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.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tour of NZ report is coming!!

Sorry for the delay guys - I am in the process of writing up a report on Tour of NZ and will put it up in the next few days. I'm speaking to a group at Wesley College tomorrow for International Women's Day and I'm busy preparing for it. It is coming - I promise!

In the meantime, in the spirit of NZ and all things Middle Earth, here's a photo of Frodo looking like Marianne Vos.

Ride Happy