Monthly Archives: December 2009

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A summary of 2009

In the last year I…

  • celebrated the birth of my nephew;
  • had a car accident;
  • had my name printed in a comic book;
  • didn’t go to the Wallabies rugby game in Melbourne – first time I’ve missed a game since I moved to Melbourne;
  • celebrated Melbourne being awarded what will be a Super 15 franchise in 2011;
  • bought a lot of comics;
  • added about 26 new pieces of comic book art to my collection;
  • took some photos;
  • trashed my macbook pro’s battery by accident;
  • got new housemates;
  • learnt some new stuff, forgot some things;
  • discovered Nina Simone;
  • decided most of the music being put out at the moment is absolute crap;
  • discovered the awesomeness that is Avatar: the Last Airbender, Entourage, FlashForward and Castle;
  • felt it was money/time well spent seeing Avatar, Star Trek, Up, The Boat That Rocked, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Watchmen at the cinema;
  • wished I hadn’t wasted my time and/or money on The Spirit, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator: Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and GI Joe: Rise of Cobra;
  • wish I had seen Frost/Nixon, Milk, Let The Right One In, Ponyo, The Soloist, Mao’s Last Dancer and Zombieland;
  • discovered I can’t ski;
  • lost weight, put it back on and am trying to lose it again;
  • messed up a few things at work but it’s okay;
  • meet some new people;
  • had a genuine fan-girl moment when I had my photo taken with Jewell Strait;
  • stood on a beach in California;
  • spent a lot of time missing my peeps in America and was so happy to be able to spend time with them again this year even if it was just a few days.

I visited…

  • Los Angeles;
  • San Fransisco;
  • Seattle;
  • Christchurch;
  • Methven;
  • Sydney.

And because it is all about the bike, I…

  • started riding to work;
  • bought a new bike;
  • have ridden 2610 kilometres on my new bike;
  • rode around 800 kilometres on my old bike but I accidentally reset my bike computer;
  • have clocked up 937.28 kilometres on training rides since October;
  • bought my first ever pair of proper bike shoes;
  • bought a new, decent helmet;
  • have gone through three pairs of bike gloves;
  • wore out a set of brake pads;
  • discovered the joys of and, much to the determent of my finances;
  • replaced my tyres which didn’t really need it;
  • broke my sunglasses on the way home from a ride;
  • bought a pair of Rudy Project Rydons;
  • completed my first recreational ride;
  • rode the furthest I’ve ever ridden, which is 68km;
  • fell off my bike twice – once on the old bike and once on the new bike.

I think that covers it.

What you missed this morning

Borrowing an idea from Wade @ Cycling Tips


I was forced into a week’s break from the bike by getting tonsillitis right before Christmas. But that didn’t stop me from loading my bike into my car for my trip home to see the parents. Shepparton has some of the flattest, straightest roads in Victoria. Actually, I think it’s the flattest place in the state so it makes for some no-brainer riding. It also has some of the prettiest scenery (as illustrated by the photo). There’s just you, the road, the birds and the bloody annoying cross/head winds for half the ride. And maybe the thought running through your head: I wonder if there’s any snakes around?

Every cyclist I saw (all going the other way) waved hello. And the car drivers actually took care when they went went past me. Such a different experience to riding in Melbourne. Well, four kilometres from my parents place put me out in the middle of paddocks. 15 kms put me in the middle of orchards. So yeah, just a little different.

My sort of xmas song

The sunburn has finally faded

Yup, I got crispified last weekend. I underestimated how much I sweat during the ride and I actually forgot to put sunscreen on my legs so now I have nice tan line where my 3/4 length knicks ended below my knee.

The ride itself was… I want to say awesome (because it was) but it felt like more than that to me. I’ve been struggling a bit lately and to actually cross the finish line with my brother and his girlfriend cheering me on was one of the most satisfying and uplifting experiences I’ve had this year. I really felt like I’d achieved something. I’ve done something I thought I never could – although I’m not sure where that thought came from.

I spent some time riding with people and some time riding alone. While I was alone, I thought about how good it felt to be out on my bike. The sun was shining, there were loads of birds tweeting and singing and I could hear the hum of bike tyres on the road. When I was riding with other people, it kinda felt like when I’ve been to America. I was with people who share my passion so I’m free to blather on about riding and not have people look at me funny. We really are a tribe and I do believe there’s a strong separation between those who ride and those who don’t. And you know, I kinda feel sorry for those who don’t. They have no idea what they’re missing out on 😉

It wasn’t easy though. Dealing with nasty cross and head winds for half of the ride was a pain in the arse and it’s been awhile since I’ve had to slog it out like that. It was hard work but like most hard work, it was satisfying in a strange way.

But the reason I’m sunburnt is because Sunday was race day and my brother was competing. We headed down to the start line to see him off and then decided to drive out to Dookie to cheer him on. It was amazing to see a road race like that. Dad has extensive knowledge of the back roads in the area so we managed to catch the race and get past them on a set of awesome S bends. The first group came through and they were flying. The hum of their tyres on the road was incredible and I have to admit it was exciting. My brother was in the stragglers but still fighting the good fight in horrible cross winds. He looked so pleased and embarrassed to see us standing by the side of the road. So we did it two more times. Like I said, my dad has extensive knowledge of the back roads in the area.

I’m really proud of my brother’s achievements. He didn’t win the race but I think he’s a winner for actually completing the course. It was pretty hot and the winds had kicked up again so it would’ve been such hard going. When the SAG wagon went past us, it was full so apparently quite a few of the cyclists found the going too hard or had mechanical failures. What really got me was that my brother went out there with no spare gear and trusted the tyres he had on his bike would see him through.

However, I was foolish and didn’t put on enough sunscreen so I ended up cooking the backs of my legs with all the standing around in full sunlight. It was really painful in my knee creases but it is my own fault. It’s kinda itchy now which means it’s getting better I suppose.

2009 in 40 questions

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Went to New Zealand and flew Air New Zealand. Their food was terrible!! Entered my first recreational bike ride which I’m doing on Saturday. Broke the 60kms marker on a bike.

2. Did you keep your new year resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I fail to see the point of new year resolutions so therefore don’t make them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my sister. She had a son, Liam, who weighed in at 10.3lbs (!!!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
America and New Zealand.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Less debt! More money to squander on all those things that I want. I can’t complain though. I have a lot less debt then most people.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 30 – day I flew out to America. September 5 – day I flew out to New Zealand with my friends for a group holiday. And I’m thinking December 12 will stick out as well.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Riding to Black Rock for the first time. It always seemed so far away (54kms to be exact) and I thought I’d never be able to do it. I think when I cross the finish line of Scotty’s Ride on Saturday that’ll be a big achievement. Sometimes I think my biggest achievement is the fact that I’m still here. (Not exactly in the most chipper of places right now.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Putting on five kilos over winter. It seems to happen every year. I work insanely hard to lose the weight only to lapse and put it all back on. It’s slowly coming back off now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fell off my bike in July and messed myself up pretty good. Took nearly five months for my right hip to heal. Probably didn’t help that I fell over onto it whilst attempting to learn to ski.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Without a doubt, my bike. Words can’t express how much I love her and cycling in general.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My brother and his girlfriend for coming to get me when I fell of my bike. My brother checked out my bike to make sure she was okay and then they put up with me watching all three seasons of Avatar: the Last Airbender because I couldn’t get off the couch without my hip swelling for about three days.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The moronic cyclists who run red lights, act like idiots on the road and make everyone hate us. And the car drivers who are openly hostile to cyclists.

14. Where did most of your money go?
On my bike and the required accouterments. Also on my trips to America and New Zealand.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
It took a while but I did get super excited about going to America again. The road trip from LA to San Fran was one of the highlights of my year. And it was so wonderful to see everyone and get hugs from them. Plus I got to visit San Fran and discover a city I utterly adore.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Umm… I have no idea. Nothing is springing to mind.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Right now, sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter I think. But it could be about the same
iii. richer or poorer? Way poorer. 2009 has been an expensive year.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Ate better so that I didn’t get so fat! And more cycling. I’m sure I could’ve squeezed more in.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being so hard on myself. I’m my own worst critic and I always think the worst of myself. Hence my riding partner saying he was going to whack me one because he paid me a compliment and I immediately came out with some self-depreciating comment.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With the family as I do every year. Hhmm… time to think about what horror movie I want to watch on xmas eve.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Avatar: the Last Airbender, Entourage, Supernatural, FlashForward, Californication, Castle, Top Gear and Dexter. I also really like Lie to Me even though Tim Roth usually freaks me out. I like Glee too but I can see the novelty wearing off really quickly.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Umm… I really, really enjoyed The True Story of Butterfish by Nick Earls.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I seem to be more about what I know these days then finding anything new.

28. What did you want and get?
A new bike 🙂

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Star Trek. I think I was exactly the audience they were trying to reach. I’m not a Star Trek fan at all but I really enjoyed the movie. Also Up! and District 9. I really looking forward to seeing Avatar at imax.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was at work. My workmates took me out to lunch. We had cupcakes from Little Cupcakes 🙂

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Feeling like I have a better idea of where I’m going and what I’m doing. I feel really directionless at the moment so it’s hard.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Same as last year. Got blue sneakers though.

34. What kept you sane?
It’s debatable that anything has but I must say all the cycling makes me a happier person, most of the time.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ummm… no one is springing to mind.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I’m getting politically lazy because nothing reached out and really grabbed my attention this year.

37. Who did you miss?
I haven’t really missed anyone. It was weird when my brother moved into his house with his girlfriend. I came home to a house that echoed.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Is it terrible that I can’t think of anyone?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009
That I need to have more faith in myself and my abilities. I can do the things I want to if I put my mind to it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Last year it was so easy to come up with something. This year I’m totally stumped.

There are photos from today’s ride

Today I shall wear blue! Waiting at the starting line for the 54km ride.

And we’re off! See you in two and a half hours.

The ride went past my parents’ house with about 2.5kms to go so my dad was waiting out of the front for when I trundled by.

My whole body language in this photo is “Are we there yet?”

My brother and his girlfriend were waiting for me to finish which was extremely nice of them.

He tried to get a photo of me crossing the line but I got too far ahead so there’s no photo. Oh well.

Carol and I rode the second half of the ride together.

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68 kilometres later…

I’ve completed my first recreational ride. It’s also the furtherest I’ve ever ridden. Right now I’m feeling pretty good but rather tired. I feel like I’ve achieved something but I’m not sure what. I suppose cycling is all about personal goals rather than anything that can be measured.

The group I went out with deviated from the course. We did an extra 10 – 15kms which tacked on an extra half an hour on the bike.

Crossing the finishing line was one of the highlights of my year 🙂

First ride tomorrow

I’m nervous.

On the way up, I passed an Audi with two bikes on the roof so no guesses as to where they were heading. I don’t have a roof rack so Lisa propped up on the back seat of my car with her seatbelts on. No way I was taking the risk of getting speared in the head by a bike fork if I had to stop suddenly.

But of course me being me, I just had to ride over a nail on my way home from work and got it firmly wedged in my back tyre. I couldn’t work out what it was at first but I soon realised once I started to work it free and the too familiar hissing of air escaping started. Sigh. But maybe I should think about it as preemptive and tomorrow I won’t have any problems at all. I also managed to get all the way to Bell St before realising I’d left my laptop behind along with my ride bib that I’d specifically put in my laptop bag because I thought I wouldn’t forget it. D’oh! At least it was only Bell St and I could turn around.

This time tomorrow, I’ll have a story to tell.

Does my butt look big in this?

Uh… my butt has gotten bigger. I have a pair of pants that don’t fit any more because my butt and thighs are too big and my jeans which were a little loose are now… decidedly firm. Not exactly sure how I feel about this. I’ve never been particularly hippy and right now I feel like I am even though in comparison to a lot of women I have tiny hips.

I suppose I should be relieved that it’s muscle and not fat.

Anyhoo… my education in hill climbing has started. My problem always was that I never use my gears properly. Before I started riding with someone who was willing to teach me all this stuff, I never used the small front cog which is a bit stupid considering that’s the one you’re supposed to use when riding up hills. I don’t think I’ll ever love ascending but I could definitely get used to the descending which is totally awesome.

My biggest problem is that I’ve convinced myself that I’m a very bad hill climber so I doubt my ability and strength. As soon as I hit a hill, I automatically think it’s going to be too hard and that I’m not going to make it to the top. It’s not going to get any easier for me unless I change the way I think.