Monday, 7 January 2008

I'm a lumberjack...

A few years ago, up at Bright supporting some friends doing the Alpine Classic, I was out riding with a female acquaintance and a couple of male friends (one of whom was Mr Legs, soon to be my partner, as a matter of fact. Poor bugger). Ms Gottabefaster commented that whilst we were JUST keeping up with the guys, we were on our little chain wheels, the guys cruising along on their big plates. Her punchline: “What hope do I have stuck on this little chain ring? When they hit the hammer we are gone.” I didn’t really get what she meant, thinking well, dontchya just flick it up onto the big chain ring and pedal some more? But after Saturday’s post SE ergo ride, I think I get it.

On the ride out, down Maroondah to Bridge Road, I rode predominantly on the big chain ring, whether the road went up or down, and didn’t notice it too much, feeling pretty comfortable pushing the bigger gear out (although it is mostly downhill, despite the uphills trying to make up for that). A couple of weeks ago, I would have been predominantly on the little chain ring, “resting” my leg after a nasty ergo workout. On Saturday, riding the big chain ring felt pretty much the same as riding the little one had a few weeks back. It wasn’t until we were nearly home, after 60km of riding, that heat and fatigue (from the previous night’s ergo efforts) hit me and I began to rapidly stack the bricks up in front of my front wheel. Despite the rapid decline towards the end of the ride, I am pretty happy with the way I am shaping up from the latest block of training. It's a nice change from working hard and wondering why the hell I was bothering. But that's training - it's never a smooth upward continuum. You just have to keep planting the seeds, and watering and fertilising the little sprouts that emerge.

Sunday was a bit of a wipe out for training. Mr Legs and I did some “gardening”, tidying up a very large peppermint gum in my back yard in Boolarra, which had split in two, one side of which had fallen over the back fence into the paddock behind, and was clinging to the tree about 5 foot up from the base. It took a large part of Sunday to chainsaw it up and stack the wood, then do some extra tidying and major weed extermination (blackberries – gotta love having a country garden). Unfortunately the tree needs to come down before the other half falls into my back yard and onto my little shed. So we have a neighbourly tree feller booked for the Australia Day weekend to help us with the deed. The tree must be at least 6 metres high, so it’s going to take some serious, pro work to make it safe.

It was also incredibly windy on Sunday, so any riding would have also meant dodging vegetation and branches being flung from great heights by the local tree population. The warning signs about trees being close to the road are to be heeded at such times. The local trees are incredibly stealthy and cunning, and have been slowly working their way up to the road side (hence the road warning signs), in preparation for days like yesterday; to protest against, and mourn the loss of their fellow natives, which are cleared for pine plantations. Can’t say I blame them, but I am not one to get in the way of an irate tree.

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