Gordy & Tribabe's TriBlog

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's been a long time !!!

Wow, was it really July we last blogged ?? Yes and now must gird up my loins to start again.

What has happened??? Not much........Had to pull out of IMAZ the day before the race as i was taken ill......was so disappointed, it has taken me a long time to get over that.

Went to do 'Goofy's Challenge' in January in Florida and nearly froze !!! Never thought Florida could get that cold.

We had a terrible winter - more snow than we have had in years and temps never rose much above freezing !

Had fun in NYC in March doing the half marathon and have been accepted to run NYC Marathon on 7 November, 2010...that's very exciting and our other big race is Boulder 70.3 in August, 2010.

Weather is still pretty cool here and have still to 'rug up' to ride outside....brrrrr

Life is as busy as ever and time is flying by.....have booked to go to Rotterdam to see the 'Grand Depart' of the TDF....that's exciting too.......

Will start being more vigilant in blogging.......promise.....in the meantime congratulations to all our friends who have had a brilliant time racing this spring.....you have truly been an inspiration.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tour de France 2009

When the 2009 TdF route was announced and I saw that Stage 20 would be climbing the legendary Mt Ventoux the day after my birthday - 25 July 2009 - I knew that's where we were going to be. Mt Ventoux has always held a fascination for me - and many other British cyclists - and I wanted to experience the climb and pay homage at Tom Simpson's memorial.

I hunted around for somewhere to stay and found a beautiful hotel on the outskirts of the small town of Monteux, just a couple of km from Carpentras - from where Tom had set off on his fateful journey on 13 July 1967. The booking was made before Christmas last year and then it was sorting out the Eurotunnel and route. We finally left Cambridge on 21 July with the bikes and bags packed in the car, hit the tunnel around 7:00am and were heading for our first stop at Dijon.

Rolling into Dijon that evening we stayed at La Flambee on the outskirts of the town and made it to our room in time to watch the last few kms of that day's stage on TV! Up early the next morning we were heading south and watching the temperature soar to 30 deg C in a cloudless blue sky. As we turned off the main Autoroute du Soleil towards Monteux we saw it - towering over the flat farmland - Mont Vonteux "The Giant of Provence" - remind me again, who's bright idea was it to try climbing this thing on a bike?

Having upacked at our charming hotel we went for a run and (after cleaning up!) had dinner on the terrace while we waited for Steve & Sue to make it. They eventually arrived at nearly 9:00pm but that was no problem for our host, Penelope, and we enjoyed sitting in the warm air drinking the local wine.

Thursday was to be a "get our bearings" sort of day with a ride through Carpentras to pick up the old D942 route through the Gorges de la Nesque towards Sault. Traffic in Carpentras was awful and meant we had to walk the bikes through the town (same on the return) but we eventually made it out onto the open road and got to ride through the first part of the Gorge.

Lunch was spent at the Cafe de Soleil in Villes-sur-Auzon before heading back the way we had came. Everywhere we cycled we could see the towering presence of Mt Ventoux with the old Observetoire at its summit ... it looked forboding.

Friday was my birthday, 24th July, and the day set aside for cycling up Mt Ventoux. It was a perfect day for it, clear blue sky, temperature expected to reach 32 deg C, little wind, unlimited visibility. There are three roads which lead up the mountain and we chose the road from Sault, it is longer but not as steep as the "classic" route from Bedoin which the TdF riders would be riding the next day. It joins the Bedoin route at Chalet Reynard and from then on it is about 6km to the summit - this is the part which is likened to a "Moonscape" as you ride through sun-bleached limestone rocks via several hairpin bends to the summit.

We decided to make our own way to Chalet Reynard, meet there, and then tackle the final climb. I set off smoothly and found myself climbing easily with three cogs left to go on my 12-25 10-speed cassette, having a 50/34 Compact chainset is a great help - thankyou FSA! Steve and Jack climbed steadily behind me but we were separated fairly soon and worked our own ways up, with nothing but the sun, the mountain and the butterflies for company ... apart from dozens of other cyclists with exactly the same idea as us!

As you swing right around the final hairpin to Chalet Reynard you get your first clear sight of the observatory and speed up as the road gently descends. There were cyclists, cars, camper vans, people everywhere. The Chalet is a small bar/restaurant which is perfectly positioned for anyone interested in viewing proceedings on the mountain as it is located at the junction of the roads from Sault and Bedoin. It was packed with cyclists - a fantastic place to meet, rest, eat and drink.

From there the road to the summit averages 7.7% and climbs into and through the classic Mt Ventoux limestone peak. With the Tour going through the next day it was total chaos! Every camper van in Europe must have been parked on either side of the road, people were everywhere, the road was covered in names painted or chalked by spectators and as you settled into a steady climb they just cheered you on. There were hundreds of cyclists out on the mountain that day, all of us with just one aim - get to the summit.

As I climbed past Tom Simpson's memorial I said a silent "Chapeau Tom" to myself and pushed on towards the observatory ... which didn't seem to be getting any closer. The final two kms are at around 10% and as I swung into one hairpin I decided to take a breather and stop for a few minutes. Luckilly the TdF organisation had placed the barriers out on either side of the road, without them to hang onto I'm not sure I could have clipped in and got going again!

The last section is straight across the face of the mountain beneath the summit and is followed by a 90 deg hairpin which kick up - you must have seen Lance and Pantani crest it a million times! It looks wicked but in fact it's not that bad - as I approached there were a bunch of stalled 4x4's there so I thought "What the ****" and put on a surge which to my surprise propelled me to the top and there I was - 1,912m above Provence looking down on the World.

Steve & Jack joined me at the summit and we agreed it was one hell of a way to celebrate my birthday. All we had to do know was descend through the madness which was a story in itself!

25th July - Stage 20

With road closures and forest fires to contend with on Saturday we decided to make our way to Villes-sur-Auzon, settle ourselves in a cafe-bar and wait for the Tour to go by. We had another great day (if you watch the video there is a helicopter shot of a rounabout on the road with the "LiveStrong" logo written in yellow chalk around it ... that's where we were. After the race went past we took a Tour direction arrow as a souvenir and made our way to the local winery where they had a huge Jumbotron TV set up with live commentary for everyone to watch the climb to the summit - perfect!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Phew !

Race report for our duathlon will have to wait a day or so (unless Gordy will get around to write it), I am away on business for a few days.

'The Most SKIRTSPORTS Outfits in One Race'- had there been a prize for that, I would have been a shoe in for it !!!

More later......

Friday, April 17, 2009

First Race

We are off for the week-end....first multi event of the year. Should be good fun. We're doing a duathlon at Goodwood round the famous motor racing circuit.

Distance is 4k-40k-8k...never done a du when the second run is longer than the first. Think is something to do with runners/bikers using the same road.

Outfits to wear are causing me some concern.....not sure what the weather will be like...supposed to be warm and sunny .....will I believe it ??

Monday, April 13, 2009

'Everyone Needs Good Neighbours...'

A line from the theme song from the Aussie soap "Neighbours'......

Well, I think to train for any endurance sport you MUST have good neighbours. Ours are the best.

A little background. We live in a tiny village in the middle of the countryside. No pavements (sidewalks for you Americans), no street lighting....you get the idea. When there is no moon it as black as the 'inside of my hat' outside

So through the winter months when I get up at 5.15 am and turn the landing and kitchen lights on the entire back garden area is lit up like a Christmas tree.....always amazes me how much an indoor lights reflects outside.

Then, I turn the washer and dryer on about 5.30am.....as there is NO noise where we are either - this makes them seem very loud !

THEN, I transfer the huge amount of stuff I always seem to carry with me to the car and then start it. Now, I have a PT Cruiser, diesel version, which on turning the ignition key makes a noise akin to a tractor. The upside of this is I get around 40 mpg.

In all the years, I don't think we have ONE complaint from the neighbours, now friends, either side of our house.

I have a new 'best friend' in the milkman.....he is usually coming to deliver our milk at 5.40 as I am leaving the house......I then pass the same cyclist on the road into Cambridge. I always know how late I am depending where en route I pass him.

Now we have the lighter mornings our neighbours may get some relief......I can run from home so there is no car engine....but now I can also bike in the mornings so this means I have to open the garage and clomp around in cleats !!!

But to get out first thing in the morning after our long, cold dark winter is just the BEST

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two Weeks in.....

Just shy of two weeks of IM Wisconsin training.

So glad it finally arrived, I really needed something to focus on.

Weather has been co-operating, well some of the time ! Nice to be back on the bike again and to get some structured runs in. Although, we had our 'tick over' plan to concentrate on when you know that you can, sometimes, blow off, a session it makes it that much harder to get out of bed in the cold , dark mornings.

We are having a lovely spring....spring flowers are out, lots of blossom already showing and the trees are beginning to show their summer wear.

Of course, true to form this Easter week-end we have low cloud, mist and a light drizzle. But it's just wonderful to have this four day week-end. Yes, we get Monday off as well, as a Bank Holiday ! It seems a long time since our Christmas break.

Surprise 10k race last week-end. A friend of ours was competing and we were going to support her. At 9.15am I got a phone call to ask whether I could accompany Miriam ...I changed outfits three times before I was out the door. Lovely race...beautiful weather.....first time this event had been run. All off road which was a little 'testing' especially I had forgotten this and turned up to run in my Newtons ! A great time was had by all. The race was certainly a success, particularly, as the field consisted of 48% women...amazing.

Ninety minute ride and a 45 min OD run scheduled for today.

Now which of my new SKIRTSPORTS outfits will I wear....check out their spring collection...brilliant !

Friday, March 20, 2009

It must be nearly........

As I took my second shower today - my first double shower day this year - I realised it must be nearly time to start IM training ! One more week to go before we start.

Can't wait for those days when you are so tired you just want to come in and lie down on the kitchen floor, when the laundry is piled up, when the alarm goes off and you just get up without thinking about it. Bring it on !

These past week, I have managed to get most of Craig's work-outs in but some cold dark morning, when the alarm goes off at 5.15, I must admit I have turned over and bagged it !

However, spring has arrived (we think)...it's been sunny and warmish.....even managed to ride outside for the first time since my accident. It was lovely ! I missed my bike ! Lovely to ride outside in shorts.....

The spring flowers are out and it's light in the morning when I leave the house at 5.30 and even light when I get home from work. Our clocks don't go forward until the end of March when we move to British summertime - we use the word 'summer' loosely over here.

Did my spinning class this morning and did some work and then a 55 minute run.....a two shower day and more laundry.

Tomorrow and swim and run - long bike for Sunday.