Recon for New Routes around Sydney East

Another brilliant sunrise in Sydney wakes us up today. Instead of enjoying a coastal ride, Im eating a late breakfast. Apart from a commute about town, I’ve opted for a needed rest day. I think this is deserved after my last few days of riding. Speaking of which, how awesome was the population of riders meeting at Rapha yesterday? The groups were divided into 4, each taking the riders to coastal views and hills. My choice was the Coogee to Maroubra 30km route, which I extended to about 80km.

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The ride took me to some unknown pockets where I found an awesome new track, and explored some unfamiliar streets. It breaks up a bit of the monotony that happens on longer familiar solo rides.How is this for some off road riding?

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ImageAfter my hours accrued on the saddle, I ate cake. Not just any cake, but a healthy, gluten free carrot cake with heaps of nuts and quinoa. Wholly Molly, what an awesome recovery fuel. Much better than the protein shake I consumed later.

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There are a few days before I head to LA. and I want to get as many km’s into the legs as possible. My foam roller is getting a good work out & with a deep tissue massage booked for tomorrow, I think I’m pretty well prepped for the 800km adventure. Just me & my sunnies, my bike, and the Pacific coastline.

The Amsler Grid

 

ImageI usually wake in the dark. Like most people who love to ride, getting out of bed at this time is habit. Though it never feels normal. Waking in the light brings a different experience. My eyes open to a white ceiling above me distorted by the dots of MD. After a minute, and my retinas adjusts to the flood of light, the missing spaces glue themselves back together and I move on with the morning routine.

On request a few years back the MDFA sent information along with a grid called the Amsler Test. Marc Amsler wasn’t an abstract artist, but a Swiss Ophthalmologist dude who wanted to simplify the test of retinal function. I own a copy of Mr Amslers work, and it sits on my fridge. You can use the online versions to check each eye and see if you have distortions or missing areas. If this is the case, visit your eye doctor to check your vision.

So, now I successfully checked my retina with no difference than yesterday, I’m off for a solo pedal.

An update with photos of my progress are to follow …

Festive Feast and Raffle Time

If we need an excuse to party like its 1999, raising funds & awareness for a worthy cause is a good one. A few nights ago a festive feast was held at the Sydney Cycle Club in Sydney to raise support for those with Macular Disease.

Talking has never been Paul's IssueMy friend BigMan Paul visiting from New Zealand – the night could not have had a better MC

The best of cooking was performed by Kate, Betti, Klara, Dora, Paul, Ben & the unforgettable chocolate cakes by awesome Shaun. Everything was vegetable oil free & home-made. Unbelievably good!

Lots of raffles were given &, thanks to Bondi’s Kemenys for their amazing discount on alcohol, we had excessive drink to finish. A return party is required to complete this mission.

Norwex Winner! (with Dave)Norwex Winnings!

Bikebug were truly fantastic supporters. Every gift bag included a bikebug.com $20 voucher, not to mention SIS gels, Farmer Jo muesli & Allpress Coffee. Why did I pick these companies? Because they are my favorites. Local maker Farmer Jo does the most incredibly yummy organic breakfast cereals, including the gluten-free option – scrummy with fresh yoghurt and bananas. And, as a supplier of coffee for Rapha, Allpress Coffee is seriously the finest Bean Roaster in town. I have a few packs of their beans to get through customs & I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

BigMan Paul MC

BigMan Paul MC with Gift Bags

Its been a hard few days to get over the event and back into a routine. So this post has been sadly delayed. My lovely friend Libby deserved an immediate thank you for her eloquent speech on Macular Disease, its prevalence, and the needed support for the MDFA.

Abby, Libby & James

Abby (Lululemon Yoga Mat Winner!), Super Lady Libby & James

The best supporters helped the night’s success, and I would be amiss to leave out their names: Bikebug, Westfields Bondi Junction, SpecSavers Randwick, BikeLab, Bondi Bikes, Allpress, Farmer Jo, Kemenys, Norwex, Vision Personal Training Bondi Junction, Lululemon & Libby Design. Thank you for the warmest, generosity of 50 guests, and the awesome Rapha Team who held the event – who served, cleaned and provided the best hospitality I could ever have wanted. Klara, Matt, Lina, Shaun & Danny – you are absolute gold. xx

Spreading the word about Macular Disease has never been more important and, if I succeeded by having every guest talk about it beyond the party room, then I feel very satisfied indeed.

Good Morning & Thanks for the Ride

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(photo of Rapha crew stolen from Tom Wallis, thanks tom)

Leading an unfamiliar bunch can take a few km’s to ascertain the general riding level. But, thanks to a good amount of calling and a great sense of fun, our group today was instantly cohesive. I had a fantastic bevy of 8, keen to shake up our normal route. Chatting & laughing through Centennial Park started our cycle to Maroubra. The beach never fails to make you feel good. We passed a few ocean views that made me question if this was the best time and place in the world.

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You can just make out Beach St following up the center of the above photo. That incline offers a distinct chorus of sounds. Our GPS systems chimed, heart rate monitors beeped, turning wheels offered rhythm accompanied by wayward huff & puff. I love this quiet. Beach St makes you work together but, simultaneously, carve your own path. Thanks for another awesome ride guys & gals.

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Now I’m cooking up a meringue frenzy. Tomorrow is the Pedal All Day fundraiser and its going to be a bonanza night. Festivities, raffles, food and music with gift bags and fantastic company should keep everyone happy. Hope your coming.

This morning I cycled in Centennial teaching benefits of smooth and efficient gear changing.

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I enjoy passing on knowledge. I could have done with a little when I started out. With that sort of thinking in mind, I recently succumbed to advice that, for months, echoed on the lips of many well-educated and sensible contacts. ‘Alison’, they said ‘you should do yoga.’ For years Ive been saying ‘yes yes, I’ll do it’. So last week I stopped procrastinating and jumped into the pan to experience Bikrim.

This is no ordinary yoga, its the kind that fries your eyes up like quail eggs on a hotplate. I just ate a few cheese balls, so I’m not in a position to educate the lasting detox effects of yoga. But I can share one piece of advice. When they tell you ‘our towels are big and they cost $1 to borrow’, don’t hold on to your conveniently carbon-light tea towel to save a penny. This isn’t about a fear of you smearing yourself all over their communal yoga mats. Its about you not having your nose directly in contact with the smell of what, in probability, is a little of everyone who used it before you. Mats aside, the actual yoga is addictive, and I plan to endure it a few times before I leave for the Pedal All Day Experience.

1 girl 4 boys & 3 gorges

ImageI love riding with boys.  I can’t help it. I’ve read that most women enjoy the social aspect, which I understand too. But I also totally get that macho responsive need to whip lycra butt. I must sadly confess to slight euphoric sensations when my group of ‘rogue riders’ take on a peloton of logo emblazoned big-boys. With my two crazy Italian friends often taking lead, I push boundaries of my riding. And this is the best. You can always push pedals harder or faster, turn quicker and descend better. Small tricks and skills are only improved through experience and risk. Its not something that happens on all my groups. Its not even something I need every time I ride. But I’m really lucky to have found such a variety of people with skills and styles.

The plan with the boys yesterday was to explore the three gorges – Galston Goprge, Berowra & Bobbin Head. We succeeded to get a few pic’s along the way. This is such a gorgeous area – both stunning and at times technical. Image

This 120km from Sydney includes many sharp, deep descents followed by curvy steep inclines.

 

Three Gorges - Galston, Berowra, Bobbin Head

Three Gorges – Galston, Berowra, Bobbin Head

I like to conserve my energy and up the bigger hills I’m prone to the Cadel Evans grind. I patiently wait for the other cycling testosterone-fueled enthusiasts to burn out before any last hilly bends. A bit of a nod and a smiley ‘good morning to you’ sadly boosts my ego. I do refrain from throwing my arms up, but a bit of a fist pump doesn’t go astray. Yes, our bums may need different chamois, and my handlebars may indeed be smaller than yours, but when I whip butt I can later embellish and boast over my win with a dark beer as good as any of the boys. And don’t get me started about ‘female specific’ stuff. Eeek, that’s a pothole I can break a spoke in during a future post.Image

Training Ride

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I always love the adventure ‘mystery’ rides on Friday. I get to visit the beach, see the sunrise and be in the company of the most fabulous group of cycling women. Today our experimental bunch made it to Maroubra via Coogee Coastline.

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The most magnificent views wait on the top of some seriously feisty hills around this area. The dozen of us carved those lumps on Alison Road like pro’s. And, while Beach Street threw up its nasty high-grade incline, the unsuspecting battlers won the day. Getting our breath back we pedaled on towards what we affectionately call, the Wall. This one is a grating steep ‘pain in the butt’ if you start on the wrong gear. Um. not too many did that.. moving on.

ImageIts good to look around and smell the roses. We reached Maroubra Beach and noted the blue ocean patiently waving at us. After getting a photo of our general awesomeness we pushed back to the Rapha Cycle Club. That Allpress Coffee gang roasting here in Sydney definitely make the hills worth climbing.

Thanks girls. I’m not sure you were aware of participating in my personal training regime – the smiles in those photos imply I failed to make you work hard enough 😉

 

Morning Glory and Sunglasses

So, the cells of my retina are being destroyed. Someone once said, ‘in times of destruction, create something’. Ive decided to create a growing population of sunglasses on my fridge. I count a dozen, and i don’t know where most of them come from. Most are seriously butt ugly and I can’t explain why at some point in time somebody actually chose to pay for them.

But, glasses keep out the sun, and good glasses protect eyes from ultra-violet and blue wavelength radiation. That’s a necessary combination for anyone spending hours outside.

My favorite riding specs are Salice Hot Pink 006 with the photochromic lenses. Image

They’re awesomely light. My head never grew beyond the size of a 4 year old. So its a pain to find anything to fit. These lookers do, and they come with:

  • Replaceable CRX – Photochromic lens adapts to changing light conditions
  • UV400 lens rating ensures protection against 100% of UVA, B and C rays
  • Anti-glare lens coating

Every ingredient is a good one. They may not be carbon, and they may not turn me into Liz Hatch, but they’re awesome anyhow.

PEDAL ALL DAY – Hills and… more hills

A fantastic 100km ride to Bobbin Head yesterday threw plenty of training hills into the mix. But today was also a great local ride round SouthHead Rd and up Vaucluse way with my favorite Monday training partner Abby.

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As you can see, we enjoyed a coffee that waited for us in Maroubra. I keep being told to enjoy the spoils of Australian brew, because when I step off the Sydney tarmac I can kiss this goodbye. Surely it can’t be worse than the fake-milk variety I experienced in Germany?

Tomorrow, I ride to Palm Beach…Image