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!
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...
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
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
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.
Thanks Therese and Bruce for my final training ride last weekend.
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...
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!
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!
No cycling last weekend due to the chilly, wet weather. The hills will always be there so I'll have to do even more hill seeking next weekend. I have borrowed a gym membership for three weeks so I might??? try an indoor cycling session this week.
Don't think I'll be enjoying a reward ride with THE Coach in the near future.
Lake Burley Griffin was sparkling during our weekend in Canberra.
Perfect weather for cycling as the temperature hovered around 17 C during the middle of the day with no wind. The autumn leaves were still putting on a glorious show of colour against the clearest blue sky. The only downside for the whole weekend was experienced by THE Coach.
Yes, that's THE Coach changing not one, but two flat tyres, one per day. Two rides in Canberra - about 45kms over the weekend - not so far, especially not in comparison to those cycling bloggers from New York, but at least we found some hills, thanks to Tim.
We also found a gem of a cafe on the terrace of the National Library where we enjoyed lunch on Sunday. Thanks Sue and Tim for a great weekend of chatting, eating and cycling. We'll be back before you know it.
Made our final payment for the cycling trip and have received the train tickets from Paris to Souillac. There's no backing out now so I must keep hill seeking this week.
July 2010 "Lunch in Paris". The recipes look good but the story - completely forgetable and that's possibly erring on kindness.
June 2010 "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin. A touchingly beautiful story of Ellis Lacey, a young Irish girl sent to New York in the early 1950s to escape poverty and islolation. As she overcomes terrible homesickness, gradually develops confidence in herself and begins to fall in love she is called back to Ireland for a family emergency. A book I didn't want to end.
June 2010 "Feeling sorry for Celia" by Jaclyn Moriarty. Another YA novel but this time its a conventional story about friendship, growing up and first love. What else can I say...
May 2010 "Liar" by Justine Larbalestier. Although this is a novel for young adults I found it un-put-down-able. Hard to describe because it breaks so many writing conventions. The narrator is unreliable. She's a self confessed liar. Left me puzzling about the book for days. Highly recommended.
May 2010 "Saffy's angel" by Hilary McKay. A sweet story for young teenagers. Saffy never feels that she quite belongs and sure enough she discovers she's been adopted. Off to Italy she goes in search of her story.
May 2010 “Big fat Manifesto” by Susan Vaught. Jamie is a talented student writer who’s ambition is enter a prestigious university. Her aim is to write a prize winning feature article series about a controversial topic – teenage obesity. Jamie is the ideal investigative journalist – she is obese and her column “Fat girl” is personal perspective on the social injustices she faces as an overweight teenager. Although I found Jamie's voice clear and honest, I couldn't quite believe the romance that develops between Jamie and the handsome, dry witted editor of the student paper.
April 2010. "The behaviour of moths" by Poppy Adams. Too many moths for my liking. An atmospheric setting – a crumbling, gothic mansion where the reclusive Ginny lived alone since her parents died and her younger sister left home. So why does the vivacious Vivien return after 47 years? Like AS Byatt’s “The Children’s Book” the contextual information detracted from what could have been an intriguing tale of mystery and murder.
April 2010. "Things to make and mend" by Ruth Thomas. The cover and format of this little book entrapped me. Unfortunately it was a very light story about two women who fell out over a boy during their teenage years, but who meet up in later life. Forgetable - don't bother.
April 2010. "The boy in the dress" by David Walliams. Yes, he is also the writer and star of "Little Britain" and this short YA novel is infused with his humorous voice. Dennis discovers that life is not boring when the girl you fancy dresses you up in her frock and takes you to her French class as a visiting student. Of course the disguise doesn't last and life becomes very interesting for Denise/ Dennis.
March 2010. "The piper's son" by Melina Marchetta. YA novel by popular Australian author. Tom's family has fragmented after shocking death of his much loved Uncle in the London tube bombing. Although at times melodramatic, I enjoyed this modern family saga. Easy to visualise the characters and setting as it features the streets of Petersham and Leichhardt. Worth reading if you enjoyed "Looking for Ailbrandi".