Thursday, August 18, 2011

New post on Ride Happy: Tour of Geelong

Just letting you know that there is a new post on the new Ride Happy site ( - I'm trying to use that one rather than this one as I can do more fun things with a site. So if you haven't bookmarked it, GET IN!
Thanks guys for following - and hope you enjoy the new site even more.

Ride Happy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lisa's Mum does Cadel's PR

Hi guys - new post up on - Following the success of the 'Yell for Cadel' campaign, Lisa's Mum goes through Cadel's lesser-known PR campaigns. Enjoy.

On a personal note, my rehab is progressing and I'm hoping to be back racing in a couple of weeks. Fingers and toes crossed and double-crossed!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lisa's Mum presents: How to survive a conversation with a Tour tragic

Hi guys - new post up here about How to Survive a Conversation with a Tour Tragic.

Check out the crazy antics of a French media car in stage 9 - causing one of the most unnecessary crashes I've seen in a long time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Carly Hibberd tragically killed in Italy

I've just woken up to this horrible news. Some days I hate cycling. There's a bit more on the main Ride Happy page:

Rest in peace mate.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New bike setup, Le Tour time and Aussies at the Giro Donne

It's been a big week. The highlight for me was waking up on Sunday to discover that Aussie Shara Gillow was leading the Giro Donne (women's Giro d'Italia) with Sharon Laws in 2nd. Both of these chicks are awesome riders, physiological freaks and hard workers, and it's great to see their hard work paying off. Very well deserved. Today they are in 4th and 5th GC with Marianne Vos back to her winning ways (ok, if an Aussie could lose to anyone, it'd be Vos. I'm ok with that.) There is a lot of the Giro to go though so anything can happen... and to see Shara and Sharon in such good form is a great sign for their GC prospects.

Second big event was the Tour de France kicking off on Saturday. What a cracking start. I think everyone (myself included) thought it'd be a big yawn with Contador dominating everything, but the 2 crashes in stage 1 put paid to that. Contador is now almost 2 minutes down after stage 2's TTT and he will have to pull something incredible out of the bag to claw that back. Anything's possible now in the Tour and that's what makes it so exciting. Unfortunately I picked Contador on my TdF tipping team and it looks like I'm doomed!

Third big event (well, for me, anyway) was flying to Adelaide to get a bike fit done with Brian Hayes at AIS track. It was awesome to go home, even if only for 20 hours! and Brian has made some changes to my bike setup which I am HOPING will eliminate my hip pain. Things went well on a bunch ride on Saturday with TE which was encouraging. It is early days yet and I should know over the next couple of weeks how my body is responding to the new position.

Phew! Lots of words. Sorry guys. More pictures and fun things on - including Lisa's Mum's long-awaited commentary on the Tour de France!

Ride Happy

Monday, June 27, 2011

More pictures from Adelaide

Hi guys - there are some more pictures up on (my new site) from people's childhood photo albums in Adelaide, courtesy of local site Adelaide Cyclists. They really brought a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy them too.
Ride Happy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Adelaide's first bikes

I've just discovered the site It's awesome. On their forum today are a heap of photos sent in by readers showing them with their first bike - their pride and joy. I've put a few of my favourite pics up on, and you can find the rest at Adelaide Cyclists here.
Does anyone have others to add?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brrr! Winter is here

I went up to the mountains this weekend... Not for the faint hearted, as you can see from the frost my bike collected.
Actually my hip wasn't too happy so I didn't get much bike time but did manage to fit in a couple of xc skis and a run. Unlike 2009, which I spent being very inactive with an ITB injury, my hip injury is restricting my cycling but lets me do other things. So now is the time for cross training. Frustrating but not as much as if I weren't able to do anything.

Hope you all enjoyed your long weekend! Ride happy

Friday, June 10, 2011

New! What Would Cipo Do: Disowning your son over poor bike taste

Check out the new Ride Happy site for a new post today on What Would Cipo Do. Those allergic to recumbents should be advised to keep their epi-pen or inhaler handy.

And don't forget to bookmark for future posts. For those who love their iPhones, Ride Happy is now mobile compatible! I love technology.

Monday, June 6, 2011

New letter to Lisa's Mum: Sickness and the Office Douchebag

New post up on the new Ride Happy website folks - today Lisa's Mum shares a letter she has received from a fan. Check it out.
Don't forget to bookmark the new Ride Happy site at too!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Family time

Quick pic of my sister and I at Adelaide's Central Market a few weeks ago when I was home. Cathy is my big sister and has always looked out for me. This included letting me play with her and her friends, and sharing her twisties at the Magic Cave when I spilt mine on the floor. Unfortunately because she was always smaller than me growing up, I would get the blame when we were fighting because she would cry first. Now though we play nicely and she still looks out for me.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lisa's Mum presents: What Would Cipo Do

Hi all - just letting you know that Lisa's Mum has migrated to the new Ride Happy site and today presents her new column, What Would Cipo Do? She is getting restless... please write to her so she can stop rearranging the furniture and ironing underwear.

Ride happy

Friday, May 27, 2011

Something to make you smile

Happy Friday! I saw this yesterday on my way home and it made me laugh so hard I had to share it. Hope you enjoy it too (whether you are a child of the 80s or not!).

Don't forget to check out - the new home of Ride Happy.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Ride Happy website!

Hold onto your hats, readers - Ride Happy is evolving and now has a new website! The place to be is Be a cool kid and save it to your Favourites like Lisa's Mum would do. 
This blog will still be around for a while but all the good stuff will be on the website. A HUGE thanks to Niki Fisher who designed Ride Happy's awesome new logo!

Ride happy

You know it's time to hit the gym when... can see the bottom of your coffee cup.

Last night I went to Pilates for the first time in a few weeks. I've been in Adelaide and I've found it hard to find to find anywhere as good as Perfect Pilates in Melbourne. So it was good to be back on the mat again.

1 June marks the start of winter and the start of Get Buff month. Get Buff month (also known as Get Ripped Month, Get Massive Month or Fatty Begone Month) was established in 2008 with an old training partner of mine as we were both recovering from various injuries and happily coincided with the discovery of a $4 gym in our neighborhood. It was a good way to bring some fresh motivation into a pretty cold and wet Winter.

Now, each Winter, athletes around the world celebrate Get Buff Month with the purchase of new bike lights and winter gloves. The month starts with the historic 'Unveiling of the Winter Doona' and 'Festival of the Higher Heating Bills'. Ceremonial robes (generally made of gortex) and waterproof booties are worn and cement smoothies are enjoyed by all to harden up and get out there.

I've seen a few people already preparing for Get Buff Month... If you aren't one of them yet, get on board! There's no better way to feel better in the winter.

Ok, enough talk from me. I'm off to hot the VIS gym. Either I'm getting old, or just more in tune with my body, but I'm really finding a benefit from doing more strength work off the bike.

Ride happy

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's almost the weekend!

Just a very quick post to say have a great weekend, whatever you are up to. Stay safe on the roads, be predictable and smooth in the bunch, and remember to smile at your barista in the cafe afterwards!

As it's Friday, it's only fitting to end the week with a joke. Not very cycling-related, I know, but it made me laugh.

The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all of the background checks, interviews, and testing were done there were three finalists... Two men and a woman.
For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.
"We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what the circumstances.
In side of this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Kill Her!!!"
The man said, "You can't be serious. I could never shoot my wife."
The agent said, "Then you're not the right man for this job."
The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes. Then the man came out
with tears in his eyes." I tried, but I can't kill my wife."
The agent said, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."
Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions to kill her husband.
She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one shot after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls.
After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman.
She wiped the sweat from her brow, and said, "This gun is loaded with blanks. I had to beat him to death with the chair."

Ride happy

Read more:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cyclists beware! New baggage restrictions for Virgin Australia

I am sitting in Melbourne Airport on my way to Adelaide, fuming about my excess baggage charge. Virgin Blue have just changed their rules about carrying sporting equipment. Your total baggage allowance is now 23kg, including bike. Previously having a bike entitled you to 28kg. Excess baggage is $15/kg and no matter how much you bat your eyelids you will be slugged!

I'm heading over to Adelaide to see my family, do some training with my old mates at SASI, and do a race. Packing the bare minimum (which is still a fair bit of stuff when you do all of that) took me way over and I'm now $90 lighter- almost more than my airfare.

If you booked your ticket before 27 April you are entitled to 28kg, although you need to argue that at checkin as they don't volunteer it.

It's sad to see Virgin going the way of other airlines as they used to be the cyclist-friendly airline. No more.

Ride happy (without excess luggage!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Famous Five and the Canberra Tour

Sometimes when I get tired all I want to do is look at pictures, not words. Also, my sister and I are in the midst of writing a children's book and I need to practise my children's writing skills. So I enlisted the help of Greg Long from Greg Long Photography, and my VIS teammate Sarah Roy's 'Memoroys', to tell the story of the Famous Five (aka the Jayco-VIS girls Kendelle, Roy, Jo, Lisa and their coach Donna)  at the Canberra Tour:

The Famous Five were fresh from the Summer hols and ready for a jolly good time taking on smugglers and eating lashings of energy gels in Canberra.

(c) Greg Long Photography 
'I don't think we'll find any smugglers out here in Stromlo Forest Park,' mumured Jo doubtfully.

'Woof!' said Timmy.

'What was that?' asked Donna.

'I think it was one of the Bundaberg Sugar girls,' said Kendelle. 'They're trying to distract us so they can attack and win the tour. I know, we'll attack first in the opening crit and take them by surprise.'

(c) Greg Long Photography

Bother!' said Lisa. 'Those girls were onto us from the beginning. Now we'll have to spend the next 45 minutes chewing stem and bleeding from our eyeballs. That is a jolly old bore.'

'Woof!' said Timmy.

'Who keeps making that noise?' said Donna

(c) Greg Long Photography

'My, that was a smashing ride,' said Roy. 'And Kendelle came 3rd! Let's celebrate with tea and lemonade and then go sit in an ice bath for 14 minutes. Hurrah!'
(c) Memoroys
The next day, the Famous Five went back to Stromlo and did a 114km road race in the morning followed by a 20km time trial in the afternoon.

(c) Greg Long photography
'My goodness,' said Lisa. 'I feel like somebody has taken to my legs with a hammer and smashed them into a million pieces. But Jojo came 3rd and is looking jolly good for tomorrow. Let's all sit in another ice bath while Donna washes our smelly kit.'

'Jolly good idea!' agreed the Famous Five. 'You're a brick, Donna!'

That night Lisa had nightmares about her time trial.
(c) Greg Long photography
On Sunday the Famous Five rode out to Stromlo again in the fog (ideal conditions for smugglers), and raced the 84km final stage road race.
The Famous Five did their best on the final stage, but they could not peg back the time needed to move Jojo up on GC - although Kendelle put on a jolly good show in the road race and earned the team's Lazarus Award for her rise from the dead.

'What a smashing weekend! said Roy. Let's all go home and eat lashings of steak sandwiches on the way.'

'Jolly good idea!' chimed the Famous Five. 'Let's go sit in the car and eat salty treats while Donna drives for 8 hours. You're a brick, Donna!'

'Woof!' said Timmy.

Next: the Famous Five ride to Lorne!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lisa's Mum wraps up the Tour of Canberra

Lisa's Mum loves Canberra because she enjoys driving around in circles and believes buying fireworks for domestic use is a right, not a privilege. So it was with great delight that she travelled with us to Canberra. It took us a while to wedge her onto the roof racks of Supercoach Donna's station wagon but that is the price you pay for being a hitch-hiker.
Mum was very impressed with the calibre of ladies racing the tour. Miffy Galloway in particular stomped the house down. And Grace Sulzberger proved that while she might not be called Wes or Bernie, she can bring home the yellow jersey just as well as either of them.
But mostly, Lisa's Mum thought the VIS ladies team was a tight and supercool bunch, with an awesomeness rating exceeded only by the awesomeness of Roy's mum's date and banana loaf. Jo timetrialled like cancellara, Kendelle turned into the super domestique from hell with a stomping stage 4, and Roy proved that lacking a time trial bike was no obstacle to riding a kicker time trial (11th in a national series race, anyone?). And Lisa introduced everyone to the joys of a steak sandwich with the lot, so everyone went home happy. Mum found the AIS ice baths a little cold for her liking, but you cannot have everything Mum.

And now, as Supercoach drives us home along the Hume, it has begun to rain. We must be nearing Melbourne...

Friday, April 29, 2011

ToC stage 1

The VIS strategy for stage 1's 50min crit was to burn enough energy that we could make a decent assault on the AIS dining hall at dinner tonight. With rumors circulating that apple crumble might be on offer, the team knew it was all or nothing. And so we attacked. And attacked. Even a local Canberran magpie in the spring would have been proud of our relentless aggression.

It appears that many other teams also had some kind of dining hall-themed plan and the race was particularly aggressive. Big up to Loren Rowney who won the final kick ahead of Bec Wiseak and VIS' own pocket rocket Kendelle Hodges.

Now for the real stage 1- dinner and an all you can eat buffet! Now the real attacks start...

Ride Happy

Stage 1: Breakfast

As I said before, it's all about the AIS dining hall. Canberra Tour will be conducted in and around sessions in the dining hall. It will be tough but we are tour riders and built for eating endurance.

Today's stage (breakfast) began with an attack on the bircher muesli. The bananas and berries counter-attacked to no avail. Just when the field began to falter, a late surge by the cinnamon bagel took out the stage.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bunking Down In Canberra

> Maybe it was the 8-hour drive. Maybe it was the caffeine withdrawal headache. Maybe it was the questionable combination of compression socks, Birkenstocks and shorts that I chose this morning. Whatever it was, there was the undeniable feeling that a race was approaching. And so it was that team VIS arrived in Canberra, ready for Canberra Tour tomorrow. (That's Roy and Kendall in the pic below, getting too excited to sleep)
> I love tour racing. I also love the AIS dining hall. The two are a match made in heaven and go together better than Roy and food photographs. You will hear further updates from me on both. (Maybe, if the racing part of our trip isn't going so well, you'll hear more about the dining hall.)
> First stage is a 50min crit tomorrow afternoon at Stromlo. In Ride Happy tradition I'll try not to dwell on the racing part too long. After all, we have a dining hall visit to prepare for.
> Ride Happy

Bunking Down In Canberra

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heading to Canberra

Wasn't Easter a cracker!! Andy is back in Australia, the weather gods smiled on us and my body held up for some great training around Bright, in north-east Vic. It was so good to be back riding pain-free and on the way to building some semblance of form. We mixed up some good mountain riding around Mt Buffalo and Mt Beauty with a couple of mtbs in Bright and Beechworth... and a lot of coffee drinking. Paradise. We are also planning what to build on our block of land at Porepunkah (yes Stack we're building a bedroom and barista station just for you!).

On Thursday I head to Canberra for Canberra Tour, the second national series race of the year. It will be a good tour - the organisers have made it even harder than last year. Team VIS will have all 4 riders (me, Jo, Kendelle and Roy) and Supercoach Donna at the helm. Looking forward to it.

Ride Happy

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blog comment of the week: Mildred from Eketahuna

Mildred sharpening her pencil

Some of you Ride Happy followers out there will be aware that you can leave comments at the end of these blog posts. What you may not be aware of is that these comments get emailed to me and it makes my day
to open my inbox to a comment or two from readers.

I just got the following comment, which was instantly catapaulted to #1 on the All-Comers Record for Most Intriguing Ride Happy Comment. It was in response to a post I wrote in January 2010. I've reproduced it below because it deserves a wider audience. I then googled 'Whole Smoked Chicken Elite Cycling'... and sure enough my post was there. For her efforts, Mildred from Eketahuna wins an albino unicorn dressed in diamonds. If you have a comment, Lisa's Mum would love to hear from you.* 

Dear Lisa's Mum 
Gosh, well I must say, old Anonymous there, he's a hard act to follow...clearly hangs on your every word!! Anyway, I realise that if one wishes to comment on a blog post, it is customary to do so within a less than geological timeframe, however I must beg to be excused for my lack of timeliness, having only just stumbled on this post (as a result of Googling "Whole Smoked Chicken Elite Cycling"). Being a mid-race-whole-smoked-chicken-snacker from way back, I would like to share my experiences with yourself.
I may often be found hurtling along with a headless chicken on a solo training ride, or winging it at the beaky end of the peloton in a race. So remarkable is the performance enhancement enjoyed by those of us who have discovered this potent sports supplement that, rumour has it, WADA is considering classing it as a banned substance!! (although my informant assures me that rich chicken casserole, spicy chicken kebabs, smoked chicken flavoured cheese fondue and other popular chicken-based mid-race power snacks are not at risk of prohibition). 
May I respectfully add that I find your quibble concerning alleged portability difficulties with whole chickens somewhat 'nit-picking'. Myself, I find that a stylish wire handlebar basket serves splendidly as a receptacle for a whole size 22 chicken or even a small turkey. Moreover, a chicken so carried is located perfectly for munching on in motion without abandoning the aerodynamic posture. Once the preserve of Miss Marple types tootling around quaint English villages, nowadays, a wire handlebar basket is a 'must-have' accessory for the serious competitive cyclist.
Inevitably, as effective a weapon as the 'WSC' has one or two trifling drawbacks: for example, the delectable aroma emanating from one's laden handlebar basket can attract the unwanted attentions of fauna such as vulchers, wolves, dingos and bears (subject to location) and one's chicken may even be the target of theft (total or partial) by passing cyclists!! However such annoyances are simply obviated by investing in a deluxe wire basket featuring a hinged, padlocked lid.
Best regards
Mildred from Eketahuna

*While I think of it, if your name is Anonymous and you recently left me hate mail because you didn't like the tale of Ali Baba and the 40 Triathletes, Lisa's Mum would especially love to hear from you because it's been just soooo long. And triathlon season is over so you must have lots more time now to write hate mail. 

Mersey Valley Tour - NRS race #1

OK guys, this isn't much I know but a report is coming! And maybe some photos if I can find them. Mersey Valley Tour was last weekend and the VIS girls gave it a nudge. I was 3rd on GC and teammate Jo Hogan 4th. Both of us were pretty sick and under the weather so very happy with the result. Teamies Sarah Roy and Kendelle Hodges did awesome domestique work, and I owe Roy a beer for making her sick too. Sorry Roy. I will let you in on a little secret... I almost didn't start stage 3 on Sunday because I was feeling so terrible, but Davo put a pack of throat lozenges on the finish line so I had to complete the race to get to them. In the end it worked out well. I got in a breakaway that stuck (the best kind of breakaway) and we got enough of a gap to propel me to 3rd on GC. Final results: 1st: Tarryn Heather (the woman to beat right now!); 2nd: Grace Sulzberger (also QOM); 3rd: moi.

If you happen to find half a lung on the side of the road in north-west Tassie (more specifically at the base of the final climb on stage 2) please return to owner, one L.Jacobs.

And if you see a llama on the main street of Sheffield, DON'T TAKE A PHOTO unless you want to pay for it. I have nothing against animanl cruelty but I've a feeling it doesn't get paid an appropriate wage for posing for photos with tourists.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Allez Andy!

Usually, I save Ride Happy for riding stories, but I thought the adventure-seekers amongst you would want to hear about this. My boyfriend, the lovely Andy (aka Mocky) has just finished the Arctic Circle Race in Greenland. The ACR is billed as the toughest cross-country ski race in the world. It's 180km of skiing around the Arctic Circle over 3 days in minus 30deg. The marshalls ride alongside the race with rifles to stop polar bears from attacking you; they give you seal blubber (that's right, seal fat) at feed stations; and at the end of the day you have to CAMP IN THE SNOW. And it's so cold that your snot freezes when you sneeze...

Bless you
It is a race for Hard Men and Hard Women only (like those on the posters in the Mountain Gym in Mt Beauty). Needless to say, I opted to cheer him on from the warmth of Australia. Andy is a pretty handy skier and used to spend his summers racing the world cup circuit in Europe. Back home we were very excited to hear not only that he had survived, but he had come 5th overall behind some eskimos and overall winner Ilya Chernousov from Russia. Allez Andy! The race organisers thought that Andy was from Austria, not Australia, so I emailed them to tell them. To make the email worth reading for them, I also told them that in Australia he was known as The Flying Kangaroo and had recently finished 3rd in Celebrity Masterchef behind Crocodile Dundee and Bindi Irwin. They didn't mention that in the race report though.

Just your everyday commute in Greenland

 Andy and his Dad get home on Friday. It's been 8 weeks since he's been home and he flies in a couple of hours before my flight leaves for Mersey Valley Tour in Tassie, hurrah! We'll be able to find out how seal blubber compares to airport coffee. 

Andy in a warmer climate

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ask Lisa's Mum

Lisa's Mum is still basking in the afterglow of her fashion-inspired posts on Ride Happy. You may remember her pearls of wisdom on Jersey selection for the recreational cyclist and wardrobe tips for the urban fixie rider. In fact, it is fair to say that Lisa's Mum is held in high regard on the cycling catwalks of Milan. It was no surprise, therefore, when she received the following appeal for advice from a fan:

Dear Lisa's Mum
I'm looking for something which will set me apart from the cycling crowd. I am quite fond of my bottom but it doesn't quite look big enough in anything that I wear. I also like fluoro yellow and reflective strips. What can you suggest?
Fashion Conscious, South Yarra VIC

Dear Fashion Conscious
I have just the thing for you. Behold - the Reflective Bum Flap!

 This thing of beauty arrived in a package only last week from my Italian handservant Guido. As well as being my handservant and being fluent in 5 languages, Guido runs Le Peleton Chic, a boutique cyclery for the fashion conscious. Every so often, Guido comes across an item that is so exquisite, and so delicate, that to release it to the general public would be to commit a crime almost as serious as wearing undies under your knicks. These items he packs lovingly in Belgian lace and sends to me across the seas by albino carrier pigeon. Sometimes these packages can take a while to arrive (depending on how tired the pigeon is), but they are always exquisite. This was one of those times.
You will be pleased to know that when tested on a fleet of greyhounds, the Reflective Bum Flap made even the skinniest one look like it was packing pies. I am also told that J.Lo has ordered 5 of them to complement her Grammy-award-winning booty.
Fashion Conscious, consider your troubled times over.
With love,
Lisa's Mum

Thanks to Llama for the heads up on the delightful bum flap. And apologies to anyone working at Avanti who may have been offended by this post or blinded by the bum flap while working in the factory. If you have found a crime against fashion, Lisa's Mum would love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

World Pav-Eating Championship (incorporating the 2011 UCI Tour of NZ)

You may recall that the Lower Hutt (nr Wellington, NZ) recently hosted the 2011 UCI World Pavlova Eating Championships at the end of the Tour of NZ. Despite a late surge from Japan, the championships were won by a B. Farley, Esq of Australia. Mr Farley moonlights as the VIS bicycle mechanic but it's clear that pav eating is his passion. Ride Happy has secured some footage of Round 5 of the 2011 WPEC, in which Mr Farley suffered a rare defeat by unseeded challenger Madamoiselle S.Roy of Geelong (formerly Sydney). Both did the VIS proud in the championships and are commended on the speed, grace and sheer volume of pavlova consumption.

Any potential sponsors wishing to support either Mr Farley or Mlle Roy can find them in the dessert section of their local supermarket. Thanks to Roy for providing the video.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MTB for sale

If anyone out there is looking for a nice hardtail mountain bike, I'm selling mine. It's a great bike and hasn't been used much - I never seem to get the time! First in, best dressed - drop me an email at
Frame: B1 (Euro Dutch brand) - 17" (I'm 177cm tall) - triple butted aluminium (ie it won't crack on you like carbon can...)
Groupset: Full Shimano XTR
Wheels: Bling-bling Mavic race wheelset with tubeless Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres
Forks: Skareb
Where's my carbon fix? FSA carbon cranks and handlebars
Price: $1750. Or, if you're a nice person, let's talk.

Ride happy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

*NOW WITH PHOTOS* Oceania champs

Thanks to Jarrod Partridge @ for the photos
I'm afraid I don't have much to write about the Oceania champs, other than that they were a pretty painful reminder of how frustrating the injury management process is. I worked hard for VIS teammate Bridie O'Donnell (as did the rest of the Jayco-VIS crew) and she came 2nd, but I spent the next day packed in ice and not able to ride much. C'est la vie.
L-R: Sarah Roy, Bridie O'Donnell, Laura Luxford, me

The 'O-shees' were held in Shepparton, VIC, which is of course the home of the SPC Ardmona canning factory. Knowing how fond athletes are of living on baked beans, the organisers thoughtfully selected a host city that would satisfy our need for both racing and purchasing discounted bulk foodstuffs. I will not tell you how much I spent on beans; suffice to say it exceeded my coffee budget for the month and it's probably best you avoid standing downwind from me for the next year or so. My excitement at visiting the SPC factory was matched only by my gratitude toward the barista who saved the day with a caffeine hit moments before. My first aid recollection is rusty, but I'm pretty sure the 'C' in St John's DRABC stands for Coffee. It was hard to say who was the biggest hero that day - Shara Gillow for doing the double (now 2011 Oceania RR & TT champion!), the barista, or the servo attendant on the way home who provided both steamed AND fried dim sims. Let's call it a three-way tie.

Best of luck to all the guys and gals who are jetting off to Europe for the first world cup. Allez!! For me, this week promises to be filled with gym, physio, massage and pilates reformer machines. I'm going to nail this bastard.

Ride Happy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blog #5 of the Blog-A-Day Challenge: The Carbon Fibre Tax

The real reason behind Labor's carbon tax

From Ride Happy's political reporter in Canberra:
Confusion reigned in Canberra yesterday as the government was forced to clarify their positon on carbon emmisions trading. Until today, political analysts had believed that Labor's proposed carbon tax was the result of a compromise reached with the independent ministers who hold the balance of power in their minority government. However, today this presumption was quashed as Labor confirmed that a faulty press leak was responsible for the word 'fibre' to be left out of 'carbon fibre tax', and that in fact the new tax had nothing to do with climate change. Rather, the new 'carbon fibre tax' proposed by Cabinet was a direct slingshot at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and was intended to reduce the total number of overweight corporates gladding about on $20,000 carbon fibre bikes.

Under Labor's proposed carbon fibre tax, scenes like this will be a thing of the past

A Labour representative released the following statement:
'Australia is facing uncertain times and we now know that the trend toward the purchase of high-spec carbon fibre bikes is here to stay. A tax on carbon fibre will help preserve the future of our country by hitting those who use carbon fibre the most - the corporate suits with high disposable incomes. No more can we deny that carbon fibre tredleys are a reality.'

Spokesman for the Opposition told media that the proposed carbon fibre tax was yet another 'Big New Tax' by the Gillard government and would ultimately cost jobs and hurt the economy.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott confronted the media today wearing full lycra in defiance of the new carbon fibre tax.

'It's clearly because Julia Gillard doesn't like to see Tony Abbott in lycra,' Tony Abbott declared. 'If she looked as good as I do in spandex there's no way we would see this tax put forward.

'The carbon fibre tax will disrupt business by forcing decent, hardworking businessmen and women to pay over the odds for their right to ride Super Record, or else seek alternative frame materials. I'd even go so far as to say Julia Gillard is in cahoots with the titanium frame manufacturing industry.

'The Opposition accepts that carbon change is a reality. But the scientific basis for the change and how best to deal with it remains to be seen.'

 The Prime Minister could not be contacted for comment.

Ride Happy, Canberra.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blog #4 of the blog-a-day challenge: Something cycling-related (for a change)

CT, Megan and I living it up at Giro del Trentino last year
I ran into a friend a few weeks ago in NZ and she asked me what I was up to this year. She read my blog, but fairly pointed out that it wasn't very useful in telling her about my cycling career. I figure some of you may be thinking the same. I generally try to avoid writing about useful factual stuff like race results and stats, but it's time for a brief factoid post.

I've been managing injury since Sept 2010. Basically, it's a pelvic/hip problem which has been causing a series of related injuries in my left quad, hip and knee. It has been an immensely frustrating period but lately progress has been good and we are all optimistic that full recovery is not far away. I have been looked after very well by the VIS team of specialists, without whom I would have cracked. The injury meant that I had to miss nationals and am only just returning to racing now. It is a slow and frustrating process.

I chose not to pursue a team contract overseas for this year. Racing in Europe is great but so is my career, my life and relationships in Australia and the best combination for my general happiness is to do a bit of racing o/s without spending the whole year away. My plan had been to train up a storm over Summer, and get results at nationals, Tour of NZ and Oceanias that were good enough to go overseas with the national team for some cool races in 2011 - like what I did last year. Unfortunately, getting injured put paid to my master plan.
Racing in NZ... but not quite how I'd planned

Rehab has been pretty intense - at one stage I counted up 9 rehab-related appointments each week - and I was getting sick of not making progress. So I've taken some time out from my career as a lawyer to focus on getting back to full fitness and back overseas. The paycheck isn't quite the same but I can be a lawyer for a lot longer than I can be a cyclist, and taking some time out to re-evaluate my career direction will be good for my mental health. I've got a few projects I'd like to give some time to (including rebuilding Ride Happy into something bigger and better) and this is the perfect time to explore them. I'm doing some more writing and am just about to start working with Scody. I've also just been granted a scholarship to study post graduate Law and business strategy, thanks to a partnership between VIS and Open Universities.

So that's about it. Injury is part and parcel of being an elite athlete, and some of us have to deal with it more than we'd like to. I'm immensely lucky to have the support of the VIS and some awesome sponsors (they're listed on the right, but a special shout out to John Hill @ High5, Mel Lambourn @ St Mel and Marcus Speed @ Perfect Pilates - you guys rock). My coach, Donna Rae-Szalinski, is The Original Supercoach, and if anyone can get me back into form it's her. The lovely Andy continues to be lovely. All in all, I am very lucky.
It's hard to be grumpy when you're wearing a cool t-shirt
My race calendar for the next little while looks to be the national road series in Australia, and if I can show some lightning form, maybe some races overseas. At the end of the day, if I ride fast, I'll get overseas. If I don't, I won't. Pretty simple really.

Whew! That's enough factoids for today. Don't worry kids, the Ride Happy you know and love will be back to normal tomorrow!
Thumbs up

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What your roof rack says about you

Some people believe that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands. Others say you need to look into their eyes. Lisa's Mum looks no further than a person's roof rack. She has kindly agreed to share her wisdom here in exchange for a cucumber sandwich and a pot of earl grey. Mum's wisdom doesn't come cheap...

The Rear Rack
You like a challenge and think nothing of dangling 4 kids' bikes, a tricycle and Dad's road bike off the back of your car. After all, that's what occy straps are for. You can't put them all on the roof anyway-  that's where the roof box with Mum's nordic walking poles is. You enjoy watching the terrified faces of drivers behind you while you're doing 120kph on the Hume.
Favourite destination: Seaside holiday parks

The Roof Rack (whole bike)

You either own a race convoy vehicle, or are good at remembering not to drive into underground carparks/Macca's drive thru/your carport. Alternatively, you are just too lazy to take off your front wheel each time you drive somewhere. You're probably also quite a tall person, or drive a really short car.
You try to avoid: Driving in crosswinds or under low bridges
The Roof Rack (fork mount): You back yourself to remember to strap in that rear wheel buckle, despite that third coffee. You also back yourself to remember to put your front wheel in the car boot rather than leaving it by the side of the car and subsequently backing over it. Primary qualities: Self-belief and self-confidence.
 Handmade: You are a resourceful chap (or chapette) with a cheap bike and an even cheaper car. You think bike insurance is a waste of money and you re-use tea bags. Favourite tool: Welder.

Your extreme rebellious streak is matched only by your intermittent forgetfulness. As you lift your bike onto the roof of the car, you are sure that it weighed a lot less before the race. Must have been all that mud. It's hard to tell - you forgot your glasses. Now where's little Johnny?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 2 of the blog-a-day challenge: Your horoscope for today

Lisa's Mum does enjoy dressing up for the occasion
I normally don't go for horoscopes. When I run out of paper to read, and there is only the Wizard of ID comic strip, the Vice Regal and the horoscopes left, SOMETIMES I read my horoscope. Mostly, it's because I don't like to be pigeon-holed (as in, 'OMG you are, like, SO Virgo!'). Also, I am a bit bored with the star signs we have. I consulted Lisa's Mum about this and she has presented me with her alternative horoscope for the day, based on what you do, not when you're born. Well done Mum.

If you work in an office: Tolerance and stamina are the words for this week as the mail room loses your PBK order. Jupiter's moons align in your barista's orbit to create you the perfect espresso at morning tea time. That annoying colleague who always talks about himself accidentally staples himself to his desk and doesn't show up to annoy you at yours. Opportunity comes in the form of a public holiday and a 4-day week. Your lower back starts to hurt.

If you are a student/athlete/general bum: Today is a brilliant day! Why? Because you don't have to go to work, you ninny. Go hang out at a cafe and talk about how poor you are.

If you are a born optimist: Today is a brilliant day! Why? Because you've read The Secret and you know that if you believe it it will be true. Go visualise a parking space at your local shopping centre. Venus entering into the new moon brings with it the promise of untold riches as you find $2 lying on the ground.

If you are a born pessimist: Today is a brilliant day! Why? Because you haven't been hit by a bus... yet. Pluto's patterns this month indicate that trouble is on the horizon. Could be related to that email you got last week, promising you $1m from that nice bloke in Nigeria. You have a headache. Could be a tumour.

OK, that's all from me today folks. Ride happy... I hope all your horoscope dreams come true.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Warburton Cycle Fest Road Race - 26 March 2011

My computer felt a bit neglected during the great blogging drought of '11

Happy long weekend to those having one! Sorry for the blogging drought. Thanks for hanging in there. Here is my challenge for the week: a post each day this week. It'll be challenging (particularly as house is still sans internet) which makes it half the fun. Lisa's Mum letters required! Please send them through to me at

In the meantime, if you are in Victoria on the 26th of March (or would like a reason to be), get on board the Warburton Cycle Fest Road Race. A good mate of mine is organising it and I reckon he'll do a ripper job.

Patrick Warburton says, 'DO IT!'

Stats are: 113km for A & B grades, 98km for C grade, 83 km for Women & D grade and a Junior race of 53 km. Start time is 12 pm for A grade: 12:05pm for C grade: 12:10 for B grade: 12:15pm for Women’s & D grade. Juniors will start at 12:20 pm. You need a licence to race but you can get one on the day.
Registration/walk-up entries taken from: 11am, @ Wesburn Oval. Entries close: 11.45am. Race starts from Wesburn Park.

Ride happy

Friday, March 11, 2011

Out of action

Apologies guys for the lack of posting lately. My house is without Internet for the moment, and I'm still working out how to post by iPhone. I've got loads of good ideas for posts though so hang in there and I'll make it worth your while. Oceania champs next week- having some patella problems which is frustrating but not the end of the world. I hear the road race is pancake flat too. Oh to be a sprinter...

Ride happy this weekend folks

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tour of NZ: The Get-Fit-In-4-Days Plan

The camera-shy Jayco-VIS team (in some cultures, looking directly into the camera lens means death)

In my uni days (before I was a proper athlete), I had a special training program that was called the Get-Fit-In-4-Days Plan. It doesn't need much explanation. Most people have tried some variant of the GFI4D Plan at some stage in their lives (a popular cousin is the Get Fit In 1 Day Plan, which happens across Melbourne about a week before the Around The Bay In A Day).

This year, the Get-Fit-In-4-Days plan came back into my program in the form of the Tour of New Zealand, a UCI 2.2, 5-day tour which featured teams like HTC-Highroad and the Australian, Chinese, Japanese and NZ national teams. Last year, this was a breakthrough tour for me and I finished 5th on GC. This year, I was riding the tour as a 'test' after a very frustrating period of injury and rehab. Essentially, I was just hoping to make time cut each day. I had physio permission to ride 3 stages, then assess how my quad was going before deciding whether to start the following day.

Supercoach gives us a pep talk
All frivolity aside, this tour was an unbelievably hard way to get fit, and I owe a lot to the VIS who have supported me throughout my rehab and put no expectations or pressure on me for results. I also owe a big thanks to my teammates who were happy to have me along despite my being about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Oh, and sick. The Jayco-VIS team consisted of:
  • Jo 'GC Contender' Hogan
  • Vicki 'International Superstar Ring-In' Whitelaw
  • Kendelle 'Sprint Queen' Hodges
  • Lisa 'Team Leper' Jacobs
and was led by Donna 'Supercoach' Rae-Szalinski, with Bob 'The Builder' Farley on mechanics and Sarah 'Super Soignny' Roy as team soigneur. It was an awesome crew. Jo 'Excuse me' Hogan raced like a champ and finished 7th on GC; Vicki  'Wiki Wiki' Whitelaw played the ultimate super domestique and finished 8th; and Kendelle 'Get IN MAH SPACE' Hodges almost walked away with the sprint jersey and a stage win. Respekt. For my part, I sweated spinal fluid for 3 days then came good enough on the 5th stage to bear a passing resemblance to a cyclist.

This must have been taken before the stage because I'm still standing (R)

My physical preparation for the tour was pretty limited due to my rehab and made harder by getting sick right before the race. Hence the 'Team Leper' tag. I won't go into details, but it involved getting a double-whammy cold and stomach virus 4 days before we were due to fly out, lots of time in the foetal position, getting sick during the race* and a course of antibiotics after the tour finish (see, now I'm just boasting). Tours seldom go to plan, but I don't remember coming up against a more challenging set of circumstances while racing.  

The rest of the Jayco-VIS team, though, was AWESOME. The tour started well with with Jo 'Trolley Stealer' Hogan and Vicki 'Don't tell Dave I crashed' Whitelaw nabbing 4th and 5th in stage 1 and making Donna happy that she could be 4th car in the race convoy. Bob 'BAAAAAAA' Farley earned the attention of the commissaires for making like a prom queen and standing out the sun roof of the race car. Sarah 'Positive Circle' Roy rode ahead and beat the entire field to the finish line on the first day by an hour, only to be disqualified for starting an hour early and not being entered in the race. Then she did our washing and gave us all massages. All week. Kendelle put up with me being her roommate for the week and managed not to catch anything. And Donna bought me more salty treats than I could have dreamed of. It was awesome.

Jo was in awesome form and smashed everyone, including herself on stage 5

Vicki and Jo in action with Judith Arndt (yellow jersey and tour winner)

Play of the week goes to Bob 'Bob-san' Farley who at the end of the week comprehensively won the Oceania Pavlova Speed Eating Championships by several lengths against a quality field. He followed up his Oceania title with a win in the Pan-Asian Pavlova Eating marathon champs later that night against the entire Japanese cycling team.

Bob-san with his fans

Bob could not be contacted for comment but his spokesman stated that, 'Bob has been training for this his entire life. They said it couldn't be done, but I think Bob is living proof that you can eat more than half your bodyweight in meringue. If only the greater Wellington region hadn't run out of pavlova, we might have seen history that night.'

Finally, a very big shout out to Sarah 'Frickin YEAH' Roy for all her camera work. Stay tuned for some more of Roy's work when she launches her own site - I can't wait.
Happy birthday Roy!

*I won't tell you when but here's a hint: on stage 2 I came 62nd.