Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Handover at Centennial Park

Only two rides this week.  One on Monday with Therese and then a reward ride on Australia Day with THE Coach in Centennial Park, where we met Bill and Gen for the official handover of Melissa's bike.
It was a warm morning as we joined hundreds of cyclists ranging from the slick, speedy Italian looking blokes cycling in packs, to the elegant solo rider, leisurely pedaling along on her lovely bike with basket.
THE Coach had a plan. He led us five, or six times round the park, always leading from a distance in front well out of shouting distance so he couldn't hear our calls for a drink stop.  To earn our coffee we also had to climb the hills - yes, there are two hills in Centennial Park and we rode up them several times till THE Coach was satisfied that we were sweating.
Finally, we were allowed out of the park for a coffee and quick bite of delicious fruit toast at Monica's favourite Woollahra cafe.

Gen seemed to take a shine to Melissa's bike enjoying the raised flat handle bars and suspension seat, but not the toe clips.  Only one slight accident as we slowed to cross the road with Gen forgetting to step out of the clips, but a few grazes didn't faze her, as we were almost back to the cars.
All up it was about 30kms, probably about the distance we'll be riding in France on some of the shorter days.

Until next week...

Monday, January 25, 2010

We did but see him zooming by...

Hey, there goes that royal, bald guy!

Yes, on our way to Clovelly for a morning stroll along the new boardwalk, Anne and I were stopped by some very official motorcycle coppers in a mad dash to get William to the airport.  Such excitement.  What a start to a fantastic morning walk!

Delightful company, beautiful sunshine and a pod??? of dolphins leaping out of the surf to keep us entertained, as we enjoyed the cliff walk between Clovelly and Tamaramma.

To finish on a high, we stopped at Seasalt Cafe for the usual coffees and raisin toast.  Yes, this was the best walk of the week.

Thanks Anne and Trudy for a great walk with a real summer holiday feel.

I've also been riding during the week, not as much as THE Coach would like, but I have been on my bike.  Three rides since my last blog post. Two of the usual Bay rides, one with Therese where we finished the ride with a coffee and raisin toast at the Pavillion Cafe in Abbotsford.

Sadly Therese and I had our last morning ride of the holidays today.  I rode over to her place in Petersham, cycling slowly up a few hills along the way and then we rode down to the park at Blackwattle Bay.

Although the photos don't show it, this shared walk/cycle path was really too busy for much of a ride.  Very popular with walkers, bootcampers and the dreaded small dogs off leash.  We won't be back to ride there in a hurry.  All up it was a slow 21kms, taking an hour and a half.  Don't think THE Coach will be too impressed.

We finished up back in Annandale at the Gallery cafe for a coffee and raisin toast again.  After all the raisin toast I've been eating, I'm giving the 'Best raisin toast award' to the Trovatino cafe in Wareemba - medium sized slices of brown bread with sultanas and raisins lightly toasted, with butter on the side.  Perfect.

Very last ride of the holidays tomorrow.  It will be a reward ride with THE Coach, Bill and Gen as we head into Centennial Park again to hand over Melissa's bike.  On the French cycling front - we have a final itinerary from Bruno at Cyclomundo, so it's all speed ahead as we train for our own 'Tour de France"!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cross training

A week of walking rather than cycling.
Not quite sure why, but apart from one ride with Therese, I didn't get on my bike this week.  Woeful!  However, THE Coach has been pleased as I've been cross training.
Lots of walking around The Bay with Anne, Fi and Therese.  Lots of coffees too, as rewards for the walking.
Best walk of the week was on Sunday with Trudy.  We stayed at Trudy's lovely beach house at Werri Beach, after Chris' birthday lunch on Saturday at Sylvan Glen, in the Southern Highlands.
On Sunday, although the weather was cool and rainy, we decided to do the new coastal walk between Werri Beach and Kiama.

The walk was spectacular.  It clings to the coast line, and for much of the walk there are very few houses in sight, as the track meanders up and down hills, around pebbly coves and over some spectacular headlands. Near Kiama it dips down into Easts Beach and then up again, along a cliff where it almost feels as though you are walking through private backyards - perfect for admiring 1970s architecture up close.
All up we think it was a 10 kms walk.

Trudy and I were pretty 'had it' by the time we made it up a final set of stairs in the Kiama Beach caravan park, where we'd left her car.  Although just after 3pm, the Kiama pub was still serving steak sandwiches, so we lunched well before driving back to Werri Beach.  Even Stephen, was pleased that we didn't have to complete the return walk.

So, although THE Coach has tolerated my cross training, I'd best get back on my bike this week before he changes his mind and introduces yet another new rule.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Full of surprises

Surprise 1 
"We're riding over the Gladesville Bridge" was THE Coach's first direction on Sunday morning as we set out for a reward ride.  Luckily I remembered my New Year's resolution and so smiled sweetly - I'm sure that surprised him!

Reward ride, 10/01/10 -Views from the Gladesville Bridge
Surprise 2
After amazing myself by riding over the Gladesville Bridge, I discovered that we were riding to Silverwater, one of THE Coach's favourite training rides - "Plenty of little hills". Although it was a very hot morning, even at 7am, I was surprised to enjoy the ride along a shaded bike path beside the Parramatta River. 
Surprise 3
By the end of an hour or so of riding, I was feeling pretty warm and a bit dazed.  As we crossed the river at Silverwater all I could think of was sitting in the cool shade of a cafe and drinking a long glass of iced water.  You can imagine my surprise to see Gabe, our solicitor and the sister of a friend from up north, plastered larger than life on a roadside billboard.  

Surprise 4
I actually shocked THE Coach by suggesting that we ride on to Wareemba, a much cooler shady spot rather than stopping at The Armoury.
The biggest surprise of all
I was truly exhausted by the time we made it home, but confident I would be setting a new personal best ride. Imagine my surprise when the new kilometer gadget showed only 30kms, with an average speed of 15 kms.  
No surprise for THE Coach who reminded me that there's lots of room for improvement, especially on those hills. 

Luckily Rocky was waiting at home to lift my spirits. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

THE Coach changes THE Rules

Ride 4- 09/01/10 -MB by the Bay
Well the year has begun well with four rides this week and according to the new rules from THE Coach, that's enough for a reward ride!  So tomorrow, before we head north to the Central Coast, we'll do the Homebush ride, with a planned stop at The Cove for a quick bite to eat.  I'll let you know if it all goes according to plan.

Ride 1 04/01/10 - MB at the other Bay
Following THE Coach's new, more lenient rules, I'm going to try to post a photo for every ride, and very soon I'll also be able to post kms ridden, as well.  While my bike was in the Ashfield Bike Shop being serviced THE Coach surprised me by arranging to have a kilometre gadget (don't know what they're called) attached.  He loves his gadget thing, and is always telling me the ride statistics, so I'm sure I'll be able to produce some very boring blog entries with lots of weekly ride stats.

Ride 2 - 06/01/10 MB and the remnants of Christmas along the ride
Thanks to Melissa, and Melissa's Bike (MB) I was able to keep riding this week while my bike was being worked on. As you can see, MB is a lovely purplish, blue bike; very comfortable to ride and I'm sure Gen will enjoy the loan of MB in preparation for France.  Hope I've broken it in for you Gen.  Thanks again Melissa, for the loan.  You can see in the photos MB has been exploring the quiet roads, bike paths and foot paths of Canada Bay, and I'd have to say she performed perfectly out here in the Inner West.

Ride 3 - 08/01/10 She swims and she rides!
Best ride of the week was with Therese who accompanied me on my third ride of the week, just the usual ride and a most welcome Toby's coffee at Five Dock's Bowan Island Cafe.  Now that her seat is fixed she's threatening to keep riding.  Hope so, as riding with company is much more fun.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Questioning THE Coach is verboten!

First ride for the 2010 - an early morning ride to Centennial Park with THE Coach.  Only 25kms today, at a rather slow pace due to all the stopping and starting through the city, and the hills!

As we left home at 6.30am there wasn't much traffic, but being mostly law abidding cyclists we did stop at quite a few red lights and the odd escalator.  It was the perfect time to ride as there were very few cars, walkers, or riders in the city on this holiday weekend.

THE coach and I agreed that this approach to Centennial Park reminded us of Central Park in New York - perhaps one day we'll be able to follow Mon and Paul on a cycling tour of their new home town, but for now the goal is France.

We followed Catherine's advice and rode up one of the longish hills in Centennial Park.  Sadly THE Coach left me for dead on the hills.  It wasn't only THE Coach who zoomed ahead - I was passed by all other cyclists and all but one, of the hill running joggers.  Guess I need to work on those hills as Mary and Catherine reminded me over lunch last week.  "Lots of hills in the Dordogne" they echoed.

As this was a reward ride with THE Coach, I was able to indulge in some raisin toast with my coffee.  THE Coach emphasised that we had stopped in the very part of Woollahra where the debate about the best cafe for a coffee continues to be hotly contested between cyclists.  We chose Catherine's favourite stop and enjoyed a pleasant brew.  Most of Sydney seemed to be asleep, or out of town, so service was quick and we were back on the road in no time.

Once again a great ride thanks to THE Coach, who pedaled patiently ahead with only one terse word of warning, when I dared to ask if we were off route as we cycled passed his old haunt of Ridge Street, Surry Hills.  I won't question THE Coach again as his mysterious methods seem to be working. That's my New Year's resolution.