Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oz

"Just another nasty reminder that it's not just about Skittles and Beer"
-Aussie rider on one of the last steep hills before Melbourne.


I had heard from Rick B. who had heard from Sophie M. and I had told Kole that there was going to be a Walkabout and Dreamtime. I first confirmed that we would be sparing not spearing any encountered wallaroos and I was in. It was easy to convince Chris Rogers, Organizer of the 2009 inaugural run of the Sydney to Melbourne Alpine 1200, since we were "internationals" and not only were the Audax Australia membership fees waived, we paid for the Randonee on arrival to Sydney. In Oz they are relaxed about that sorta stuff.
Kole and I, we split up the logistics. I handled the planes, trains and youth hostels, Kole assured our near flawless navigation in a Continent Country which both of us had no prior knowledge of, through scores of email and Bike Route Toaster. When we got the route sheet only a few days before we left, Kole had the "TCX Courses" up and distributed to all the "internationals" the same day. Great! I was not in for "bonus miles" in the great Outback.

We were set! Just one problem, how to get rollers on the commuter that took us from SEA to LAX so that Kole could ride to the ride. I had choosen an 8 hour lay over in Los Angeles over a 11/2 hour one to reduce the chance of arriving without our bikes in Sydney. and with time in our hands on Thanksgiving Wednesday we greeted a Turkey that just received a Presidential Pardon.

In the hoopla we met Janet and Johnny returning home on the same flight, who gave us already a warm feeling about the Aussies.

Fairly restful slumber on the long flight, shortly after a winter 300k (Monroe-Marblemount-Monroe) I woke to this view out of the window just before landing in Sydney.

But knowing that there was no time for Sun and Surf or a drink with an umbrella in it (we left Wednesday and got there Friday). We got ourselves quickly to our Hostel and Oooh it was small for 2 men and their bikes.

Bikes built, we tried our hands at riding on the wrong side of the road and it was time to go meet Bindi who had kindly e-mailed the "internationals" and informed us about "Critical Mass".

We found her were she said she would be "hugging the fountain" in the park and we had a chance to improve our skills riding on the left on the one day that bikes are allowed to ride in the car lanes across the harbour bridge.

There were several distractions but we were getting a hang of it and thanks to Bindi and several Aussie riders we got safely back to our little hole in the wall while enjoying our first sunset in the Land Down Under.

Saturday was housekeeping and we took the train which was essentially in our backyard with our unwieldy bike boxes to Lindseys house. Super Host Lindsey! and Nice home, there was lots of beer and chips, no Skittles though. We completed our business with Audax Australia and Bindi helped with a great exchange rate (dollars). Took the train home, bed early.

Sunday early at the Opera House, almost zero hour.

For those magnificent men and women and their flying machines.

Chris Rogers reminded us that it was a social ride (indeed) and we were off, The Sydney Chapter of Audax led us in a large peloton out of Sydney and then you were on your own.

At my pace I felt quite certain that she was not referring to me.

But as we got deeper into the big open country, I admit I started to feel rather small.

Thanx Audax Australia

2 comments:

ritchierogers said...

Well done Vinnie ! You little hum-dinger !!! CR

belinda said...

Oooohhhh...I got three mentions! Hi Vinnie, glad you had fun and felt welcome down here in the land of Oz. Congrats on the big award- that's an amazing achievement! See you again someday. Bindi.