Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Land of Oz

Guess who's back, back again? etc.

I am now "home" in Australia for approx. three months in order to avoid about half of the Belgian winter. It's actually not that much warmer here at the moment, apart from a 30+ degree day earlier this week, but it is fairly dry.

The flight was somewhat different to last year. I did manage to get my allotted 3 hours sleep before setting off in the early hours of Wednesday morning to Gent Sint Pieters, bound for the airport. It's actually quite easy, as the train goes direct from Gent to the airport and it's only about 5 mins walk from my place. In 2002, I remember lugging all my gear to Gent Dampoort, which was 1-2 km from my other place, and the bike bag didn't work so I had to carry it. My shoulders were buggered for a week after that.

Even check-in was painless. I got there at 6:15am for my 7:45am flight, and had checked everything in by 6:25am. Oh well, that's one thing in favour of early morning flights. I could then take advantage of the duty free chocolate shop to stock up and spent a large sum of euros on the finest quality Belgian chocolate. Actually, it was probably only middle of the range stuff but don't let anyone know that because they might be getting some for Christmas.

Compared to the trip over in January, the journey home was painless. Everything was on time, the stopovers in Vienna and Kuala Lumpur were mercifully short and I slept a lot on the plane because there weren't too many good movies. The last one I saw was the best - it had Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno in it, playing escaped criminals. Gerard was a bit of a moron though, and almost drove Reno mad. There were many antics.

I was still pretty knackered when I got home on Thursday arvo/evening, and couldn't even stay awake to do the Tour presentation. Same story on Friday - it was really hard to stay awake in the afternoon, but I managed to keep going until 10pm so I'm sleeping at the right time, but just feeling out of it for most of the day.

I put the Ridley together and went for a short spin on Friday and decided to race at Heffron today. I wasn't expecting a lot, even though I was fresh. My legs felt like jelly - no power in them at all.

There were 15-20 starters and a few new faces so I could hide a bit in the first half. But after we chased down the fourth attack of Luis Trueba, I decided to have a go and hared off the front alone for a lap or two, heart rate going through the roof. I was joined by three others (Luis, Jerzy and Josh Marden) and thought we had a good thing going, but alas it wasn't to be and the bunch caught up.

It got really hard with about 5 to go but we only managed to get the bunch down to 10 or so. Luis attacked again and when we caught him I had another go with 2.5 to go. I was hoping I could get someone to go with me but no, they just let me dangle out there for a bit. With one lap to go the HR was 2 beats below max and it stayed there. Eventually after Hector Morales (Uru) finally did a turn, Luis pulled Matt Lucas and Jerzy up to me. I got on their wheels but Luis sat up with 500m to go and we were caught. Jerzy attacked at the top of the straight and won, while Hector got second and Josh was third.

The speed wasn't that high but I still averaged 179 bpm so I think I have a bit of catching up to do. Probably by next weekend I'll be a bit more back to normal, and in 2-3 weeks I should be going well. That's the plan.

Jeez what a boring race report that was. Still tired - sorry!

We have a new garage too, and that's a miracle. Plus the balcony is being replaced and everything is being painted. She's lookin' good Vern.

The other bit of news is that this blog has had 1000 page views since its creation in May, 2004. That's actually not very many at all. I think we would do that on Cyclingnews in 30 seconds during the Tour...

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