Monday, October 21, 2013

Around the Bay

Well, it's been done. I rode the 100km Melbourne-Frankston-Melbourne route yesterday with thousands of my closest friends. 

The outward journey was wind assisted (woo-hoo), meaning the return journey was wind-hindered (boo-hoo). 50km into a gusting headwind is quite the challenge. 

Including a 30 minute break in Frankston I managed a time of 4h 24min over the journey. Pretty happy with that. 

There are heaps of touring rides such as the Around the Bay. Most are just as well organised and are not as crowded. Many also present a more challenging course. I don't know at the moment if I'd do the Bay again or find a new challenge. But one thing I do know is that I thoroughly enjoyed being out there :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back on the bike

I bought a new bike! Mind you, it was back in July, but hey! It's an alloy framed, carbon forked, 20 speed road bike from Cell Bikes. And I love riding it. Here's a stock photo. 

I've already clocked up over 1,000km since I've returned to my cycle commuting adventures and this coming weekend I'll be riding a further 100km in the annual Around the Bay in a Day ride. I'm doing the Melbourne-Frankston- Melbourne route with some friends. Can't wait. 

While I'm talking about cycling, I'm currently riding in The Great Cycle Challenge during October to raise money for kids cancer research. I've already raised over $400, but they can always do with more. You can go here to donate:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's been happening?

The week after I wrote my last post I was hit by a car while cycling home from the train station after work. It hurt. Today marks my first day back at work since that fateful day. 

I was travelling along Morris Rd (about 1km from home) and a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction turned in front of me to turn into his street. I sustained a broken arm, broken finger, lacerated knee, a cracking concussion and multiple other minor injuries. The bicycle and helmet are also cactus. 

I was transported by ambulance to the Alfred hospital where I underwent surgery on Anzac Day to put me together again. They did a pretty good job ;)

Luckily Karen's parents were visiting from Sydney at the time and were able to extend their stay. Once I got home there still wasn't much I could do. 

Karen, her parents, many friends from scouts, bowls and the community in general have been great and I thank you all. We're extremely fortunate to be part of such a caring community. 

Fast forward to today and I'm on the train returning to work for the first time since the accident. It's feel like I'm starting a new job, but not quite so scary. 

In the days and weeks to come I'll be building up my strength and purchasing a new bicycle with a view to continuing my commuting. Slow and steady. 

Thanks for listening. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Camping at Grenville

At Easter we were very fortunate to be invited camping by good friends of ours, Adam and Jenny.

Jenny's extended family has a 1,000ha merino sheep property at Grenville. For the uninitiated, Grenville is just south of Buninyong which is just south of Ballarat.

We packed the camper with our belongings and headed out in convoy with Adam/Jenny and Phil/Kerrie. The three carloads of us would meet up with Jenny's parents and her sister and brother in law. 18 people in total.

I couldn't find my way back there unassisted. A combination of being over the other side of the Westgate Bridge and a whole bunch of country back roads meant I had no idea where I was nor where I was headed. Thank goodness Adam and Jenny were leading.

About 10 minutes from our destination we came across a bloke who had managed to get his 4WD twin cab ute stuck by going off road in an attempt to go around a tree that had fallen across the road. Lucky for him there were three strong blokes and a chainsaw to help him out!

Shortly after doing our good deed for the day we arrived at the farm and set to work establishing the camp site and putting up the camper. Thank goodness we elected not to bother with the annex this time. Job done in about 20 minutes :)

The property is not totally cleared, so there are several areas that are perfect for camping. We were nestled in among some gum trees and a great big spread of ferns. It was lovely.

Apart from breakfast, Jenny had put together a menu and catered for everybody. This made meal time very simple and communal. Jenny went as far as to bring a few house bricks and two tubs of clay from her back yard. What for, I hear you say? To build a wood fired pizza oven. And it worked a treat. Wood fired pizzas, in the bush from a newly constructed oven. Magnificent.

Jenny's father, Tim, is a keen shooter and was kind enough to teach Patrick how to shoot a rifle and shotgun as well as to reacquaint both Karen and myself with firearms. First was an afternoon of clay target shooting at which we all managed to hit some targets! Bonus. Over the course of the weekend we went spotlighting for rabbits using a .22 rifle. Karen and Patrick both tried their hand at rabbit shooting, however the offending rabbits were spared their lives on this occasion. While I didn't take a turn at shooting rabbits I did manage to catch 3 - barehanded. What a thrill!

During our visit we took a drive to Buninyong for lunch one day, rode our bikes around the property and the kids made their own fun just like we used to do as kids. It was a great way to spend the Easter break and for that we thank everybody for their hospitality and friendship, especially Jenny and family for inviting us to share Easter together.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Summer 2012/13 - a retrospective (part 4)

Patrick's trip to the orthodontist was full of happy news. On our return from Tidal River, Patrick would have his braces removed and be fitted for a retainer. One happy little 14 year old.

A couple of days later, after the kids had caught up with friends, we headed to Tidal River at Wilsons Promontory for 9 days of camping with our good friends Leisa and Kevin with their kids Hamish and Siobhan. After the hectic nature of the previous month, this camping trip was our time to rest.

Apart from from one very windy night (in which Leisa and Kevin's tent was destroyed) the weather was generally good and we had a great time. It was the second time we'd been camping there and it was just as enjoyable this time. We managed to take in more of the walks and even made use of the outdoor cinema on occasion. It's a lovely place and we'll be going back again. We even bumped in to our neighbours. Small world.

So that was our action packed summer and it's only taken me until late March to get it all on the blog :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Summer 2012/13 - a retrospective part 3

Upon our return from Wollongong Viv, Brian, the kids and I took a trip to Taronga Zoo. That place is always being renovated, like most tourist attractions, and it was amazing to see the changes since we were last there.

Over the next couple of days we just tried to stay out of the heat and one day went to see a movie and just hung out.

Karen and Patrick returned at about 7am one morning after a massive road trip from Maryborough, and they were both glad to be home. We were all keen to hear their stories and they were keen to catch up on some sleep and stay inside in the cool after the heat of tropical Qld. By all accounts they had a great time.

After a couple of days it was time to head home for Patrick's orthodontist appointment and our 9 day family camping trip to Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory.

More to come in part 4.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Bowls - A 2012/13 season wash-up

Running from October to March, the lawn bowls season is not for the faint of heart. This season saw our club with teams in Divisions 3, 4 and 7. This was on the back of one relegation and two promotions the previous year from Divisions 2, 5 and 8.

The grand plan was to get the Division 3 team promoted back to Division 2 and consolidate the other two teams in their new Divisions.

After having played in the top side for several years in various positions I was given the opportunity to skip a rink in the second side this season. I was a bit nervous initially, but over the course of the season I grew into the role and finished up with 11 wins from 14 appearances with an average winning margin of 5 shots. Not a bad start.

The second side finished third on the ladder and played finals - but fell short of promotion (which isn't all bad). It was a great season and exceeded the expectations of many. The third side finished seventh and remain in Division 7 as per the plan. Consolidation achieved.

The top side dropped two games for the entire season and finished at the top of the ladder by quite a margin. They then went on to win their semi-final thus gaining promotion back to Division 2.

Grand plan achieved. What a season!

Summer 2012/13 - a retrospective part 2

After catching up with Oskar, Robyn, Kylie, Jack and others at the Opera Bar it was time for me to catch a train to Wollongong where I'd stay with Dad for a few days while I bowled in the annual South Pacific Bowls Carnival.

An old school mate of mine, Dean, teams up with me in the pairs and I also played in the singles this year. It's a massive tournament and the standard of bowls is awesome. I/we didn't win our sections but we did beat the eventual section winners.

After that it was back to Sydney for a short while before bidding farewell to Karen and Patrick as they headed North to Maryborough and Australian Jamboree 2013 (or AJ2013 as referred to by scouts).

With over 11,500 scouts and about 2,500-3,000 leaders, it's a massive event! With off site activities including a day trip to Australia Zoo, entertainment each night in the arena such as Tim-O-Matic, Cosentino, Justice Crew, Jessica Mauboy and much more the scouts and leaders had a ball. Apart from the high temperatures and humidity I'm led to believe it was a great experience and one they'll be talking about for years to come.

While Karen and Patrick were away, Angus and Owen came with me back to Wollongong to stay with Dad for a few days while Lily had some Nanna and Grandad one-on-one time. The boys and I went for a big bike ride with Dad from his place in Bellambi to Wollongong and back, stopping for lunch along the way. It's a similar ride that I used to do all the time as a kid and the boys loved it - so did Dad. That night Linda joined us for dinner at a lovely local Italian restaurant.

The next day the four of us headed to Jamberoo Action park with what seemed like half of the population. While it was super busy and some lines were ridiculously long, we had a great day and kept cool. It would be a great day out with half as many people there!

The next day was our last in Wollongong and before we headed North back to Sydney the boys and I visited the Wollongong Science Centre - it's like a little Scienceworks. It was fantastic and well worth the visit. Another benefit of being a Melbourne Museum member is that we got free entry :)

So that was our Wollongong trip. To be continued.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Summer 2012/13 – a retrospective (part 1)

As it often does, our summer started with a road trip North along the Hume Hwy from Melbourne to Sydney on a typically stinking hot summers day. Being in the air conditioned comfort of the car was a good place to be as it turns out. It’s a pity we had to cover 800+ km in the day!

After a couple of stops and making pretty good time, we arrived and Viv and Brian’s in the early evening on 23rd December. After quickly disembarking the children and Banjo (the cat) from the car we emptied the trailer and headed inside to more air conditioned comfort.

Xmas Eve saw me working remotely while everybody else was doing some last minute shopping and all the other normal Xmas Eve things. In the evening we took a stroll past the Christmas lights in Cumberland Road, Greystanes before turning in for the night and letting the jolly fellow in the red suit work his magic?

Ang and Simon joined the assembled throng for Xmas Day and the children’s present opening began. The boys all received longboards while Lily is now the proud owner of a three storey Barbie house/apartment/condo. They are all in love with their gifts.

After the kid’s had taken centre stage it was now time for the adults to receive their gifts. This was a much less raucous affair, but equally well received.

Xmas lunch of ham, salads and other assorted sides was served, and then the boys couldn’t wait any longer and had to ride their new skateboards. No injuries this time!

27th December saw me catching up with some ex C&L colleagues from years ago at the Opera Bar on the Sydney Opera House forecourt - what a location!

More to come.