All posts by Craig

Postcards for Matt

Gents among you will know that man-cold is not to be triffled with, for it can be fatal to men.  It’s what sets us apart.  So when I heard that Matt was suffering not from man-cold, but the far more deadly man-flu, I feared the worst.  (Cath thought he should simply ‘harden up’.)  The poor fellow was putting on a brave face, to be sure.  But I recognised the signs – he thought he had been checked into the ICU, as you will know should be done in such cases, even if it seldom is.  So lacking the courage to give him the bleak progosis, we sent him a series of ‘postcards’, live from a morning ride through the hills southeast of Cefalu, Sicily.  Perhaps one of you could use these in the memorial service…Road to Castelbuono (in distance)

Road to Castelbuono (in distance)

 

Castle at Castelbuono, Sicily
Good castle at Castelbuono, Sicily
Climb to Polina town, Sicily
Climb to Pollina town, Sicily
Blackberries!
Feedstation – blackberries!
Summit castle, Pollina
Summit castle, Pollina
One of the best coffees in Italy!
Pollina recovery – one of the best coffees in Italy!

 

 

 

Schweet Sauerland

An enforced mid-week break saw us jump across the border to the Sauerland area of Germany (a hilly region just near the industrial heartland of the Ruhr valley).  Summer met us there:  temperatures got to the mid-thirties – hooray!  The loop from Sorpesee dam to Schmallenberg and Sundern had lots of long forested climbs like the one below, surpassed only by hot-mixed descents.  A nice change from the usual…

Cath climbing through thick forest in the Sauerland
Cath climbing through thick forest in the Sauerland

Somme other ride

We travelled down to Luxeuil-les-Bains for Les Trois Ballons, in the Vosges mountains of France, last week.  So did 4000 other riders, many from Belgium and the Netherlands.  It was a great event.  But the 220km, 4000m sufferfest left me wanting something a bit flatter, shorter and slower this weekend.  So after a short MTB ride with Karlos yesterday, I went to the Somme valley today.  Starting a loop in Bapaume, I rode through Thiepval, Mouquet Farm, Pozieres, Albert, Corbie, Viller-Bretonneux and Peronne/Mont St Quentin.  Here are a few photos (James can help with the names – all WWI battlefields).

 
Poppies
Poppies
The Australian Memorial at Mont St Quentin
The Australian Memorial at Mont St Quentin
Mouquet Farm
Mouquet Farm
Australian First Division memorial Pozieres
Australian First Division memorial Pozieres
 

La Look

There comes a time when one realises that the ability to retain fluids seemingly diminishes with age.  For me, it came about 35kms into the 151km La Look.  In my defence, it was unusually cold.  And I had probably drunk more than needed ahead of the race.  So after 35kms ripping once around the Magny-Cours race track and then out through the fields of western Burgundy at 40 kms an hour, I spied my chance.  A few fellows had pulled road-side for a pee.  So did I, thinking that we were up for an easier pace.  Big mistake.  The pace upped.  I saw the lead bunch crest the first hill in La Machine; the next time was at the ‘pasta party’ in Nevers.

I had not expected to stick with the lead bunch much beyond the exit of the race track.  It’s been a long Winter here and this was my first event on the back of work- and weather-disrupted training.  I was planning to take it easy.  Unfortunately, I spent the next 100 kms working a ‘relais’ (relay – pace line) with a couple of French blokes and a headwind for company.  The bunch behind us only caught us with ten to go, and that was after the main climbs, including a nasty 14% shocker.  In the end, I was about twenty minutes behind the bunch with more bladder control than I; twice as much behind the youthful winner.  I am sure if I had one those Look 695 I had spied at the sponsor’s tent, I could have gone faster…

No photos from the event, but here’s a few snaps from trip above the Arctic Circle in Norway from a few weeks back.

Arctic Norway

Drying stockfish (cod) - Lofoten Islands, Norway

Drying stockfish by the many