Monday, December 06, 2004

Hits from the Blog

Huzzah, 'tis the holidays (for me anyway). That means I can be a sloth for the next three weeks before work resumes at Xmas time. Oh wot larx. My social colander is already filling up with important macaroni, and it's now five-sevenths full for the next week. In non-food layman's terms, this means that I am going out for five days out of the next seven, which is probably a post-university record. It also looks like quite a lot of alcoholic beverages, so I will have to pace myself like I did at the Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards.

Strangely enough, on the Sunday morning following the Awards, I woke up feeling very, very ill. It was strange because I should have felt worse on Saturday morning, but didn't, so I have retrospectively attributed this to food poisoning of some sort. I could barely eat breakfast but still rode out to Parramatta in 38 degree heat for the Teams Race. Dearie me, what was I thinking? Two punctures later, I got to Parramatta Park in the midst of all the 5000 people finishing the Cycle Sydney, and proceeded to not look forward to the race. Luckily for me, the worthy burgers at NSWCF Inc. Pty. Ltd. cancelled the race because the local Sarge hadn't actually approved it. I did think there would be a problem racing on the circuit when there were hordes of people still trickling in (some literally) from the Cycle Sydney. But what would I know?

I did make it to Josh's place a bit earlier and collapsed on the floor for the duration of the afternoon, being rehydrated by Josh and Anita and occasionally trodden on by Daniel, who is a fine child of two and more than a half. Anita is expecting another in January and good luck to her, I say. Fortunately Josh gave me a lift home because I was in no condition to move very far. All I could eat all day were some cheese and crackers and a chocolate biscuit. Even drinking made me feel ill.

Monday was pretty much the same, so definitely no riding. Once I got into work I was a little better and I could eat solids again. I really have no idea what was wrong, but I felt as if someone had flattened me.
Tuesday and Wednesday were marginally better, despite it being 40 degrees in Sydney(!) Jeez Louise. I managed to ride but had a tendency to blow up after about an hour.

It took until Friday to feel back to normal again. This was fortunate because we had an important Family pre-Xmas engagement over at Kiribati. Most of the Jones brigade were there: Alec, Libby, Antony (who's orf to China this week for a five week look-see at the Forbidden City and Great Wall), Alana, Sophie, Nik, Nina (child of Sophie and Nik, also very fine), Cathy (not a Jones but mother of Christina, of Sam and Christina fame, neither of whom were there), and Edith. All of the elder Joneses are pretty deaf so we spent the evening shouting at each other, drinking champers and eating Dolmathakia.

I felt well enough to race on Saturday so I did, and managed my first third place this summer season. It was one of those ridiculously strong Nor' easterly days which reduced us to a grovel on the back straight. I was using my 53x21 on the second 'pimple', to give you an idea of it. There were about 15 starters but after a few laps, Spurge decided that he'd had enough and attacked a few times. After five laps we had a break of five (Spurge, Pat Naughton, George Pappas just back from the Himalayas, and Nick Rathbourne) and that was it. I had a coupla attacks in the closing laps but I knew they would be pointless and they were.

The sprint was interesting: Spurge and I started at the same time, but Spurge managed to drop the chain off the big ring (he jumped in the 53x11!) and almost irreversibly injured himself. So that put him out of contention and Pat and Nick easily passed me to take first and second. My sprint needs some work 'cos it's nowhere near as good as last year yet.

Sunday, being my first official day of hols, saw me get up at a ridiculous hour (4:45am) and trundle north to Terrey Hills for what I thought was going to be a one day tour. I was almost late but they'd decided not to have the tour and just run a 9.6 km TT instead. Normally there is a really tough 44 km road race out to West Head and back twice afterwards. I would have preferred that to the TT, but anyway...

The TT course is reasonably tough. It undulates downhill for the outward leg but there is a nasty little hill right at the turnaround. Coming back is a grovel - it's more uphill than down and it's bloody hard to keep your momentum. I had a good ride going out in about 6'55 (4.8 km) but struggled a bit coming home. I've now realised my left shoe/orthotic is not at all correctly positioned and my foot was sliding all over the place, which was not good at all. I finished up with 14'24, which was 7 seconds slower than I did last year on what should have been a faster bike. But the winning time was 14'22 so I was second, which ain't too bad I suppoge.

We did get a bunch together to cruise down to Akuna Bay, which I haven't done for many many years, and then out to West Head/Church Point to satisfy our masochistic tendencies. That was good as it was a tres nice day and we still got our ride in.

On Sunday evening there was a Main side of the family gathering chez nous so we caught up with Jeff and Linda and Justine and Nick. Justine is also very pregnant with the Child expected sometime around Xmas, so good luck to her I say. We had much wine and Greek foodage, and no-one got food poisoning, which was a plus.

Luxury pet beds

Possibly the saddest thing I have seen this year is the Luxury Pet Bed shop on Parramatta Road, just before the turn-off to Crystal Street. Ma pointed it out to me the other night after we'd feasted at the Sushi Bar Rashai. Even though it's on a major road, it's in a pretty dead area for a shop and I can't imagine there'd be a lot of passing trade. But perhaps it wouldn't matter, because when you look through the window and see all these miniature beds for cats/dogs/other domesticated animals, you ask yourself "Who on earth would buy such a thing?". The beds are like real beds, with little iron bedheads, mattresses, pillows, and I'm sure you could get mini-doonas as well...

Ma said she's never seen anyone inside the shop. It's tragic really.

I'd better get back to murdering perfecting this Chopin Nocturne. Luckily it's a posthumous one.

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