Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hills, hills, hills.

After yesterdays tumultuous hiding at the hands of the roadie set, I returned to more familiar grounds today with a spin through the Brisbane Forest Park on the aptly named "Super V". You really can't complain about a ride that starts in the temperate Eucalypt forest and winds it's way down to a creek cutting through a deep valley full of granite boulders. After you descend for about 10 k's the holiday is over though. It's all up. It's all steep. 
At around 30% some of the climbs can chew you up and spit you out. When you add in the loose surface and occasional heads sized boulder it makes for a tough day in the saddle. What you need to do is open your eyes. Look out to your left any time the trees leave a break and you will be rewarded with views to Wivenhoe Dam and the Lockyear Valley. Quite spectacular. Throw in a couple of king parrots, a goanna and even a wallaby or two and the ride couldn't be more Australian or satisfying. Did I mention the good company?
Leanne, Anike and bloody Steve (again) were the ridning parnters for today. Heaps of laughs and conversation to make the ride rock along and keep your mind off the pain of grinding up the hills. Heaps of innappropriate comments to crack you up and totally ruin any rythm or groove you may have developed along the way. (Thanks Steve)
The pay off comes at the end of the ride. A 6.5km climb up through the forest slowly transforms into lush rainforest and cool shaded trails for the last push of 3.5km to the top. Amazingly large trees tower over you and the whole canopy is swathed in vines and staghorns hang from the huge boughs. Gorgeous.
I was a little concerned that the efforts of yesterday may take their toll as I hit the hills in earnest today but was pleasantly surprised. I kept my heart rate low and concentrated on keeping a steady, sustainable rythm. My legs were a little sore but they warmed up. In fact I felt better for the hard push of yesterday and when I reached the first hill I cruised up and had heaps left in the tank. My confidence that I can train myself to a point that I can survive and even thrive in the Terra  took a giant step forward. I am refreshed and ready to pound out some big rides and smile all the way. Theres the secret, keep smiling.
Link to the ride stats

Saturday, October 24, 2009

They tore my legs off.....

Well, what more do I need to say? I left home to ride out to samford for the start of the ride at 5.30am this morning. My Garmin wouldn't initialise and so I had to leave it off for the trek out. Having said that when I got home I had 83km on the clock with an average speed of 28km/hour. Thats bloody quick!
I managed to hold on to the group for the journey out to Dayboro where the group split in two with some deciding to take an alternate route. I even managed to hang in there as the group was reaching the turnaround point at the 38km mark. I wasn't last as we got back to Dayboro and I was feeling pretty good. Hmmm, this road riding thing aint so bad. That my friends is where the whole thing came crashing down and I began my descent into the pits of hell.
About 4km out of Dayboro I was losing contact with the group. In road riding terms thats a bad thing. You can get dragged along when you are in a big group and avoid some of the head winds as well as have the moral support of the other riders around you. One of the guys dropped back and helped me regain the group but no sooner had I got back than I started to slide back again. Man these guys were flying! After that its a slow painful death as you watch the peloton cruise out of sight not having the legs to catch them and realise you need to battle the head wind and drag your sorry butt up the hills. Alone.
Oh well. What are you gonna do? I'm not racing for sheep stations, or for a living, I'm not even racing. So I stuck the head phones on and got down to business of making it back to Samford where a strong coffe and a bakery treat would revitalise me for the short climb back to home. The coffee was great as was the chocolate milk and cream donut. After that its just harden up buttercup  and get on with it.
When I got home I sat in a garden chair and turned the hose on myself. That is how to end a ride on a hot day! I should mention that thr group this morning was the Samford Velos. A really nice bunch of people. In the group I was in I was probably the youngest person and they still tore me apart. It gives me a good feeling to know that I can keep riding at a really good level for quite a few years yet and  iam not the least bit embarrassed about watching them pull off into the distance.......

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pinch of concrete! Aisle 7 please!

Tomorrow I am going on my first group road ride in 20 years. Yep, thats a long time between drinks. I am really excited about the prospect of a social ride with a big group and all the banter and chatter that goes along with it. I've reserected my 1994 vintage Klien Quantum and been out training on it with a mate. I have been really lucky that Steve, a riding buddy on the mountain bikes, has been very patient with me and coaxed me through the first few tentative steps back onto the road. So now tomorrow I will give it a whirl in the group.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the road bike. There are some fantastic back road loops out around my area that take in farmlands and a few hills as well as some really nice quiet roads with some really good hills. I'm not talking the Col du Tormalet here but for a guy who hasn't ridden a road bike in a few years they are serious enough to get the blood up. Going up hills on the roadie is way different to the mountain bike too. I don't have the granny gear to fall back on when it gets vertical and that means my little chicken legs need to man up and actually push a bigger gear to get me over the top. Not a comfortable experience for a mountain biker used to spinning along at high cadence with low resistance. Ah well, time to dry my eyes, add that extra pinch of concrete to the cuppa and get busy.
Stay tuned for tomorrows report on the triumphant return to the road scene by yous truly. Otherwise known as " Oh my goodness my legs are killing me!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Has anyone seen my motivation?

It's always hard when you have to balance life with goals and aspirations and to say I have not been that successful at doing that lately would be a gross understatement. I have been working stupidly hard, have stress levels through the roof and have basically only been able to look longingly at my bikes for the past week. The doubts have started to creep in.
My next few weeks are full of late nights and early mornings interspersed with some really late nights and some really early mornings. It makes it very hard to get out and train as the limited time off means scrabbling to spend time with my family as well as throw the leg over a bike and churn out some K's. Something has to give so the training has taken the back seat for now. After a massive day Friday I slept most of Saturday only to back up and work most of Sunday. I haven't reached my training goals for 2 weeks and last week was an epic failure.
So what are you supposed to do? Get over it, harden up and get back on the bike and suffer for your lack of training. Maybe this weekend I can smash some big K's and make my head feel straight again. We'll see.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A little more of the back story.

The whole idea of these crazy endeavours I undertake is to raise money for Working Wonders. They do amazing work for kids raising money for research and new equipment as well as providing support services to patients and thier families. My families connection with the Royal Childrens Hospital Intensive Care Unit and the Childrens Oncology is very personal and based on great admiration and appreciation. I have spoken breifly about my son Jack's battles as a baby but I think now is the time to share a little more of the personal experience through the eyes of his mother, Alison.
We kept a day book of the time Jack was in hospital. There were 2 reasons behind it. The first was to be able to keep tabs on what was going on with his treatment as often one of us had to work or just go home for some rest and this allowed the other person to explain any updates or visits from specialists etcetera. The second was to keep a record for Jack as he grew up. The possibility of Jack needing ongoing and very invasive treatment was very real and the more we learnt of the side effects and the long term effects of these treatments the more concerned we grew with how we might explain to him later in his life. Alison and I did not want him to ask questions about why we had made decisions for him at the time and not be able to say precisely why we had made them. I reckon that by the time Jack left ICU Alison and I had done most of a degree in childrens intensive care practice and knew more about neuroblastoma than most oncologists! Must have driven the staff nuts with our questions.....
This little piece of literature comes from Tueday 29th April, 2003. I have just directly transferred it from the book. No corrections, no punctuation. This is exactly as my wife wrote it.
Go in for CT scan at 9:00am- Need general anasthetic for this procedure.
Come out of anasthetic and they decide your ready to move to SURF ward. (out of ICU)
12:00pm move upstairs . Have own room with nice view. Graham and I are very excited. Jack still needs lots of cuddles and is getting very distressed when ever he is put down on the bed. I calm him and put him on the bed to change his nappy and he stops breathing!! for about 45 secs. (A LONG TIME!) Whole body turns blue. Nurse gets him breathing again and we call ICU to come down and have another look at him.
Jack fasted for scan and we are having trouble getting him back on feeds as nonone knows who to ask to start them again. Mum and Dad think part of Jacks distress is that he is very hungry.
Dr Delbridge arrives - comments on oxygen being very highand breathinh halting being of concern and Jack is readmitted to ICU at 5:00pm. We are told this is the record for return to ICU. 4 hrs!
Jack is still in distress. Stops breathing twice more. Decide to intubate. Jack put onto Midazolam and Morphine and tube inserted down nose to help Jack breathe. Now he has time to relax and get better under sedation.
Second most intense day since Jack was first admitted.
High point of the day was a visit from Oncology team. CAT scan came back clear - no lumps anywhere else in his body. Still more tests to do but atr this stage they think they'll be OK to leave the tumour with no treatment and just watch it. YEAH!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Setting Goals.

I have this amazing little piece of technology that allows me to track my rides, my heart rate, power output and basically everything else about my pain and suffering while out on the bike. I have chucked the link in here for you all to have a look at and to keep me honest in my training goals. Don't be scared to post up a comment or to follow the blog. I currently have a goal of a 200km week this week and you can follow that in the goals tab at Garmin Connect. Enjoy!