Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Aussie Aussie awards

Last night, being vrijdag, marked the annual galah Aussie cyclist of the Year awards, which were held this year at Darling Harbour Convention Centre, just a tad more interesting than the centre of the Dunc Gray Velodrome. It was truly a galah occasion, and it was like a who's who of Australian cycling, as we regularly remarked to each other.

The presenters were nearly all cyclists, and this was perhaps not the most inspired choice. After hearing Michael Ford and Ryan Bayley present a few awards, it became clear that good athletes don't necessarily make good public speakers. At our table, Mark Renshaw summed it up nicely, "We can't read, we can't write, but we can win bike races."

Nevertheless, there are quite a few articulate riders out there, such as Brad McGee, Stuey, Matt "You Can't Handle The Truth" White, Sara Carrigan, Oenone pronounced Eh-noh-nee Wood and Lindy Hou. And the suitably gormless Ryan Bayley's comment after he won the Aussie Cyclist of the Year was quite pithy: "Screw everyone who doubted us." Onya Ryan - tell it like it is!

Anthony Tan, Les Clarke, me, Kate Marley, John Stevenson and Gerard Knapp
©Lesleigh Russell

We managed to scrape up six of the eight Sydney-based Cyclingnews crew to occupy most of a table. Not bad going I reckon. Ash Hutchinson, the aforementioned Renshaw, John Stevenson's wife Lesleigh and Kate Marley's beau Nathan Rennie (top Aussie downhiller) rounded out the ten, and a good time was had by all. There was much grog consumed. I vowed early on in the evening to stick with beer, but the beer seemed to dry up and someone had advertently left an opened bottle of red wine in front of me. I looked on the label but couldn't see a year on it, so at least I could be assured that it wasn't past its use-by date. It's amazing how much wine you can drink with a shot glass.

Food-wise, it was a bit thin on the ground if you know what I mean. Three courses, all very small and round. We had smoked salmon with tiny round sliced potatoes, then round beef on a round potato cake, then a round sponge/chocolatey dessert type situation. Applying a bit of basic geometry to the meal, I believe that someone miscalculated the serving sizes. Especially for a bunch of cyclists. If they'd doubled the radius, the volume would have quadrupled and that might just have been enough. Oh well, at least there was round beer and round wine in round glasses.

I conclude that filling up the round holes in one's stomach with alcohol leads to a certain sensation whereby the room goes round and round. Especially when you close your eyes. And in the morning, it's more like, "Don't make any sudden movements or you're for it..." Round and round.

Parramatta Teams Race

The above wasn't the reason that I didn't race today at Heffron. Actually once I did get out to Centennial Park for a couple of hours, I felt really good for the first time this week. Nice day for it too.

But tomorrow is the famous Teams Race out at Parramatta Park, a major appointment for the Gallant Randwick Botany Lads who effectively have two teams of six in the 80 rider field. Not bad! My team consists of Jerzy Sowa, Pat Naughton, Shaun Higgerson, Chris Jenkins and Mark Robertson (and me). The goal is: DESTROY!! Or at least win some money. Hence, I want to be a bit fresher for it.

All going well, I should be dropping in to see the Josh/Anita/Daniel/? clan for afternoon tea and bikkies, 'cos they also live at Parramatta.

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