Just released is the Wangaratta Cycling Club Autumn Series of Races.It looks excellent with a little bit of everything.Graded Scratch Races,a couple of big Handicap events and some ITT's.Not forgetting the excellent Club Tour on the first weekend of June.Come and join us for some hard racing with friendly competitors on quiet country roads.More details via Wangaratta Cycling Club's website.
I journeyed to Chiltern today with my cameras hoping to photograph the action during the Geoff Dixon Memorial.It was a perfect day for racing over an undulating and quite testing course.The race was won by Neil van der Ploeg, in a bunch sprint,Neil also had the fastest time.I've added a gallery of images here
It's with a tinge of disappointment I write this post on the eve of the above titled event.Four days cycling in Victoria's High Country, all in the name of Charity,and sneaking in some fantastic riding and maybe a quiet beer or two at the end of the day
would be just the tonic to kick start 2013's Cycling training.I'd reserved my spot as soon as I was informed of the event but a strained left hamstring has left me unable to ride my bike.
This will be the first time this ride has been held and from what I understand from the BDA crew this is a "pilot run" with the hope of it being an annual event.And from the enthusiasm I've seen from all involved I'd suggest there will be a queue waiting to register for next year.
The riding in the Victorian High Country will be awesome and you can have a look at the itinerary on BDA's website here Also look at the sponsors of the BDA crew who are involved in helping getting this inaugural ride up and running.
From what I understand money raised from the event will go to the Amy Gillet Foundation which is inspired by the life of Amy Gillet,the foundation's aim is to eliminate cycling related fatalities.
Sam Miranda has shown once again, how keen he is on promoting cycling in the Wangaratta area by giving a large donation towards the event.The ride officially starts from Sam's Winery in The King Valley tomorrow morning.
So if you see the guys out on the N.E Victorian roads over the next few days,give them a friendly wave and any donations would be more than welcome too.
I received an email this afternoon from Tom Barry regarding the upcoming 2nd launch of the NRS Bicycle Superstore team this weekend in Albury.I've copied the majority of Tom's email into the post below which contains the relevant information.
Sounds like a great opportunity to catch up with these inspiring women some of whom I've had the pleasure to meet.
I don't think I'll be able to do the ride but may try and head up for the presentation of the team at 4pm.The Granya Grind (135km) would be awesome training for the BDA charity ride coming up pretty soon too.
The NRS Bicycle Superstore team is having their (2nd) launch in Albury this weekend at the BSS store in Lavington and I was wondering whether you could let people know around Wang.
It is comprised of multiple local ladies, including my wife Lisa Barry, Flick Wardlaw and Clare Dallat (Alexandra- but we will claim her!) and a lot of the horsepower on both the technical side (Osteohealth doing the bike fitting, strength and conditioning, injury management and Peter Collier from Riverina Podiatry Group assisting with lower limb biomechanics and Solestar orthotics) and the management/logistical side comes from the North East. It is a great endorsement of the skills and talents of this region and one of their reasons for existence is to help promote women's cycling in the region.
They will be riding the 'Granya Grind' on Saturday morning http://www.bellbridgerotary.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=39 (a 135km charity ride through the stunning Granya/Tallangata region) before the presentation at 4pm in Lavington.
There will be some interviews with the girls, a bit of a chat from the people behind the team and just explaining their goals etc. The women are quite amazing with their time management and dedication and if they can expose a few more women to the sport it would be a great thing.
Anyway- thought you may be interested and if you could pass on to anyone who you feel may be keen for a ride with the BSS NRS Women's team or to meet them and listen to their stories feel free to do so.
I guess I shall catch up with you at the next major bike race!!
Now for something completely different.Some people have been skeptical of the fact that I like to catch a wave or two.This video was shot by my nephew Tim on a recent trip to Noosa Heads.It's a great place to surf using a long board although it does get pretty crowded.Surfers can get pretty cranky if you dont do the right thing,I seem to have a knack of upsetting somebody although I am improving.Half the time they just need to relax I reckon.
I've been resisting writing anything about the Lance Armstrong saga,but on my recent training rides I can't get the story out of my head.So as an attempt to exorcise the demon from my head, I'm going to have my 2 bobs worth.
Many years ago I was heading to Tasmania for a couple of weeks, I'd be staying on my sister's fairly isolated farm in the Liffey Valley.I found myself in a book store in Melbourne looking for something to take with me to read.Picking up "It's Not About the Bike" I can remember thinking,"I've heard of this bloke,survived a pretty nasty dose of cancer and has won the Tour de France".At the time I had no interest in cycling as a sport, had only ever heard of the Tour de France,The Giro and our own Herald Sun Tour.
The book was an excellent read and I couldn't put it down,staying up till all hours and had it finished in a couple of days,bugger,what am I going to read for the rest of my stay.
So when the TDF rolled around that year it was time to tune in and see how Lance was going,I don't exactly remember the year but he's already won the race a few times.Reading this book got me interested in watching the TDF,before I would have changed channels to avoid it. L.A. owned the TDF,or thats the way it seemed to me.He had this awesome team who completely dominated proceedings.I cheered for Lance to win and thats what he did.I watched the TDF every year after that and was really disappointed when he retired.
Fast forward on a few years, after becoming frustrated with golf one of my friends suggested cycling. My first outing was quite memorable,it was hot and I was in Melbourne and we'd gone to the Kew Boulevard early in the morning.My bike was an old Malvern Star purchased brand new in the mid 80's.I was hopeless,getting passed on the hills by everyone.I smashed myself but went nowhere fast and had to lie down for about 2 hours afterward as I wasn't feeling very well.
That first experience seemed to spur me on and I've been riding now for about 4 years.The last 2 pinning a race number on quite regularly with the Wangaratta Cycling Club and the Hume Veterans CC.The more I started to mix with other cyclists,some who've been involved in the sport for many many years,I started to hear the doping stories about LA.What I also noticed was some people particularly seemed to really dislike Armstrong, whilst others worshipped him.I was probably in the camp of worshipper until about 12 months ago.Slowly more and more doping allegations against LA were surfacing and I couldn't help but think,maybe there is more to this than meets the eye.
Further on down the track and I'm not going into the whole series of events,most people know this stuff anyway.The USADA reasoned decision pretty much was the final nail in the coffin of the LA fairy tail.
Now we've had the Oprah interview and heard it from the man himself that he cheated in every one of his TDF victories,using performance enhancing drugs,transfusions etc.
The fact that he used banned drugs and transfusions is somehow not that big of a deal as it seems most TDF contenders were also doing the same thing.Of course I believe it's wrong and I'm very disappointed that I believed in something that turned out to be bull shit.And I probably feel quite foolish as in the past I'd backed Lance 100%.
The worse part is the way he treated the people who were bold enough to speak out.Even suing newspapers and ruining peoples lives when all along they were telling the truth.It's hard to reconcile this in my mind as here is a man who survived cancer (my sister in Tasmania is a Doctor and when I read to her how bad he had cancer,her comments were "it's a miracle he survived") and set up the Livestrong foundation helping raise awareness of cancer on a global scale.So it seems he has empathy for his fellow human beings so how could he be such an arsehole?
I'm not sure if I'd be riding my bike it it wasn't for Lance,nobody can answer that,not even me.My curiosity in the sport was certainly piqued by the reading of "It's not about the Bike".Maybe if golf hadn't been so frustrating I'd still be out there smashing that little white ball up the fairway (or in my case usually in the rough).My friends may have had more to do with actually getting me involved in riding and racing.I've done several things I swore black and blue I'd never do.Wearing Lycra,buying the latest carbon bling and last but not least shaving my legs,(when I read that I still wonder how it's come to this) :)
By nature I'm a pretty forgiving person and I also am a believer in what is good about the human spirit.Everyone on earth deserves the opportunity to redeem themselves from past wrongdoings.For me I still think of Armstrong as an amazing cyclist and I'm not sure about his 7 TDF victories,mainly because they didn't or couldn't award then to anybody else as most of the contenders appeared to have been doping also.
History will tell us how he'll be remembered.He made some big claims that the rest of his life will be spent trying to repair the damage he has done to the sport and the many people that got in his way.There is no doubt he is a powerful character and should he choose to embrace his own sentiments then hopefully we'll see some good come out of this tale of deception.
For me now when I roll out in the morning on a 3 hour solo ride in quiet Australian countryside I'm hoping there are better things occupying my thoughts than this sorry tale.I love to ride and would be lost without it now.I love the sport and want to believe in the current crop of amazing athletes.Past dopers should be encouraged to speak out not kicked out of the sport.Let them help by giving them the chance to own their past and not be fearful about losing what they love.
I've finally finished editing and now have 6 galleries of photos from the Championships online. If you would like to check them out click HERE
We had something different occur during yesterday's Beechworth Bunch Ride. Alan Thrum's seat post broke clean off forcing him to ride the rest of the way into Wangaratta with no seat(around 40km).I wonder how his legs are feeling today?Many thanks to Ash for this video clip showing Thrummy's new position.
In North East Victoria I believe we have some of the most beautiful sunsets on the planet.Two nights ago I was sitting outside and reckoned conditions were brewing for a beauty.I quickly went inside and grabbed my camera and tripod,jumped the back fence and wandered out into the back paddock.As a photographer I'm weary of sunset photos without any other object of interest,but felt this was one worth sharing.
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.