Sunday, June 27, 2010

Canberra Weekend

Hmm where to begin, perhaps not the most inspiring start to a blog, but the last three days have been a blast, so settle back if you are the slightest bit interested, but if you only care only the bike bits, I will tag them with
Friday is where it all started an impromptu day off work as we had our new telly delivered (we just watched Avatar on it WOW!) and I had a few jobs around the house including moving the telephone line, chopping some wood and most importantly cleaning the bikes! I had been out every night this week to various event’s with the kids, and the 29er still hadn’t had a proper clean since the Husky.

I also got to thinking about life and words life momentum, tempo, lead and lag, it’s like a pendulum, or a spring that you wind up. I have been thinking about how you have to have balance in your life and when you take shortcuts you have to pay it back sooner or later. But it works the other way as well, when you give something like time or energy or even food to your body, you get it back down the track. For example this training thing I have been working on, you don’t feel any fitter and you don’t instantly reap a better performance, instead it’s like you are winding up a spring or pulling back the string on a cross bow. Then just at the right time you can release the spring and the results you are aiming for or the performance you dream off becomes a reality. It works for anything really, friendships, family, money... Some people call it karma, I don’t really know what it is and whether it has a place in the framework of my Christian beliefs, but I am trying to keep this in mind when it comes to life in general.
Anyway Friday was one of those days when it was time to pay a few things back and it felt great to get a few things sorted, then we were packed and off to Canberra, battling the Sydney traffic to get across the metropolis and onto the open road.

The weather seemed perfect but as we continued south to Canberra, the clouds looks more ominous until we could see lightning over Canberra and boy was it chucking it down. We arrived at the Wells’ and discussed the plan for the weekend starting with a road ride in the morning then out to Stromlo in the afternoon. It rained all night, but we were keen to ride and the radar looked clear so we rolled out in the dark around 6:15 and sure enough it rained steadily for the 20 odd k’s into town, and just to test our metal, I punctured. Anyway we still managed to get to the meeting point on time and it seemed the local crew knew something we didn’t, because counting Jase, Kev and I, it was a massive bunch of 6 riders! Anyway thankfully the rain was not too heavy, it wasn’t too cold and we could see it was clearing. The clouds swirling around Canberra were amazing to watch as we rounded Parliament House, waved to Julia in her plush new office and cried with KRudd as he sat out on the grass in the rain all on his lonesome. It was up Northbourne and then out towards Belconnen and the first steady rise into a block headwind took two casualties so we were down to 4. I jumped on the front and was happy just to spin at a steady pace into the wind and marvel at the scenery as the sun finally poked it’s head out above the cloud bank around 7:45. We looped out through Ginninderra and back through Gungahlin, strange names, but nice places, picked up one of our lost riders on our way back down Northbourne into the city and headed back out past Red Hill towards Stromlo. It was so cool to be finally riding these roads and getting a taste of the Canberra lifestyle. I checked the odometer and we had done around 70km’s hardly the stuff of an epic, but it had been a good ride and I hadn’t brought a great deal of fuel with me, when Kev uttered those word’s I’ll never forget “So do ya wanna do the Cotter loop?” Sounded harmless enough, a loop might add an extra 10km’s or so and get us close to the 100km mark by the time we got back, “Yeah sure why not” came the reply. It wasn’t until I saw the road sign “44km till next petrol in Tharwa” that began to wonder what I had let myself in for. It was also around that time that my sarcastic comment of “Bit hilly round here” while we spinning leisurely along one of the many flat perfectly sealed ACT boulevards came back to bite me. Kev explained how it was a 50km loop of undulating tarmac. Undulating? The first climb out of Cotter was a ripper, sort of a long straight never ending Bobbin Head and the hill repeats didn’t stop till reached home, but hey, this is what I came for. A ride to wind that spring a little tighter, it was just me and Kev now and as we took turns on the front, we stretched every sinew and rode as hard as could through this hilly region. No cars, full sun, a bit of a headwind and truly amazing scenery. We got home around 11 pretty tired and sore but not beat so we washed the bikes and refuelled the bodies ready for the afternoon session.

Our hosts had an appointment with the boxing class so Sarah and I headed out to Stromlo, back tracking our morning’s ride through Cotter. We had a terrific afternoon and the track was in great nick despite the copius rain that had fallen in the last 24 hours. Sarah had a ball on her recently acquired second hand Trek 6000 (with some trick components) and I was just happy to spin the 29er around gently stilling feeling the pinch from the morning’s effort. The descent down Skyline then the Luge was absolutely fantastic, plus Sarah beat her time for a lap and thoroughly enjoyed it.

From there it was straight to the nearest coffee shop then back to the NASA outpost at Tinbinbilla. Sarah and I are both fascinated by space travel and really enjoyed wandering around the visitor’s centre marvelling at the ingenuity of those engineers of the past and present.
Home for a quick shower then out to dinner to a lovely Italian restaurant in Kingston called La Dolce Vita and what else would famished cyclists consume but bread and pasta. Yum! Fully recommend this place.
Home again and time for some much needed sleep. Kev and I would roll out on the MTB’s the next morning around 8 and meet Sarah at Stromlo at 9. A lot sunnier this morning and a little cooler at just a couple of degrees above 0, but perfect for riding, and Kev put the hammer down straight out the drive. We took the scenic route following a few back tracks and fire roads. On one section traversing the ridge behind Chapman, we had a few close calls with dogs off leads, but things took a turn for the worse when a crazy young Weimaraner bolted out of the bush and veered straight in front of Kev. Kev locked up the brakes and narrowly avoided a nasty collision, then the hound bounded around to me and gave me a nice nip on the side of the calf “OUCH!” We stopped and the owner, a lovely older lady was mortified that her dog had done this, leaving me with a bloody leg and five nice teeth marks separated by a beautiful bruise. The dog knew he was in trouble and wouldn’t settle down, but we finally grabbed his collar (not before nipping me again on the back of the other leg!!!) and then followed them home to get some first aid. The lady and her son were most helpful in patching me up and before long we were on our way again. Funnily, beside the last road stretch before Stromlo, another dog owner had a crazy Border Collie running around off lead. I slowed fearing a repeat, then Kev rolled up beside me between me and the dog to shield me. It was a very funny moment and thankfully the dog paid us no attention.

Into Stromlo!!! Yay, Sarah was happy to go her own pace up the usual climb. We saw Jase and Gary and a few other race regulars, then Kev took me over some new trails that such as Wattle Happen, Blue Tongue and Heart Breaker. We beat Sarah to the top so we visited Slip Rock and the Pig Run before re-climbing back to the top on probably the steepest fire road I have ever ridden, just in time to meet Sarah with her legs burning after the effort of the climb, not bad darling. Sarah headed back down the Skyline as did Kev and I then back around to Heartbreaker for one more climb before we called it a weekend (/BIKE>.

By the end of this ride, the fuel tanks were empty again and call me crazy but the idea of a foot long Chicken Subway just wouldn’t go away. We followed that with another great coffee (Canberra’s coffee culture is alive and well) and then steeled ourselves for the long drive home.
Well it is getting late and I am beat and if you are still reading I’d be surprised but I better end it here before you never come back again! Thanks again to Kev and Kendra, it was fantastic spending some time with you guys and you looked after us so lovingly, oh and thanks heaps to Mum and Dad for minding the kids!!!

Till the next instalment, Keep Riding

1 comment:

Murray said...

Hey Mighty Mike. I really love that photo of you and Sarah sitting on the rock. You've got such a solid foundation with family and your Christian beliefs. Is it more than coincidence that you list your interests as husband and father before work and cycling?
You are an incredible inspiration - probably more so to people who don't know you. You really seem to have discovered how to handle that difficult triuverate of work/family/me. But you can only achieve that with great family support and the love of a great woman.
Anyway good on you Mike. Keep up the great work and don't worry about those detractors who might think that you are a hypocrite.
Btw, who came up with the handle Mighty Mike? I could suggest some others for you if you like? Although I do like Crash as well.
Anyway until next time