Every Wednesday a group rides from Wangaratta to Beechworth and back.It's been quite a while since I've joined in so today it was time to incorporate the Beechy ride and add a little extra.
It's about 35 km into Wangaratta and I made the Bunch start time of 7.30 am quite easily.All my overhead photos of the bunch riding were blurry so the next decent pic is the coffee stop in Beechworth.
I'd done 80 km by our stop in Beechworth and from here I would part company with the group as they headed back to Wangaratta.The plan for me was to head home via Rutherglen.
Heading into Rutherglen I was ready for lunch.Parkers Pies had wonderful pies so it seemed only reasonable to indulge in two.No 1 a Tiger Prawn in Thai curry sauce and the second one a Bobbie Burns which is beef in a lovely rich sauce made with Campbell's Bobbie Burns Shiraz.
The last 15 km home went pretty quickly with a nice tailwind which was a nice change.All my rides lately seem to have had their share of strong head winds.
Every year the Wednesday bunch ride to Beechworth has a xmas ride.Which involves the same ride as usual but with a detour to the Miawa Cheese Factory for lunch and a quiet drink.Below are a few pics of the day's activities.
Last weekend's racing was the second weekend with back to back racing. Wang CC club race on Saturday and then a drive over to Eildon for the Damian McDonald Memorial which was held on Sunday.I would be racing in C Grade which would also incorporate the woman's A Grade in the same bunch.After the Wangaratta Club Race I drove over to Eildon where I'd booked accommodation at the Golden Trout Hotel which was one of the race sponsors.
There was just enough light left in the day for a drive down Skyline Road which would be the major climb of the race and more than likely where the major action would start.The KOM sign was just being erected so I made some mental notes on it's unusual position.1.5km after the main climb finished was what my speedo showed and almost on a downhill section.
The start time for our bunch was just after 10 am and me being an early riser there was heaps of time to get organised. We would have around 10 C Graders and 5 Women in their A Grade race.Everything seemed very well organised and I'm pretty sure everyone started on time.There were a couple of Wangaratta riders in my group,Chris Howard and Trent Hyde, also included,Thomas Slingsby and Michael Stringer, a couple of young 17 year olds whom I raced against earlier in the year at the Wangaratta club tour.
Our race began with a 25 km circuit of what's known as the Pondage Loop which is largely flat with some very gentle undulations, but nothing that would create any selections in the race.There were a few attacks but nothing that looked likely to succeed.Eventual race winner William Key had several attempts to get away including riding off the front of the bunch at the start.
That would all change however when we hit the Skyline Road climb.
Four of the C Grade bunch,Key,Slingsby,Stringer,Hyde, and Amy Bradley from the women's A Grade group, managed to gap the rest of us initially, but after delving into the "suitcase of courage" 3 more of us,Howard,Everard and myself managed to ride across and make contact with the front group about two thirds of the way up the climb.The further the climb went the better I felt and we all crested the major part of the climb in our small group.There was no sign of other riders behind us and knowing where the KOM point was I put the hammer down.After a glance over the shoulder, and seeing only empty road, gave encouragement that I may be able to get the KOM for our group.I was disappointed when passing the KOM sign there was nobody there so my attack had been for nothing but it felt good.
At this point the decent had started and I love descending,it takes me back to the days of riding my 1982 900SS Ducati in the mountains around Bright.I could sense another rider on my shoulder, so without really thinking about it tried picking the best lines and keeping off the brakes as much as possible.It was great fun and I only wish I knew the road better so as to be able to really lay into the corners.By the time we reached the bottom I was alone again but was soon joined by Slingsby and Stringer.Our little trio rolled a few turns together but were eventually joined by the balance of our climbing group minus Chris Howard.Bugger,Howie is a good friend and I hadn't given any thought to the fact descending is not his strong point.Talking with him after the race, he had to come to a virtual standstill on the descent, trying to avoid another rider who had taken the wrong line into a corner.As he's quite experienced and we'd of had our 3 Wang riders in the bunch that would of been handy.
This was not to be however,with our group riding strongly into a head wind there was nothing to do but keep rolling turns.
After the climb, it's around another 40 km until the finish and our group worked pretty well for most of it.The young riders were pulling through pretty hard causing the bunch to surge which made it tough at times.I ended up saying to young Key that if he wanted me to come around him at the front then not to pull through so hard.This helped, and made life easier for me at least.We had one rider sitting on the back of the group, not contributing, which was a little concerning but I wasn't about to make a big deal out of it.That pretty much remained the Status Quo for the remainder of the race.There was a little excitement when my rear derailleur and somebodies front wheel came together in a hell of a clatter which apparently nearly caused a fall.I didn't position myself well near the finish and was caught behind at the roundabout which is around 300metres from the finish.Not that it would of made that much difference as the young trio bolted to take the first 3 places.Replaying the finale in my head the only way I could have made a difference is to have tried to attack with about 1km to go and hit the roundabout first.But it had been a tough race and after Saturdays club event I didn't have the legs anyway.The young riders deserved their results and all have a bright cycling future ahead of them.Amy Bradley came in with us in the front group so taking out the Women's A Grade race.
Men's C grade
1. 52 KEY, WILLIAM1:59:001:59:00Ballarat/Sebastopol C C
2. 53 SLINGSBY, THOMAS1:59:00stPreston Cycling Club Inc
3. 51 STRINGER, MICHAEL1:59:00stBlackburn Cycling Club Inc
4. 84 HYDE, TRENTON1:59:00stWangaratta Cycling Club Inc
5. 57 REECKMAN,ANTHONY1:59:00stWangaratta Cycling Club Inc
6. 56 EVERARD, CRAIG1:59:00stBlackburn Cycling Club Inc
7. 55 WEBBER, VAUGHAN2:04:455:44Blackburn Cycling Club Inc
8. 29 HOWARD, CHRIS2:04:485:47Wangaratta Cycling Club Inc
9. 54 O'SULLIVAN, CRAIG2:06:307:29Blackburn Cycling Club Inc
10. 28 JEHU, NICHOLAS2:09:3810:37Wellington CC
11.50 WOODING DREW2:21:0622:06Blackburn Cycling Club Inc
Full results here.
Read about Damian McDonald here.
Thanks to the Blackburn Cycling Club for organising the event and all the helpers and volunteers who make these events possible.
Also the Wangaratta Cycling Club had a large involvement in the day bringing Damian's Race(Under 17 men) across from Wangaratta.
Todays bunch ride was well attended and the weather was pretty good.It was so foggy when I left my house I wasn't sure I'd be able to find Wangaratta,let alone be there by 7.30am for the Beechworth Ride.In an unusual event the fog completely lifted by the time I got to Boorhaman.Usually the Ovens River flats are thick with fog and I was expecting today to be no exception.
But luckily for us we had completely clear roads and skies for the whole ride.The only thing we seem to have to contend with was worms.Yes Worms,my bike looks like I've ridden through a worm farm.It appears the worms have gone on the rampage after the late storms yesterday and decided the road was the place to be.A few pics of the boys below and even a couple from Cafe Derailleur where we have our fantastic lunch on our return.
I had a trip to Sydney last week to visit family and catch up with legendary bike fitter Steve Hogg. I have recently changed from Speedplay pedals back to Shimano and wanted Steve to set up a couple of pairs of shoes and check my bike position.
My appointment was for late afternoon which coincided with a couple of quiet beers with a couple of Steve's mates when we had finished.My bike fit was pretty easy as once the shoes were set up nothing else was changed.We also organized a ride for the Sunday which I was looking forward to.Sunday turned out to be pretty wet and we rode in some pretty ordinary conditions around Botany Bay.Still nice to get out on the bike and the feast at a local Bakery on our return was pretty special.
Yesterday I decided it was time to get out for a decent ride, I also wanted to have a play with a new toy I'd purchased in Sydney during a rush of blood and retail therapy. The new toy is a Garmin 800 bike computer which I bought mainly so I could read it's larger display as I struggle with the Garmin 500 which is much smaller.During yesterday's circuit I planned to call into local chocolate producers, Renaissance Chocolates,where I also have some of my photographs for sale.
On arriving and looking forward to a coffee and beautiful chocolates,only about 4kms from my place,Neil said"we've got a present for you".This was certainly unexpected and I wondered what was going on.After sitting down to my feast Robyn came out of the chocolate making area bearing the gift.Both Robyn and Neil have just returned from a trip to France and Italy and happened to be in Milano on the last day of the Giro d'Italia
They were initially unaware what was going on as they are not cycling fans and it was pure coincidence they were there.They told me initially they were a little annoyed, as the tourist bus that you can get on and off at the various attractions, was cancelled for the day.After trying to avoid the cycling crowd for most of the day they weakened and went to have a look.
It turned out to be the final TT of the Giro with the top 5 riders still left to start.So they saw history being made with the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour,Ryder Hesjedal.After 3 weeks of racing and over 3,500km he took the overall victory by 16seconds.After 3 weeks of racing
Now,back to my present.You can see the pic above and there is a signature on the hand.I asked Robyn who's signature it was and her reply was something like."Some Canadian bloke,the winner"Not only had they accidentally stumbled across this very exciting event,Robyn got the signature of the winner because she new I would like it.
Like it?I love it and it's gone straight to the pool room and if it was in a wrapper I would not have taken it out.
After last Wednesday's Beechworth ride whilst having lunch with some of the guys the conversation turned to beverages and who was having a coffee etc. I had already had my quota of 2 coffees a day but decided I would indulge myself for a third. This started a discussion on who drank what when,after I commented that I allow myself 2 coffees in the morning but in the afternoon I make Chai it was suggested I add the recipe to the Blog.
So below is the way I do it but there are endless other variations. I learnt how to make it from 2 of my sisters and have pretty much stuck with their recipe ever since. I generally make around 1 litre each batch and that way I've got enough for a couple of days.
Ingredients for my brew,you don't have to be exact with this.
40 cardamon pods
1/2 stick of cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh ginger
Big tablespoon honey.
I put around 700 ml of cold water in a decent size saucepan and whilst it's coming to the boil I roughly crush the cardamon pods and the cinnamon in a mortar and pestle but you can also just roughly chop them up with a knife,I also cut up the ginger finely but don't make too much work out of it. Add the cut/ground up ingredients to the water and simmer for around 5 minutes.
The add the milk and the black tea ( 4 tea bags works well) but I like loose leaf tea and put in around 3 decent teaspoons. Heat the mixture back up but don't boil it. When hot add the honey more or less depending on your taste. You can also use sugar if preferred. Then strain the liquid into a jug and pour yourself a cup and enjoy. You can fiddle around with the quantities of the various ingredients depending on your taste
So now, next time your at a folk festival and walk past the Chai tent, you can take comfort in the fact that you know how to make the real stuff or maybe go in and see how they it.