Thursday, 5 April 2012

Sharky's Tour De Jindabyne Blog

This tour is put on by arguably Australia's most successful para athlete in the legendary Michael Milton. Michael lost his leg to bone cancer when he was a child and went on to win several gold medals in past Paralympic Games in downhill skiing. He still today holds the record for the fastest Australian ever to hurtle fearlessly downhill, one leg or two, at 212km/h! Think about how fast that is in a car, now terrify yourself thinking about doing it on one a ski with just one leg... Unbelievable stuff!

I first met Michael when I convinced him to join us for the three day 560km Midi Smiddy ride back in 2010. That year he inspired the 60 strong peloton to push beyond their boundaries and was a real inspiration to the group. We have since become great mates. Anyway Michael and his Wife Penny have started up a company called Bigfoot Adventures and have started running cycling tours in iconic locations around Australia. Jindabyne is their first foray into the market and is right on their backdoor as they live in Canberra. So today (thursday) four Queenslander's and past Smiddy riders landed at Canberra airport at 10:30am. Those wearing the maroon colours included:
Craig Mitchell
John Leyshon
Katrina Cousins
In this battle of the borders Tour we are also accompanied by 4 sensational riders from Sydney in:
Russell Conway (Who also did the Smiddy Challenge to Townsville last year)
Steven Newman
Steven Van-Gils
John Wheaton

While Michael collected us from the airport the boys in blue were making their way via car to the meeting point at Michael and Penny's quaint suburban home. Once there it was all introductions, then hands on deck as bikes were assembled, cars and trailer packed and lunch demolished. Just two hours after arriving to Canberra we were on the busy road out of Canberra and making tracks for Jindabyne. The group was eight strong and the course out of Canberra was flat and made even faster due to the tailwind that helped push us towards our destination. Big Russ and Baby Gorilla were out the front first and already there was a bit of NSW/Qld rivalry as the eyeballing began, the speed kept gradually increasing and I commented to Johnny Leyshon that we would be finished this 120km pre-ride warm up before afternoon tea!

Now would be a good time to throw in the 'Stats' for the day:
Distance: 120km
Time: 4 hours
Average: 30km/h
Altitude: 1112 metres climbed
Fastest: 78km/h
Temperature: 28 degrees

It is actually 175km's to Jindabyne but we only had enough daylight to travel 120km's. So Michael and Penny arranged to meet us at the small but busy town of Cooma. From there bikes and people were packed into the two vehicles and trailer and we enjoyed the squishy comfort of being driven the remainder of the way to our lodging at Jindabyne.

Joining the team for this five day tour is Michael and Penny's adorable children in Matilda, who is five and Rowdy who is three. Penny's Niece Simone is a qualified Dietician and is responsible for all the food over the long weekend. She is very popular with the riders, especially after devouring the two lasagna dishes tonight for dinner.

Well that is it from me today, I will finish with a few highlights from today's ride, and maybe a few lowlights...

Road Kill by Baby Gorilla ( Craig Mitchell) 1 Wombat, 4 foxes, 15 Skippy's, 1 Wild Boar, 50 Unknowns. Because Baby Gorilla is relatively inexperienced at identifying road kill he has called everything he did not know as an unknown. The great road kill champion Andrew Schindler would be mortified at this inaccuracy but as no one stepped up to the plate to take on this very delicate job the count by the Gorilla will have to suffice. More on how Craig got this amazing nick name as the days go by... I like to make you wait for the good stuff.

The Monaro Highway - A good road to avoid!
There is one road and one road only to Jindayne, it is the day before the Easter holidays, every Canberrian is in an awful hurry to get out of town. There were eight annoying cyclists in their way. Even though the road has a good shoulder the crap on those shoulders along this extremely busy Monaro Highway is monumental. At times a mountain bike would have come in handy. We were hooting along at breakneck speeds in places, bunny hopping pot holes, bits of timber, dead animals, gravel and at times head size boulders. Michael assures us today is the worse day for traffic but from day two will be unadulterated traffic free bliss.

Seven strong riders and me...
I am in for a tough five days going on today's performance. The guys and that little 'Pocket Dynamo' in Katrina Cousins at exactly five foot tall, are machines! My tongue was on the top bar of my bike for most of the day. Except for one flurry were I actually felt okay and did a turn on the front, my performance today was dismal to say the least. In May I turn 50 and today I felt 70! I can only hope to redeem myself in the days to come.

Garmin's hate bumpy roads
Most of us have some sort of Garmin devices fitted to our bikes to record all the statistics for the days ahead. A few of these Garmin in the peloton disliked the fact that we made them feel like they were at the end of hammerjack machine on a building site breaking down blocks of concrete. The end result some very unhappy Gamins that kept shutting down and refusing to work. I'm told to fix this a piece of soft rubber under the unit should help reduce the vibration.

That's all for now.


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