We have finished the West Side Verandah and have moved around to the East. Pretty cosy on the East side the last couple of mornings. 42 degrees this afternoon here. Below is a few photos of the West Side construction.
I am going to brag a little in this post so I will get it over with quickly. I recently won first prize in the Landscape section of the Yarrawonga/Mulwala Art show. Pictured is my mother with the winning photograph. I think she was more excited than me. It's a photograph of a storm with a lightning bolt over aLake Mulwala with dead trees and the town's light in the background.
Last Sunday I rode the 2011 Audax Alpine Classic 200km starting in Bright N.E Victoria. It's a tough ride with four pretty decent climbs involved. There were over 3000 cyclists taking part and there are several distances to choose from.
The 200 km ride started at 6.20 am so it was going to be an early start to allow for the drive to Bright. My alarm went off around 3.30 am and I had a pretty restless night sleep.quite warm and a few nerves as well.
I made myself eat a decent breakfast of porridge,toast,juice and coffee as I new the fuel would be needed during the ride. I drove into Wang to pick up a friend who was also doing the 200 km as well (we will call him HV for the rest of the story). Bleary eyed and with another rider from Wang. following us off we drove to the mountains.
Arriving in Bright with about 15 mins to the start of our ride we were busy setting up our machines,pumping tyres,filling pockets with supplies and making sure drink bottles were in their holders,last minute visit to the dunny.
Rolling down to the start I was keeping an eye out for my Melbourne riding mates from blogs past but there was just to many people around.We timed our run to perfection and in about 2 mins we were on our way. We were in a pretty good position about 200 metres from the front of the peloton. Pretty soon I realised our trailing rider on the way to Bright meant business and I watched him spinning into the mass of riders while I thought it wise to be conservative with nearly 200 km still to ride. Pretty soon HV was riding beside me and we cruised out of Bright enjoying the flat roads that were to become few and far between throughout the ride.
The first climb is Tawonga gap and the steepest part is about 6 km long with the steepest part 11.7% according to my cycling computer. Keeping plenty in reserve for the rest of the day I kept a decent tempo riding up the climb being overtaken by plenty of fit looking cyclists. Tawonga done for the first time I love the decent and passed heaps of people on the way down as we motored into Mt Beauty,together again with HV we cruised into Mt Beauty and straight upwards again heading towards Falls Creek. About 1 3/4 hours later we arrived at Falls Creek where I caught up with a couple of members of the Captains Crew looking great and keen to keep going. Unfortunately I had been feeling a little unwell and had stomach cramps on and off during the Falls climb.
Meeting up with HV again we dropped down the mountain like the man from snowy river sweeping around the corners enjoying the speed and forgetting about the climbing we had done and what was yet still ahead. Riding out of Mt Beauty I was feeling quite crook and was on the point of vomiting a few times. Not great when you are turning back to head over Tawonga Gap again and it's getting hot. I have ridden over Tawonga Gap plenty of times and I dont think I've ever been happier to see the top. With HV we descended toward Bright in the summer sun
and I was wondering if I was going to be able to get myself up Mt Buffalo and back as I was feeling pretty ordinary.
I don't know what they actually put in those energy gels but I had 2 in a row and washed them down with plenty of water and on the way out of Bright I started to feel a little better. Just as we were getting to the base of Mt Buffalo we passed a couple of young ladies from Wang heading back towards Bright triumphantly after doing the Mt Buffalo climb ( 70 km return) One of the ladies was Mrs HV who had not been doing much riding lately so it was nice to see her on her New bike.
Hitting the bottom of Mt Buffalo I was feeling pretty good and thought this wont be to bad. Anyway I think that thought lasted about 2 km to be replaced by " I reckon they have made this rode steeper than the last time I rode it 2 weeks ago" another gel downed and settling in for a warm ascent I realised this was going to take a long time and plenty of effort to get to the top. Plenty of people were doing in tough as well so I just kept spinning the crank and going forward slowly. Stopping for road works about 3/4 the way my left hamstring was cramping when I was trying to clip into my pedals and that was not very nice. onwards and upwards the main climb finally over ,about 20 mins slower than the last time I rode it, it was just another 5 km or so to Dingo Dell the final checkpoint on Mt Buffalo. The last 3 km is another tough climb and it felt like an eternity and when I rolled into the check point I was very relieved.
Regrouping again with HV we headed out for the trip back which is mainly downhill thank goodness as I had had about enough climbing for one day. Getting closer to Bright I wanted to finnish the ride strongly so I put in a concentrated effort to do so and rolled over the finnish line side by side with HV. Greeted by my 2 beautiful nieces
and a couple of the Captains Crew it was an excellent feeling of achievement and doing most of the ride with HV was a highlight of the day for me. My nieces and sister had a stall selling my Cycling Calendars so I joined them in the shade to recover. A swim in the river a hamburger, sausage and a couple of cold drinks I was feeling ok.
Waiting for my sister and co. to pack up the stall I got ready to head back to my car only to see the Silver Streak
crossing the finnish line after doing the epic Ace 250 km ride (he is in his 60 th year). I dropped by the Captains Crew for a couple of quiet beers then headed home feeling pleased,relieved and exhausted. It's certainly a tough ride especially the last climb up Buffalo when your getting tired.
This is the west side of my house under renovation. We have just removed the old verandah and are working on the upper fascia and eaves.
On Thursday last week I travelled to Bright in the beautiful Victorian High country for 3 days of cycling up mountains and hanging out with some old and new friends alike.
Meeting the rest of the crew at Harrietville, greetings and pleasantries exchanged. the first climb up Mt Hotham beckoned. Now the last time this was attempted it was Melbourne Cup weekend and it was wet and cold and visibility was around 50 metres at the top. Luckily today the sun was shining and it was perhaps around 30 degrees.
Beautiful ride up maybe going a little hard with another 2 hard days to follow but sometimes you just can't help yourself. Down to Dinner Plain and then return to Harrietville and everyone was feeling satisfied and looking forward to a feed and possibly a cold drink.
I must admit to waking up around 2 am on Thursday night and tossing and turning for a couple of hours worrying about the day ahead or to be more specific the legendary "back o falls" (see climb 6 in the linked profile) I have heard how steep it is and was worried if I would be able to handle it.
The day dawned and I must of gotten back to sleep and dragged myself out of bed to fuel up for the coming ride.
A brief drive over to Mt Beauty and everyone ready to roll and we're off. Regrouping at a cafe at The Falls Creek village a quick snack and then on our way again to Shannonvale for the big climb.
I reckon after climbing up around the first right hand bend my cycling computer was showing 13% gradient heart rate was sky rocketing and the front wheel of my bike felt like it may leave the bitumen at any moment. It was warm,steep and an extreme challenge. I set my sights on getting to the top without stopping and was sort of confident this could be achieved. Just when you thought the climb was getting easier it would kick again and the gradient would be hovering around 10% for what felt like an eternity and the heat coming off the bitumen added to the intense experience that can't really be described in words. But in amongst the pain I could see the other guys some in front some behind in their own personal challenge and this helped with motivation to keep the legs going.
In just over an hour I finally reached our chosen regrouping area to find 3 crew members waiting to greet me and looking pretty satisfied. After a short wait the others arrived and our support vehicle for the day after one of the guys decided (he was the only one with any sense) to ride back down to Mt Beauty after ascending Falls and come over in his car with some well needed water to refill our bidons (Thanks Tony). Regrouping done it was on the bikes again for the trip back. The descent down Falls Creek is one of my favourites and it feels like you're flying and in no time we we're back out our cars feeling great,tired but in a good way.
That night we feasted on pizza and wine and a couple of scoops of ice cream for desert.
Saturday morning came quickly and we packed up our vehicles and headed to the base of Mt Buffalo.
The last climb of our 3 days beckoned and with tired legs and struggling to get my heart rate up I got into a steady rhythm with one of the other guys and we rode to the top together. Regrouping at the top and a little snack provided by our new support vehicle for the day(Thanks Des) . Blasting back down the mountain we drove back to Porpunkah for a quick dip in the river and a nice coffee at a local cafe and then it was time for us to head back to our respective homes. Thanks to all the guys for the great weekend of good friendship, hard riding and an excellent few days away in a lovely part of Victoria.
After a festive season filled with food, a few quiet nectar of the god's and family it was time to strap on the tool belt and give the old homestead some loving. It's verandah time again and after seeing how good the front of the house looks I cant wait until the 2 sides are done. Hopefully anyone who had nasty thoughts of bulldozing the whole thing and building a new house will start to see the folly in their ways and is "starting to believe".
Check out the "Master" (aka Fox) who now has taken the light and sound hat off and donned the $5 Bunnings straw hat that I bought for him yesterday. I am not sure about the longevity of his new head wear but he reckons it'll see the job out. Thats a pretty bold prediction I reckon considering the length of time I believe our little project may run.
Anyway here is a little snapshot of the work place this morning just around smoko time.
I saw on the news tonight the Jayco Bay Criterium series is on again. Last year I went with some friends for the final day at Williamstown. It was a great day and I think it was the first time I had been to a pro bike race.
One of the highlights for me is I got Robbie McEwen's Autograph on a West End Cycles jersey. I also took my camera of course and took a few shots. Here is a good example of what you will see at a ctirerium. Unfortunately I wont be there this year but will be in my own world of pain cycling in the Victorian mountains around Bright.
Recently I was telling one of my friends I was going to make my own energy bars from a recipe I had seen in Bicycling Australia magazine. Now I think his comment was something like, "you have got to much time on your hands".Now I don't know about you but to quote from the movie The Big Lebowski "I take comfort in that". Well the thought finally came to fruition this afternoon and the added bonus was licking the lid of the condensed milk tin took me back to childhood instantly (my mother is a seriously good cook). Luckily I had a nice cold Cascade Premium lager to sip on to bring me back to the current moment and keep me on track with the recipe otherwise I may have been lost to childhood memories of scones and roast lamb forever.
Here is a photo of the finished product on the cooling rack and I reckon it tastes pretty good too( you always have to taste a couple of crunch bits that break off) . Will be able to see how effective they are as energy bars with some pretty decent training rides coming up in the mountains later this week.
And as this is my first post for 2011 I wish anybody with enough time on their hands to be reading this a happy and prosperous new year with good health and plenty of lovin'