Monday, 28 September 2009

When Weekends go Wrong...

It’s Monday and I have a worse than usual case of Mondayitis. I fact I’m in the foulest mood imaginable, despite the lovely view from work, of snow-laden Brindabellas.

Weekends are for recharging your batteries so that you can face the next working week refreshed and full of zing. Unfortunately, my zing has zung.

A horrid concatenation of events has left me feeling flatter than a beehive hairdo in a hail-storm.

Add the howling winds and icy rain that kept me off the bike all weekend to the temperatures hovering around 5-6C all weekend. Combine that with inadequate heating at home, a lack of comfort food and – the final straw – a 2.30am wake-up, courtesy of thinks-he’s-a-ninja-cat, Oscar bin Laden.

When I was a teacher, windy weather always brought out the devil in my students. They’d be off the scale naughty. It seems to have had the same effect on Oscar. How else to explain it?

There I was, actually asleep (I don’t sleep well at the best of times) at 2.30am.

Galumph galumph galumph… a blood-curdling yowl… and 6 kilos of thinks-he’s-a-ninja cat launches itself from the floor to my chest, landing with a thud that knocks the breath out of me and probably cracks my sternum. Thank god I’m under several layers of bedding in this freezing weather, or no doubt his razor-sharp ninja claws would’ve shredded my PJs and my delicate little self inside them.

Wide awake, I get my breath back, slow my racing heartbeat and nurse my bruised sternum. Thinks-he’s-a-ninja-cat has taken himself off somewhere to plot his next attack.

Not if I get him first.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Spring Riding and Bug-Splats

It must be spring – the number of bugs splatting on my visor has increased a thousandfold!

This weekend I decide to spend some time out on the bike, to give the new Arai lid another long day on my head – it gave me a shocking earache last time.

So – on Saturday I gear up and head off nice and early to do the Canberra-Crookwell-Goulburn-Bungendore-Canberra loop (roughly 300kms)

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By the time I get to Goulburn to top up the fuel, pulling the helmet off over my earplugged ears is so painful I nearly scream. Hmmm. Not good. Out with the earplugs, back on with the lid, and I head on the homewards leg of the trip. It’s pretty windy, and the noise inside my helmet is phenomenal. I thought an Arai would be quieter than my old Nolan – but it’s not, and it has some annoying little whistles when my head’s at a certain angle.

That sort of discomfort doesn’t actually decrease the tension through my shoulders or neck. This helmet is proving to be a bit of a challenge. If it wasn’t so gorgeous I’d bin it.

I need some serious cornering practice. I’m surprised how rusty my cornering has become, despite riding every day. Obviously I’ve been spending too much time on highways. So…. Where to go, to get some cornering time? I don’t like the Cotter because it’s full of boy racers, bicycles and 4WDs on weekends. Besides, I feel a bit like a hamster in a wheel going round and round the Cotter loop – I’d rather actually go somewhere.

View Larger Map

So on Sunday I head to Boorowa and out to Wyangala Dam, to take my annual photo of the water level (see what an exciting life I lead?) Everything looks so green out that way, and there are startling swathes of brilliant yellow - fields of canola in bloom – and hills covered in vibrant purple – Patterson’s curse. Last time I was in Boorowa it was about 40C, and everything was a crispy brown. What I can actually see on Sunday, through the crust of bugs on my visor, is lovely. It comes as a surprise, then, to see that the water levels in Wyangala appear even lower than they were last summer.
Wyangala Dam - March 07

Wyangala Dam - December 07

Wyangala Dam - March 08

Wyangala Dam - September 09

There are bearded lizards skittering across the road (some more successfully than others) and a lot of Superb Parrots with an obvious death-wish, playing chicken with my bike. I’m having a ball! The only roos I see are the sad stinky heaps by the side of the road – the losers in the battle with cars - and in the fields there are fat contented mummy sheep standing around while bouncy long-legged lambs skip and gambol in bucolic ecstasy.

Heading home, I give my visor a bit of a clean at the Court House Hotel back in Boorowa and guzzle an orange juice. A bloke at the bar strikes up a conversation and tells me the road from Boorowa to Crookwell is sealed all the way now. Why not? I think, and come home the long way, tee hee, collecting another million bugs on my visor as I go. It’s been a 466km day, my ear hurts, my shoulders and neck ache and my jacket is covered with the yellow guts of more suicidal bugs. Lovely!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Getting the Toad on the Road

It's been a while. The Toad – Pete's Harley – has been sitting in his shed for a couple of years now. Sad. But all that's about to change! He'll be on the road in time to ride to Phillip Island for the motoGP, and yesterday was the first step in the great Get the Toad on the Road adventure.

I was up at sparrow's, and on the road by 6am, very excited about road-testing my new helmet - an Arai Vector. Pete was still fast asleep by the time I got there at about 10.15 - what a surprise, ha ha!

Seeing as the poor old Toad has been languishing in the shed for so long, Smack (he in Hobart, known for his evil t-shirts and his many Ducatis) decided Pete needed a bit of a kick-start with the job – pulling the trike apart is not a job for one person - so he sneakily engaged the help of some bike blokes from a net forum, BIKE ME!

So - Daytona Man, Spotted Quoll and Tim lobbed at Pete's place around the middle of the day and got the job well underway. Smack, the brains behind the operation, wasn't able to make it, so the rest of us ate the pea and ham soup he had requested. (I kept a couple of portions in the freezer for you Smack!)

There was much beer-witching and much hilarity. A bunch of blokes sitting in a shed, pulling a bike to bits, drinking beer and talking about – you guessed it, bikes – on a glorious sunny Saturday – does life get any better?

It will, as soon as Pete puts the bike back together again!

Thanks Smack, for being so sneaky ;-) and thanks guys, for your muscle, your know-how, your hard work and your good company!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Boomerang Boy tries something new - and Betty becomes a bogan!

Earlier this year Boomerang Boy said he would take a break from rugby this season. I can't say I was sorry. He's had some impressive bruises and injuries over the last ten years, and my nightmares still resound with the awful thwack of flesh against flesh out there on the killing fields of thugby-land. Their necks! Their bones! Their thick skulls! Truly a mother's nightmare!

'So', I said, trying hard (and failing) to disguise my glee at the news. 'That's nice, dear. A break will do you good.'

He was almost dancing with glee of his own. 'I'm going to try something else!'

He finally blurted out that he was taking up Pro-Wrestling. Forgive me, I laughed - uproariously and for quite a long time.

'Well, you've got the build for it,' I finally wheezed. Boomerang Boy weighed an impressively blubberful 126kgs - a lightweight compared to some of the heart-attacks-waiting-to-happen that he played thugby with, but a bit of a steamroller on the field. It wasn't a great look.

Anyway, he signed up with the Pro-Wrestling Alliance Canberra and started training twice a week.

The unthinkable happened. THIRTY KILOGRAMS melted away! AND – Boomerang Boy, the Junk Food Junkie, the Carbohydrate Kid, the Maccas Maniac (you get the general idea) suddenly got interested in eating healthy food and sculpting his muscles, rather than just packing on some scrum-pushing pork!

He had his first gig last Saturday. Our old neighbours from Sydney, the lovely Wilson-Custs, came down for moral support -

and between us we made up “Rookie Southpaw Steve's personal peanut gallery” out at Woden Tradies. We yelled and booed and cheered, and were the biggest bogans ever – and had the best time! Steve was defeated, and ended up flat on his back on the mat, but it didn't matter. He looked mean – he's going to be an impressively scary wrestler, scowling and snarling his way around the ring – and I can see now why the lard has just melted off him. They're an athletic and acrobatic bunch, these wrestlers!

Oh – and while they look pretty mean, they don't seem to do half the damage to one another that the thugby lads do. That makes me a very happy mum.