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.