on Sunday. There was also graded crit racing on Sat evening, a series of music gigs and an mtb ‘Bike Buller’ festival on the top of Mt Buller with 3 or 4 mtb races. Plus a heap of cool little stalls set up in a market format in Mansfield’s high street, pedalling among other things 15min massages at genuine 1972 prices, the best $10 I spent all weekend.

There was a generous prize up for the KOM and QOM (fastest time up Mt Buller), with the catch being that you had to enter one of the recreational rides as well. So I lined up and got amongst it. I met some nice blokes on the ride out to Buller and lost count of the number of times I was asked whether I had ridden Around The Bay In A Day. The climb was pretty cool - it's not everyday you meet Rasmussen's Australian doppelganger on a hill (thanks for the ride Rosco)

I found out on the top that I had won the QOM (and later found out that I’d come 3rd in the men’s), but the presentations weren’t till 8pm so I hung around in Mansfield and got a late entry for the crit. It was a small field and Helen Kelly and I broke away pretty early on. Actually, to be fair, Helen attacked and I got on her wheel. We were fanging it trying to make sure the break stuck, and almost immediately my wheel lost traction on one of the corners and I had an awesome crash. I say awesome judging from the 'oohs' from the crowd at the pub. Perhaps they were being kind. I got a lap out, both me and bike were ok and I got to rejoin the break the next lap. We held the break for the rest of the crit, through 2 intermediate sprints (both had to go to video – Helen won the first and I got the second), then Helen got me in the final sprint. Clare Dallat came 3rd. Then straight to St John’s.

The weather was just terrible

Next... Lisa's Mum talks wound management (Special request from Angelo)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One lucky tart

Just thought I'd share this pic with you. Peta and Michael (Andy's sister and brother-in-law) invited me over for dinner during the week and they baked this awesome lemon tart with... a bike on the top! How cool is that?!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lisa's Mum looks back on NZ...*

It was the eve of Stage 5 when the policewoman walked into the hotel dining room. We were in Palmerston North, where the presence of the local constabulary at mealtimes is not an uncommon occurence. No one in the room looked up, except for Alex, who had thought the policewoman was actually one of the chefs delivering another tray of roast potatoes. The policewoman cleared her throat.
'We are looking,' she said, slowly, 'for the driver of the NTID vehicle that was in the race convoy today.'
The NTID team looked up (except for Alex, who was still disappointed about the potatoes). No one said anything.
'It was a red van,' the policewoman added, helpfully.
'The NTID team squirmed a little and looked at each other. We knew if we just kept quiet, the unwritten code of cycling teams would prevail, and no one would rat on a fellow team. And although we were all wearing our team shirts with the NTID insignia proudly embroidered on the chest, we were fairly confident that the policewoman couldn't read. And I was starting to get an inkling of why Ben and Paul had suddenly announced that they were getting dinner elsewhere that night.

Unfortunately, the unwritten code of cycling teams, it appeared, did not extend to certain mechanics who proudly got up and announced to the room that they knew who the NTID managers were and where they lived. Great. Now the game was up. Someone on the table let out a giggle. The policewoman turned to our table and asked if that was us. Roy, clearly a skilled negotiator, kept it neutral by stating only 'That may or may not be our team.' Her brilliance clearly baffled the policewoman, who threatened to pull our entire team from the race if she didn't find those dastardedly NTID managers. The lawyer in the team, clearly fearing that she was in danger of having to get her own bidons the next day, capitulated and managed to negotiate a plea of leniency with the policewoman following a chance discovery of a mutual love of miniature dachshunds.

And so the NTID team lived to ride Stage 5, with only a very loose threat of jail hanging over Paul. And so a valuable lesson was learned: Never hire a bright red van in a sea of white vans and sedans, because when everyone is breaking the law it is the red one that will be caught.

Luckily, following their brush with the law, the team rallied and arranged some cunning disguises for Ben and Paul.
We're not sure who these guys are, but they look honest

Lisa's Mum truly enjoyed her experience in NZ. She enjoyed the novelty of NZ Olympic television coverage (who would have thought you could spend 8 hrs a day following the progress of a lone skeleton bobsledder?); she enjoyed having her washing done for her by two handsome men in their early 30s (Mum is a bit of a cougar); but most of all she enjoyed hanging with the NTID crew who are a top bunch of chicks. She did not like the sausage surprise dinner so much, but you cannot have everything Mum.

The team celebrating the release of Ben and Paul from custody 

The brilliance of a long tour like the Tour of NZ is that you get to know your teammates quite well. For example, Mum learned that Bec is pretty amazing at organising ad-hoc birthday celebrations. Most people would baulk at the idea of finding a cake, candles, presents and willing accomplices in the hotel kitchen staff, but not Bec. Mum also learned that Bron and Alex can be kept quite easily amused by You Tube videos of Charlie the Unicorn and dancing badgers. (Incidentally, Mum has a wicked picture of Bron's ass post-crash that she was dying to put up here, but she thought she had better ask Bron first.) Mum was privileged to be kept informed of Laura's daily bowel movements, and extremely disappointed that she missed Roy's fashion parade. But mostly, she was disappointed to be sitting next to Lisa on the team bus when she was writing her blog, because it was not very exciting.

The final GC results for the tour are up at Mum reckons they should have given all the crit people a bunch time instead of pulling them because it's rubbish to bust a lung riding a 6 stage tour and then be given a DNF just because of a tough crit on the final stage. And she appreciates that it is a big job to run a tour and is not criticising the organisers; she is just saying that her NTID teammates were awesome and deserve a finishing place. Fair call, Mum.

Thanks to Roy for her cool pics.

*Lisa's real Mum would like to mention that she is not responsible for any posts written by Lisa's Mum. I think everyone already knew that, but just in case any members of the Kiwi police force are reading this, Mum holds you in the highest esteem and would never imply that you guys can't read.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stage 7- the flight back

Ok, there's not really a stage 7 and the racing is over but the tour continues. This stage takes place in sydney airport, with a kermesse-style arrangement through passport control, customs (try getting 50 cyclists+bikes+wheels through quarantine at once) and finally through domestic transfer. Our team plan hit a snag when Sarah '1.2kgs' Roy abandoned the stage in Sydney (to be fair, she does live there). As designated team leader i demanded protection from the rest of my team but they refused to line up their baggage trollies to shield me from the hoards of punters in domestic transfer. Bron 'Jessica Biel's stunt double' Ryan and Alex 'No.11 special fried rice' Carle heard the bell go for last 3 laps and hightailed it to Canberra. It was then the team plan went out the window and it was every man for himself. I missed my connection to Melbourne and turned out every crit-riding, bunch bitch trick in the book to skip the queue but succeeded only in getting angry. Unlike the previous few days, there was no one here to hand me bidons in the queue or to scream encouragement about how great i was queuing. My phone rang. It was ben, 10 people behind me but quickly losing the will to live. Oh great. If our team manager goes down, what hope is there for us?

Bec 'Imma! Imma!' Halliday was last seen boarding a flight to Perth. I suspect she will arrive before I get to the end of this queue. As for Laura 'What does white chocolate gelati taste like?' Luxford, i just hope she made it out of here alive.

To make matters worse, i have just realised that it has been 8 DAYS since my last coffee. And i'm still in Sydney airport. The only way is up.