Wednesday, 26 December 2012
This is me and Jett watching Zali have her turn in the kid's shared Christmas present - a plastic sit-on-top kayak. They seem pretty happy with it and both are pretty competent paddlers due to our holiday in NZ earlier this year. Fun.
Jon has a strange and special talent for gingerbread houses. Year after year we leave him with the dregs of the lollies or give him a nothing but a broken tumbledown house and he manages to fashion the Taj Mahal of gingerbread houses to bring shame upon our own. This year was no different. This is his..
Ok - I was probably still feeling a bit guilty when Jon asked me to cover him a Christmas cake in the shape of a couch - luckily no job is too hard for Super Guilty Woman!
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Rain wasn't part of the plan but it wasn't too heavy so it wasn't too bad. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and fruit (to make up for a dinner - and lunch actually - of cheese and crackers), I headed to Trevallyn to sus out the trails with a view to riding the Icebreaker this year.
The signage at Trevallyn (and Kate Reid for that matter) has improved heaps recently, so it was nice to match the vague race description with the sign board. I made a few mistakes but I'm pretty confident I got around the race course for last year. What was obvious though is that there is a lot of trail building going on, so it's unlikely the course will be the same (hmm fire trails versus sweeping berms - I know what I'd prefer to ride!). Anyway - for now I was confined to the fire trails with a few little bits of single track thrown in. It was nice but I was a little weary and so after an hour or so I loaded up the bike and headed back to...
Kate Reid Reserve! As I'd spent the night dreaming about that one awesome section of trail.. (it's that zig-zaggy yellow one on the map below)
Kate Reid has something for everyone. My favourite obstacles at the moment are bumpy log ones (as I have fond memories of taking the 'A' Line a few times and going over similar but bigger obstacles like these at the Cape to Cape and thus skipping past the conga line of nervous nellies in front of me - bearing in mind I was mid pack of course - I'm sure most of the (other 500) people in front of me had no problems with the 'A' line (the 'B' line is the slower route around obstacles - where it exists). So things like these I like:
And things like these I don't mind -hmm that rock thing is harder than it looks - last time it took me 3 or 4 goes to get over it, now I can just get up a bit of speed and it's done! yay!
Anyway as I was saying, I don't mind obstacles like that particularly when you are rewarded with this..
And a whole lot of other fun as well. I have to say it was really hard taking those photos as I really didn't want to stop!
So after spending another hour or so at Kate Reid I dragged my weary bones up the hill for the 5th time in 2 days and loaded up and hauled south. I have to declare my overnight trip a success! 4 rides, 5.5 hours of riding, no injuries or accidents. Oh and I saw another echidna - thus proving my echidna plague theory (watch out balloons)..
The other day Jett asked me if I thought he was good. As in 'Santa will come' type good. I said that I thought he was good, and in fact, the more I think about it, the more clear it is that the kids have actually been really quite unbelievably good.
I say this because we've taken (or some might say dragged) the kids along to all manner of events this year, orienteering, multisport, running and whatever else, and instead of moaning, fighting, breaking stuff, dismantling vital equipment and generally getting in the way (as me and my siblings would certainly have done as kids), they've actually either been helpful or have occupied themselves independently so we have been able to do what needs to be done. I hope Santa rewards them well!
Left: Kids at Mark Webber Challenge, Middle: Zali helping with the finish at orienteering, Right: Kids on support duty at the Bruny Island Ultramarathon
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
This week I had originally planned to go to Binalong Bay and visit Clare for some more riding and relaxing at her place, but she's inconveniently decamped to LA so that plan went out the window. But that's ok - I'm great at plans. My new plan was to come to Launceston, ride Kate Reid Reserve in the morning, then head on over to Stubbs Road (outside of Ulverston) for an afternoon ride. Stay the night in Launceston then check out the Trevallyn Icebreaker course the next morning before driving home.
So here I am and so far everything is actually going to plan - I had a great 2 hour ride in the morning on fun fun fun tracks at Kate Reid Reserve. I really like KR Reserve, it suits my technical ability perfectly - there are lots of rock obstacles but generally they are get-overable and there's fun smooth riding with maybe little drop-offs and things in between. They've extended my favourite trail 'The Berm Trail' and it now swoops down the hill in the most fun of ways - so I ended up riding down it three times as well as doing some other loops. yay. After riding in the morning I knew that whatever else happened (barring injury of course) the trip would have been worth while! Speaking of injury, I rounded a corner just as a giant echidna (I'm sure they are in plague proportions at the moment - watch out insects!) wandered into the middle of the narrow trail in front of me. Luckily we avoided each other as I think a crash would have been quite painful for us both!
After a brief lunch of cheese and crackers and checking my work email in my hotel room I headed towards Ulverstone. It was a bit of a longer drive out there than I remembered (80 or so minutes) but I guess that just meant more recovery time! The hill known as Stubbs Road has lots of shortish trails, no maps (cos it's technically private land) and they are all a bit more 'raw' than the ones at Kate Reid. It was fun though although I have to admit I did a little clock watching as my legs were a bit tired from the morning! I was wondering how long I would have to ride for to make the drive worthwhile - and I decided I'd have to ride for the equivalent length of the drive there - i.e. 80 minutes. Which I did achieve, doing the loops I know there twice. I avoided injury again when I met a fast moving rider going in the other direction but we both managed to stop in time. He was a local and told me that the big switchback trail I was on is actually normally ridden the other way (oops). He also offered to show me some more of the trails but I was buggered so I just headed back to the car.
After a small detour in Devonport to check out the beach and get some petrol I headed back to the Country Club and had a swim, spa and sauna - nice hey! I should mention that I did ask some other friends if they wanted to come too but they all claim to have actual 'jobs' so were unable to. I also asked Jon but he said his wife was going away so he had to look after the kids. oh well!
The one part of the plan which hasn't come together is the photo taking part - I took some on my mobile but Facebook has swallowed them so that's a bugger. I'll revert to my regular camera tomorrow I recon.
Yesterday I asked Zali to take some close-ups of her gingerbread house before it started to get eaten so she could check the pictures out for inspiration next year.
So - on the left is the house, on the right is a view through one of the windows to where she stashed a lot of um.. 'unattached' lollies as she was working. It looks like some sort of crazy lolly rave party is going on in there! I bet the neighbouring gingerbread houses have already called the cops.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Since returning from the Cape to Cape I've been struggling with training. In fact the only training I've been consistently doing has been for some sort of yet-to-be-defined eating competition but let me tell you, when it is defined, I will be ready!
So I've been needing a new challenge and I've been thinking about various options. I think I've come up with the answer for my major event of the year. At the moment our general race calendar looks like this:
So the big thing is that this year I'll give my first ever individual multisport race a go - so if the event is held for the 2nd time ever I'll enter the IceBreaker all by myself. It will be the first proper multisport thing I've done since I did some triathlons in the 90s so it will be a big deal.
I've chosen the IceBreaker for a number of reasons:
The only drawback of the Icebreaker is that it's slap bang in the middle of winter. Oh well.
Last weekend started with a 4 kid gingerbread house decorating bang, and continued right through to a Sunday night family dessert which was hot on the heels of the annual street party. I'm pretty glad it's all over but it was certainly fun!
So starting with the gingerbread houses..
Jonno proved that yet again he is the master of the gingerbread house - working with a small selection of left-over lollies he created a masterpiece. humph.
We spent Saturday morning on the beach and I was clearly too busy playing beach cricket to take any photos.
Sunday morning Jon and I did our respective exercise then we headed out to 5 mile beach to hunt down this year's Christmas tree..
Then it was a rush home to prepare for the street Christmas party which Jon co-organises with our neighbours at the other end of the street. Sadly our team (the odd numbered houses) lost to the Evens for the third year running in the quoits competition. This is despite the fact that barely anyone from their end of the street turned up. Oh well.
Friday, 7 December 2012
I seem to be in the habit lately of abandoning the family for one or two nights midweek for various reasons and this week is no exception (actually I'm trying to convince Jon that this is the new 'normal' as I'd quite like to get back to Binalong Bay before Clare moves out as well).
Anyway this week it was my mission to bring back a big old Merc from a holiday house on south Bruny Island. I originally proposed to my friend Su that we ride all the way down from Kingston in one go and then drive back but she suggested that we take her car, stay the night on her block, and have a bit of a girls-own adventure before fetching the car. Sweet!
So yesterday we packed the car and headed off. It was a nice change to go to Bruny midweek as it was so much quieter.
Once we arrived on the beautifully kitted out block we unpacked, unhitched the trailer, unloaded the dog and set off on one of Su's regular rides. From Great Bay we went east up and over a ridge giving us some great views in all directions over the island. It was fantastic as I've never really strayed off the Bruny Island beaten track. We made it to Cape Queen Elizabeth walking track to admire the view down towards Fluted Cape and Adventure Bay.
From there we backtracked a little and rode down to Variety Bay then back up to this old Anglican Church where I stopped to read the interpretative sign because I love them and not because I was puffed or anything..
After a few more minutes uphill we were on top of another ridge then we scooted down sandy tracks (I scooted a fair bit slower than Su!) and back along the road a few ks and back home - it was probably just under 2 hours of riding after all the photo stops and it was just lovely. I felt very lucky to be there and seeing this part of Bruny Island.
Once we recovered we checked out local beach and skipped the dog across the water (ok that's just what it looks like - he's really fetching a stick) we collected the Merc from Alonnah and then had a relaxing evening with a fire and some wine whereupon we discovered a) that we were actually at Hobart College at the same time (huh!) and b) Su knows the guy who is the caretaker for the holiday house I had to get the car from. She used to know him really well in fact! Tassie huh.
After getting up the next morning at what my mum would describe as the 'sigh' of dawn (as opposed to the crack) we headed off for another little adventure in the direction of Cape Queen Elizabeth. This time when we reached the walking track we stashed the bikes, put on shoes and explored the sea caves and rock structures. It was really cool.
We were probably the first humans on the beach that day and we came across a wide selection of animal footprints criss-crossing the dunes:
I took photos of the prints thinking the kids might be able to identify the animals later but they didn't even manage to work out the tracks in the middle photo so that didn't go so well!
Back at the block we parked the bikes then had a proper swim before loading the dog into Su's car and heading for the ferry. As part of the plan I was now driving the Merc...
The Merc is a classic. The steering wheel is really thin and its dashboard is full of dials and indicators. It is automatic but has gears on the 'tree' which I never quite worked out but luckily the guy directing me onto the ferry was able to dive to safety in time and I managed to stop before me and the Merc flying off the other end of the ferry! It also comes with windscreen wipers which I couldn't work out how to turn off so I drove all the way home under blue skies with them swishing away!
Anyway - it was a great 30 hours! Thanks Su and Bruny Island (and my tolerant family) !
Saturday, 1 December 2012
Ok - I have one confession to make regarding our BESteC status. I fear that we may again have actually been SBESteC. The S standing for Second. How could this happen you ask? Well, I give you this photo:
See that girl just in front of Tom at the start? Well she finished a bit ahead of the guys, probably 10 to 15 minutes. But her support crew was often waiting with us for the runners to come through. This was when I noticed that her support crew didn't expect her to have to stop to recieve all manner of support, they ran along beside her offering her drinks and food and services! And not just that, but they had watermelon! Why didn't I think of that? As soon as I saw her flanked by her jogging support crew with slices of watermelon in their hands I knew our race was run and we hadn't won.
I'm sure there'll be a next time though!
So Jon and Tom got of to an early start, without the BEST EVER SUPPORT CREW (BESteC). You might think this would make us not the BESteC but in fact all BESteCs know that you need to give your runners a bit of space at the start to they can get into their stride (and so that you don't have to get up at 5.30am and risk being below par for the rest of the day). Jon took these photos and as you can see my plan was working perfectly. They set off at a comfortable pace and breezed through the first 20k, past the drinks stop they had set up for themselves the night before. ..
then as they ran over the Neck, they saw what would have been the best sight ever...
Yep - us! That's Zali with the box full of energy gels & bars and me with sponges. Yep sponges. Why? cos we're the BESTeC that's why. Jett is sitting next to the 60+ litres of water we were carrying, you know, just in case Tom or Jon needed a bath. Or both even. probably.
And on they went.. we got into a rhythm of driving 5-10km ahead of them and setting up our support station, and they continued their rhythm of steady running with some more running thrown in.
And on they ran right through to the marathon mark.. where they were both looking decidedly worse for wear. I should also mention that they were generally running together or a couple of hundred metres apart the whole way so that made it fairly easy for us. In fact they were also part of a pretty consistent set of runners (although they never saw them) but basically Boardshorts Guy would run past first - thus giving us the heads up, then a few minutes later Pink Socks Girl, then just a few minutes after that, either Tom or Jon would appear with the other of them generally close behind.. This allowed us to set up perfectly - in a manner befitting a BESteC. Behold..
At our Number 1 rated mobile support station we had: water, a chair, energy food, two eski s with real food, a bucket with ice and sponges, sunscreen, scissors for toenail clipping (ugg yes - it's not all beer and skittles for a BESteC), band-aids, towels, and Jon's new secret weapon Stroopwaffles (which having read the ingredients I'm sure wouldn't comply with australian food standards!).
Anyway - after our last stop about 6-7k away from the finish it was time to leave them to themselves for the run home. I'm sure they would have both been thrilled to come out of the trees and see this view in front of them.. (the lighthouse was the finishing point)
Hopefully the views of the sea distracted them from the climb and the howling winds! The last hill was steep but it takes a lot of wind and hills to defeat the BESteC so we parked and climbed up to the top, ready to welcome them home..
and home they came - yay!
Hang on, what's going on in that photo on the right..? let's have a closer look:
Yep - in this weirdly angled photo taken in gale force winds, it looks like all of Jon's hair has blown off onto Tom's head! ha!
All things considered though, in real life (if not in this photo), they finished in pretty good condition. Largely due to the BESteC's efforts no doubt :).
So after giving them time to cool down (took about 2 seconds due to the wind), and each have a little turn sitting in the chair, we all hopped back into the car and drove back to the ferry via Tom's car. Narrowly missing it due to it being full. dang. Not to worry - as that gave Zali and Jett time to sponge down the dusty car with some of our remaining water, much to the envy of the other waiting passengers!
Today Jon ran from the jetty at the northern tip of Bruny Island to the lighthouse on the southern tip. A whopping 64kms. Why? Because Jon wants to run in the Cradle Mountain Race (82km), and to do that you have to qualify by completing an ironman, ultra marathon or other equally arduous tasks. In order for Jon to run the Cradle race in 2014 (as 2013 is already full) he had to run the Bruny Island Ultra today. Got that? Great, we'll continue.
The Bruny Island Ultra is unique in that you can start any time you like after 4am, you just have to finish by 2.30pm. This is because it wouldn't be feasible traffic and ferry wise to have everyone start together. So Jon and Tom (my friend Clare's brother and Jon's occasional running buddy) went to the island on Friday night and started the race together at 6am. Just as me and my support crew were getting up and preparing to catch the 7.45 ferry over.
It was a windy day today. I had originally intended to take my boat over and paddle home but that wasn't going to be feasible - I would have aimed for Kingston but ended up on the Tasman Peninsula.
windy windy windy
So it was just going to be a day of support for me and my crew. In fact, not just support, but I wanted us to be the BEST SUPPORT CREW EVER. This is because when we supported Jon at Wildside earlier this year we were pretty good, but we weren't the best. The lady who set her husband up on a wind-trainer to warm up, while she loaded up the ute around him, was the best. I was maybe second best as I didn't let Jon bring his wind-trainer, OR his bike stand. This time though, I was determined to be the best....