Monday, November 9, 2015

Where's Wally?

Or more to the point, where's Mike been?  It's been a little while since my last post, life got a little busy, but rest assured there has been plenty going on in the Israel household and if you know me at all, you'd have realised that I don't do "chill" all that often.


I went to Vietnam and built a house for a poor family with 12 of the best people I could ever wish to meet including my youngest brother who is the ROCK of our family.  Vietnam is a place you must visit, in fact if I had the slightest ability with learning a language I reckon I would move there.  The people we met and interacted with a quite simply amazing.  After the build, my brother had 4 days cycling in the mountains up near SaPa.  Unforgettable.  Some good friends of mine donated money to the building cause too.  Here is what you donation went to.

And here are a couple of favourite shots from cycling


So next up was ....a 7 hour ultramarathon MTB at Picton.  It had been about 2 years since I had ridden more than 4 hours and wanted to see where my endurance fitness was at.  The aim was to just finish.  I found out my race craft had dwindled somewhat when I forgot to check the Stans in my tyres, yes it had been that long since I had raced, the front tyre Stans had completely disappeared and it deflated in the first 2 minutes.  Thankfully Team Quantum came to the rescue and threw me a spare wheel.  I spent the next 4 hours finding a balance between chasing the field and not going too hard and spent the last 3 hours grovelling in the heat after not drinking enough.  Oh yeah, nutrition, I forgot how to do that too!  Well some grace was given and I still held onto 3rd place so that was a bonus :)


A good fun cycling event, and I cant resist the invitation from good mate and JML Racing team owner the Flying Scotsman to join him in a ride over the Harbour Bridge, we had a great bunch and the highlight was riding along side Robbie McEwen.  The course was made to measure for an old MTBer like me and I had to laugh when I asked Robbie what he thought of the course at around 60km in and he replies with a wry grin "It's pretty ... technical!" Well it was another long day in the saddle.


I was certainly getting a taste back for long rides and another one on the bucket list had been Fitz's so I saddled up with Velo2073 mate Martin, Graeme and a few others to give this a crack.  Again I didnt quite get the nutrition right and crawled up to Corin Forest, and re-discovered water really is quite useful when you swallow it.  Dave O'Connell also crashed our little bunch and smashed the whole ride with only a 39x25, while I was rocking a 34x28.  #strongman

And in the midst of all that we have renovated a bathroom, rescued a greyhound and Tommy finished his HSC.  (oh yeah I I did a little woodwork and repaired my deck coz I just wasnt already busy enough coping with a new demanding job)  My neighbours just look at me with an odd mixture of incredulation and concern.


Finally it was time to join the Mile High Club, no not that mile high club, I mean the club you join when you take on and finish the 100 Mile Highland Fling.  This has been a ride that has captured my imagination since I first met Mark Fenner probably 5-6 years ago.  I'd done the 100km Fling and suffered terribly, when next thing you know, Mark crosses the finish line after winning the 100 Mile and looking fresh as a daisy.  From that moment I swore one day I would give it a crack, and in the words of another 100 Mile winner Ed McDonald "It is a cracker of a ride!"  But let me warn you, that right hand turn out of timing to head out for a 2nd Shimano lap takes massive willpower.  Every synapse of your brain and body is screaming "TURN LEFT", but the mind makes a decision and you turn right, you think to yourself "holy cow what did I just do?" and then you pedal like crazy to get as far away as you can before you see sense and turn around.....and it feels like you are the last cyclist on earth.
I'm not sure how I did it and I went in with the main aim of breaking 9 hours and just a tiny hope that a top 5 finish might be possible.  Well, the day just went by like clockwork, the heart, legs and bike never missed a beat and I smiled all the way to the finish in 8:42 and 5th place, it was just one of those days you dream of as a cyclist.

A friend commented on Facebook that "I'm back". Well life continues to throw a few curve balls and cycling may still have to take a back seat from time to time but I'm never far away getting on board 2 wheels and just going for a pedal....maybe a very long pedal.  Thanks everyone for your love and support.

Keep Riding


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