Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, a new adventure, a new blog

No surprises if I say it was a year of highs - that once in a lifetime trip to France,

low, low, lows -
Sunday, 15th August to be precise.

Although THE Coach and I are not back on the bikes, there are plans for another overseas holiday adventure.  This time we'll swap cycling shorts and helmets for sturdy walking boots.

A new year, a new holiday to plan, so it's time to say farewell to cyclinginfrance and hello

Hope you'll join me there.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Feeling flat

 Over the past two weeks THE Coach has mentioned that I've seemed 'a bit flat' and I've had to agree.  He's perceptive; THE Coach.  After such a great holiday I've found it difficult to get back into the swing of things, especially riding in the city.  I need a project to work on - a holiday project.  So I've been spending evenings searching the internet looking for an answer to the crucial question -
"Where to next?"
All cycling suggestions welcome.
 A little cooler today so we went for a late ride to Silverwater.  It was beautiful cycling weather with many people out on their bikes around Homebush.  After cycling round the Armoury THE Coach cycled back to take some shots of the magnificent wattles in bloom.
I pedaled on without him.  Although I've not been for a ride for two weeks the legs were okay, but it's a shame my coordination was a bit off.  Signaling a left hand turn, my right hand braked sharply just as I hit one of those speed bumps and so I tipped right over the handle bars on to the road.  Yep, a fall without THE Coach nearby.  Luckily some kind drivers stopped and passed over tissues, while a very sweet little old lady donated some ice.  THE Coach arrived and could see that cycling home wasn't a possibility so pedaled off at high speed to get the car.
A brief detour to Concord hospital. Three stitches and a tetanus shot later and THE Coach kindly bundled me home for some TLC.
Did I say feeling flat? Well now I'd have to say feeling foolish, frumpy and flat.  The sooner I answer that holiday question the better!

Monday, July 26, 2010

"You're not in France now, Luv!" (WARNING long blogpost)

Yesterday was my first ride since we arrived  home last week.  THE Coach invited me to accompany him on his Sunday morning ride. Yes, I've graduated to the Parramatta ride.  It is 50 kms and has to be done as quickly as possible.  Well, those are THE Coach's rules and rules are mean't to be broken...
When I heard it we had only cycled for five minutes, up over the Gladesville bridge and down on to Victoria Road.  Hadn't heard one for at least a month - the unfriendly honk of a car horn.  In one sharp jolt I was reminded that cycling in Sydney is nothing like cycling in Paris...
Maddie, Harry and I on the velibs cycling Parisian style sans helmets!
Victoria Road is a long way from the quiet country roads of the Dordogne and Lot districts.
Somewhere along the road in the Dordogne or the Lot districts.
as I pedaled along yesterday, ignoring THE Coach's calls to 
"Catch up and draft in behind me!" memories of France kept drifting back. 

over the Parramatta River reminded me of our evening strolls along the Seine...
 or the many bridges we crisscrossed over the Dordogne, Vezere and Lot rivers. 
of the smokestacks in Silverwater seemed to strangely resemble the towers of villages and chateaus...
Manicured lawns
of Oatlands House tiggered memories of beautiful patchwork fields and shady verges...
As THE Coach kept beckoning to "catch his slip stream", my thoughts drifted back to
our peloton
where there was always someone keep me company at the back of the pack, up the long hill rides.

Somehow downtown Parramatta made me think of market day in Sarlat and the 
beautiful bastide towns.  
Ahhhhh memories, I'm sure that's what slowed me down yesterday, or perhaps it was my memories of the Hills.
As we pulled into the usual Wareemba cafe a fleeting thought crossed my mind -
Should I order a
baguette, croissant, glace OR be tempted by the plat du jour...
And then reality struck - raisin toast -
"You're not in France now, Luv!" was the vibe THE Coach sent me across the table.

It was a wonderful trip thanks to the great itinerary organised by Cyclomundo and decouverte-loisirs; the helpful tips from friends like Anne R, Catherine, Mary and Julieanne who shared their Dordogne highlights during our long planning phase, and most of all, thanks to all members of the Sparke-Porter-Glare Peloton who shared the joys of cycling together each day.  It was, for me, the trip of a lifetime, or perhaps the first of many...
A unique family Peloton
Fresh legs as we set out on the morning of our final ride -
Stephen, Paul, Monica, Jenny, Genevieve and Bill.
Final shot of the Peloton as we finished outside Hotel Terminus, Cahors.
Genevieve (my sister-in-law) described the roles adopted by the Peloton members in a recent email to her family:
"As the tour progressed the members tended to fall into their natural roles within the team:
Jenny - Captain and team instigator, chief croissant and glace assessor
Stephen - coach, forward scout, mechanic, sommeiller
William - hill coach, navigator, mechanic
Genevieve - translator, assistant chief croissant and baguette assessor
Monica - physio/trainer, lunch-time restaurant spotter, assistant glace assessor
Paul - photographer, medico, mechanic and tour blogger
One comment that was made several times during the trip was how many attributes Stephen shared with Colin. Especially his insatiable curiosity and bottomless reserves of energy."

Here's to the Peloton ...
to our next cycling adventure...
Cheers to THE Coach... it's not over yet and so the blog continues.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Au revoir Sydney

 An over due final post. 

My mission is complete. 
I started this blog more than six months ago to get me on my bike training for a cycling trip in France.  As you know dear readers, my training has been patchy, but the blog has kept me honest or was it THE Coach?

Anyway, whatever... my bag is packed, tickets and passports are ready and we fly out for Paris very soon.
Blogging has been surprisingly enjoyable, even addictive at times.
Perhaps the greatest surprise has been the amusing and encouraging comments you've offered. 
It has been fun, but now the real fun begins. 
Fingers crossed that I make it up the famous hills of the Dordogne. 

Merci beaucoup. 
Thanks Therese and Bruce for my final training ride last weekend.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Not just THE Coach

but also THE photographer. 

There have been lots of comments from blog readers about the blog photographs so I must finally acknowledge the talents of THE Coach.  Today, not only did he gently persuade me to do 8 of the Lilyfield hill inclines, but he also photographed me in the process.  THE Coach has a new phone with a camera so these shots were all taken with his latest gadget.  I've edited out some of the most unflattering behind shots, not wishing to lose any blog readers.

Not much riding yet again. The weather has improved but as we spent the long weekend in the very chilly Blue Mountains we didn't ride.  Only one ride this week - today 25kms with 8 of the Lilyfield hill climbs.  Really a bit of a worry...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You see so much more...

from a bike.

I would never have noticed the two men crouched under the pine trees beside the bay, if I hadn't been riding past.  Just seeing them with their simple implements and buckets took me back to the damp, chilly, pine forests in Canberra where mushrooming was our reward after days of wet weather.   I can't remember what we did with the mushrooms, but I do recall the excitement of finding little outcrops that we would gently cut to add to an overflowing bucket.  As I rode past the foragers yesterday, I wondered just what delicious mushroom dish would appear on a Leichhardt dinner plate in the evening.

Following the training instructions from Phillip last weekend I've focused on a 'strict' regime of riding the Lilyfield hill.  THE Coach was impressed. YES! Can you believe it?  He actually congratulated me for riding up and down the Lilyfield hill two days in a row.  Of course, he couldn't leave it there but had to remind me that if I can do 6 hill climbs each day, then this week I should try 8.  We'll see... who knows what else I might notice on the ride?
 Doesn't look much, but can you see the people pushing up the hill!
Homeward bound hill - yes it is flat round here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Solo puddling
Once again not much to report this week due to the wet weather.  THE Coach and his cycling mate, Phillip, rode to Parramatta very early this morning.  I peaked out from under the covers to see THE Coach wearing legwarmers and sleeves, so that was enough of a weather warning to keep me snuggled under the bed-covers reading the Sunday papers for another hour. 

A solo ride this morning through lots of puddles.  At least I managed to stay on my bike to complete the Drummoyne, Five Dock, Canada Bay loop - only 24kms with a slow average speed of 17kms.  I kept any eye out for hills, not that there are many round here, and made a few quick detours to test my knees.  It's now less than a month till we head off to the hills of the Dordogne.  Yikes!