Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fare Thee Well - 2014 As It Was

2014 is without doubt the fastest moving year on record!

 Well, for me it certainly was. I am sure I had less than 5 days all year that were chill days, that is, not pre allocated to work or something to do with the kids, the house, trail building or mountain biking. 

First World Problem, yes, I know.

That isn't to say that I didn't have a good time. 

The year started on the right note, with a 4am road ride to see in the new year.

I was soon on holidays with the kids and we spent some time in Canberra and the Snowy Mountains, joined by Gaz and his daughter, Elody.

After a week back at work it was time for some more time off!! Yep, I headed to New Zealand, the South Island to be exact, for a motorbicycling holiday with my little Bro and two of his mates, Wayne and Geoff. This was the culmination of almost 20 years dreaming and we finally decided we just needed to make it happen.

And happen it did! 3900km in 10 days saw us roll all of the passes from West to East and back again as we made our way South down the island. Much great Kiwi beer was consumed and tall tales told....

A rest day in Queenstown was golden.....

Chasing my little Bro, Chillertek...this was as close as I ever got.

The 10 days went all too quickly but I will remember that trip for a long time to as I have a lot of photos to prompt the ageing memory!

Trail building took a huge leap forward this year with a professional contractor cutting our next trail. We only had to plan the route then watch him cut it out. 

Spangled Drongo was born! We then had a huge trail care tidy up day that was well attended by about 40 riders, our best roll up so far.

In fact, we had 2 new trails built in our forest with the latest, Birdwing, going in during early December. It is very new and raw but it is our best effort by quite a ways, so far.

Work took precedence for the middle portion of the year. Well, you have to pay the piper at some stage. Much tooing and froing of the country ensued. 

This was my view for 708.4 hours this year...

The view outside was usually much more interesting.....

And with about 80 nights away from home this year, I tried to keep the fitness up by stepping out at every opportunity....

The kids did much as well. Lucy started high school and to our great relief, loved it. They both played sports. Lucy being in an undefeated Under 12 girls soccer team and Will battling through another Rugby season.

More importantly, they both did quite a bit of mountain biking. 

Lucy took some wins this year. In fact, she won the State Series with a clean sweep of all races...

Pancakes and pies fuel those little engines.

I had a couple of new mountain bikes join the stable this year. 

A new cross country race bike and a new "all rounder", my much anticipated Titanium framed Lynskey 29er to replace my old faithful Giant XTC.

My poor motorbicycle has rarely seen the light of day this year. I guess I may have had it out of the shed 6 times all year. Clearly an unacceptable outcome for such a pretty, old girl. 

I do have some plans for her that involve Chillertek, so watch this space.....

I must thank all of my regular riding buddies for allowing me to ride with them. I appreciate your company, your different outlooks on life and your humour. Thanks for some great rides throughout the's to more in 2015...

Apologies to those that I haven't been able to catch on memory card, you know who you are......

2014 was simply frickin' awesome! I don't see how 2015 can be better, but I know it is going to be bigger, better and hopefully........loooonger.

Cheers and thank you for tuning in this year.

Happy New Year all!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas

I managed to dodge work this year and was able to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in a few years.  It was good to chill out in our old stomping ground for a few days and get to know my nieces a little better. 

Wherever you are,  I trust you are having a nice Christmas too. 

Chillertek and I.

Merry Christmas and a Happpy New Year to all.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday!....It Would Be So Nice....

Yeah, well I couldn't think of another title and Madonna was pretty hot back in the day so that is my tenuous link to bragging about being on holidays. Oh, did I mention that I am on holiday?

Yep, two whole weeks which are flying by at an ever increasing rate. So much so that as I type I only have 2 er 1 days left to run.

The first week was taken care of with a trip to Bali, Indonesia. The plan was to mostly sit by the pool and to let the kids see how lucky they are with regard to how they live. Part A was ticked off the list and I think Part B may have been achieved.

Before leaving home I did manage to take the R1 for a quick local spin, mainly just to top off the fuel tank but to also blow some cobwebs off of it! She still looks good and feels sweet with the new tyres and chain/sprockets that I put on over 2 years ago now. With less than 500km(312mi) in that time. Yes I know, for shame!

Doing the last thing that I want to when on holiday-get on another plane-the kids and I were up bright and early on the Monday morning to catch our Virgin Australia flight to Bali. The flight got away a bit late but we were well looked after by the cabin crew and before we knew it were in fragrant S.E. Asia. A mere hour and a half later(!) and we were through customs and had our luggage, looking for our ride to the hotel. The kids were mightily impressed that there was a guy standing by the exit holding a sign with our name on it. Cheap kudos for Dad!

Rocking into our hotel and the kids were again suitably impressed. 

Especially when they saw the pool.

With a temperature of about 29C and 90 odd percent humidity the pool was a popular hang-out where we wasted a lot of hours.

Reading about riders experiences on this year's Tour Divide in The Cordillera, for some strange reason it seemed a bit hard to come to terms with the cold they experienced during the first 6 days of the race.

The beach club was also visited where the kids were pounded into the course sand by the dumping surf while I sipped a Heineken. Yep, Father Of The Year!

Once the boss managed to drag herself away from work and jumped on a flight, I was able to step out for a couple of early runs along the coast while everyone else slept. Most mornings were cloudy or hazy or both but one was clear and I managed to catch a glimpse of the volcano that lives on the northern end of this little island. Gunung Agung is about 10 000ft high and is pretty impressive when it isn't constantly shrouded in cumulonimbus cloud. 

My run route was along the coast of Nusa Dua and passed many resorts along the way. Most are very impressive looking with a swarm of workers up early combing the lawns and picking up every dropped leaf that may have shaken loose overnight.

As you can imagine, in a 5 star resort the breakfast is pretty decadent. Much expanding of the waistlines took place here...

I won't say "all too soon", it was time to go home as the time was about right but here we were heading home on the red eye flight to Brisbane. Did I mention how much I loathe red eye fights? They are even worse with small kids......

With one recovery day the kids and I loaded up the family Truckster and drove 1000km(620mi) straight to arrive at my parents place for a sleep, then pressed on to our nation's capital, Canberra for a four day visit. This was a special request from the kids as when I asked "what would you like to do for the week"? they responded with "ride Mt Stromlo"! 

Arriving in Canberra at midday, we unloaded the car into our motel room (literally a stone's throw from Parliament house) then as the temperature was a very pleasant 26C(78F) we headed straight up to Mt Stromlo to ride the trails.

The kids started out in the excellent skills park where we passed a large group of Police getting instruction on how to change a flat tyre. Obviously newly appointed Cycle Police, we would see them a few times during our ride being instructed on various techniques.

Stromlo was dry and dusty but fun as usual and the kids punched out 15km around the trails before we decided it was time for a rest.

There are always plenty of Grey Kangaroos around Stromlo and the couple in this photo were HUUUGE! They would have been at least 50kg(110lbs) and stood as high as Lucy. No wonder she baulked and I crashed into the back of her when she saw them!(about 0.2 sec after I took this photo)

My NEW Lynskey Ridgeline got it's first roll on the dirt here and I must say it felt nice. Much of the componentry comes from my faithful but now retired Giant XTC29er however, the wiiide bars, grips and XT brakes are new, adding to that new bike feel. 

After several hours that seemed to go in no time whatsoever, spent in the Australian War Memorial we headed out for a roll around Canberra and in particular, the Embassies that were close to our motel.

View from War Memorial towards Parliament house(can just make out flag pole on top of hill)

We started out by riding around "The Lodge". This is the Prime Minister's residence and it is really just like any other house in the suburb, just with a high stone wall around it. To think that you can ride the narrow footpath with your handlebar 10cm(4in) from the boundary is amazing. We didn't stop for a photo here though as after the events in Sydney a few days prior I was sure that security would be very sensitive even though we were clearly just a dad and his kids out for a ride.

So, we started with the Phillippine Embassy where Lucy decide to fix up here sleeves while virtually leaning on the front gate. Not cool!

Across the road and the Turkish Embassy was next for a photo stop. Despite my telling the kids just to stay at the kerb, they rode right up to the gate. Out of the speaker box by the gate came a "Hello? Hello? Who is that?" Too close kids, just stay on the street!

We spent a very pleasant 30 minutes cruising the streets looking at all of the embassies and the kids were super excited by doing it at their own pace and under their own steam.






Obviously British...

South African.


Where are we....?

We ended up in the centre of town for pizza and a lemonade, then cruised around Lake Burley Griffin dodging rabbits and joggers. 

We rolled home under lights via first Old Parliament House, then Parliament House. 

Normally the kids ride right up onto the forecourt near the front doors (and Will does a skid!) but again, after the weeks events in Sydney I told the kids it was best not to press our luck. But how good is it that places like our National Parliament are so accessible?

Well, that pretty well rounds out my 2 week break from work and as I finish this up I am off to work in the morning.

Thanks for checking in and also to those loyal followers, thank you for following along and commenting on here. I do enjoy reading the comments and reflecting on how others see my goings on. 

 I may have some more exciting (to me at least) things to talk about and I will try to get back to a more regular flow next year. That is a threat! ;)

Cheers and Merry Christmas.