Friday, January 14, 2011

The rest of tassie.

I continued fighting this cold for the rest of my stay in Tasmania. Final race was in Hobart, the capital and biggest city in tassie. Most of the out of towners are gone at this point and it's mostly Tasmanians but Marcel Barth was still around as well as fast locals, Luke Ockerby, Aaron 'AJ' Jones, Simon Elliot and Stephen 'Rossi' Rossendale. The track here was a little dicey. Flat, bumpy, narrow, drain ditches inches from he measurement line, up and down hill sections and odd shaped with abrupt turns in strange places.

I was feeling like crap but it was the last day so that helped. It was a fast moving schedule with lots of racing so I never really cooled down or had to stay warm. Just race, sit a minute race again 20 mins later. Unfortunately the weather was becoming increasingly threatening.

Racing was fun and more laid back. Had fun in the miss n out playing the devil on too big of a gear and only getting 4th. Was looking forward to the derby final after winning my heat, basically a 5 up 2 lap match sprint but the weather continued to look ominous. The organizers decided to move the wheel final up immediately. As everyone is being held and the gun is about to be fired, it starts to absolutely dump rain and the race is called. Glad it wasn't a second later or that could have been a messy race.

Post race we to Rossi's parents for a BBQ. I ordered my self a vegan pizza and ate the entire thing. Had plenty of beers and played some pool. After that we went to find Marcel at a club downtown. The spot was a bit bourgeois and square but it was packed and Marcel had facebooked me that there were a lot of hot chicks there. The bouncers outside were not impressed with me. Apparently my rat tail made me look like a 'bogan' (white trash) and he BRIHOP shirt under my unbuttoned Ben Sherman wasn't helping the case with the skull. But when I gave them my passport and asked them if they were kidding, with my American accent, they told me to maybe button my shirt and tuck my hair into my collar. "This might be cool where you come from but here you look like a bogan." I laughed and walked in. We hung out there for a bit then went to a smaller, radder spot where they were playing sweet 80s and 90s jams. Everyone there was busted but having a real good time. Stayed there till hey kicked us out. About 4 am. Then we tried to get into any other club that was still going but everyone was closing down. Marcel harassed a bunch of doorguys and eventually were gave in and went home. In bed (couch) around 6 at rossi's and Rick Martin, athlete coordinator picked me up a 9 to take Marcel to the airport and me to Launceston for my last two days in tassie.

I crashed at the house of Laura McCaughey and her boyfriend Andrew for 2 nights. Laura was on the mainland somewhere being badass and Andrew was a great host. I went swimming at a sweet spot in the Cataract Gorge with sweet rocks to jump off of and NO SAND! I've always liked rivers more than the beach. I am from Pittsburgh.

Pretty low key til I left on tuesday morning for my 24hr travel day, which compared to 36hrs on the way out was gonna be a breeze. Was stoked when I got to the Melbourne terminal to check in and saw they had an arcade with 6 pinball tables but I had an hour and a half wait to haggle for cheap baggage fees. I won getting off with just $67 but at the expense of having to go straight to my gate without pinball. I thought that I was running super late and hurried to my gate but gate but they were running a bit behind and on the other side of the wing there was a lone simpsons pinball party. Not the best table but it had a low replay and I got a few games in before I had to board. I was the last one on the plane.

Free movies and tv series and music videos and radio make he long trip quite easy. Also the seemingly endless free booze and decent vegan meals. Lady gaga music videos. Can of VB beer. Whiskey on the rocks. Spicy veggie stir fry. Yup.

When I got to LAX after i got my suitcase, I waited for an hour for my bike stuff to come up the over size lift. Then they closed he lift for maintenance. I was told to check the other lift. And there were some things there from my fight but not my stuff. After another 30+ mins I asked around and was told to file a baggage claim. I headed to the desk and someone informed me that they knee my bags hadn't made it and I would get some papers and talk to Alaska airlines when I got home. They knew but didn't bother telling me as I waited for almost 2 hours. Kinda lame, but I still wasn't in a hurry and at least they hadn't lost my stuff just forgot to load it in Launceston. Now I didn't have to lug it around and it would be delivered to my house.

Now I am back in Portland. I'm sort of homeless. Well roomless. Brent, Amy and my new transplant roommate Al Urbanski didn't get into a new house while I was gone and we're still looking but my old room is already rented out and Al and I and sharing small space in the polo haus til were find a new spot. Can't wait to get into a spot so I can actually stretch my legs and decompress from my trip. 1.5 week off season! Woo!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crazy week recap.

So the after I got to Tasmania I went to the Silverdome, the indoor track to spin my legs a bit. The air seemed a little dry, like it generally is in tassie, and a bit dusty, like an indoor track. So naturally I was experiencing a bit of 'track hack.' Unfortunately as I continued my workouts my coughing continued to get worse and worse. Towards the end of the big racing week my throat and body was wrecked from my seemingly endless coughing fits. Rest and eating well are definitely important for getting better but one thing that never helps is stress.

On the first night of the Devonport carnival someone decided to steal my road bike. The scratch race was the last event of the night and a lot of the spectators were leaving after the final running race. Most of the cyclists were either packed up and watching the race or racing and someone saw the opportunity to grab my bike. I didn't know it was gone until about 22 laps later. I guess now I know what travel insurance is for, not that I had any.

The next day, after getting no sleep thinking about my missing baby, I was borrowing a mtn bike to ride down to the track for day 2 of Devonport. A block from the house I was trying to figure out how to shift this modern beast and my lapse of attention caused me to crash and bang the crap out of my knee and shoulder. I then found the secret brake lever shifting mechanism. Fancy. I managed to have some ok rides that day apart from feeling terrible and my knee swelling up and hurting to pedal but all of them out of the money.

The day off between Devonport and Burnie there was a crit that I couldn't do now but I couldn't even get outta bed I was feeling so sick. I didn't even manage to go out for a NYE drink.

The next day was the Burnie carnival. Where the track has a up hill and down hill stretch. Also a killer headwind on the up hill and tailwind on the down hill. This made choosing a gear quite interesting. I took it easy most of the day just putting in some efforts and staying loose and warm. I figured I only had so much racing left me so I saved it for the evening wheel race. I made it to the final but didn't quite have the kick in the final 100m when I got put on the outside in the wind by some crafty team tactics. In the scratch race I found myself off the front with one and eventually two others right off the gun. 2/3 of the way thru my knee gave me more grief so I pulled the plug. The break got caught with about 200m to go.
During the carnival at Burnie a bunch of the junior riders took up a collection for me for my bike. They managed to raise over $2000 which will definitely help me on my way to getting a new bike.

I was hoping my week of down time in January would be spent going on killer road rides, to beautiful beaches, out to raunchy dance clubs and generally leaving my mark on Tasmania but instead I have been staying in bed and watching 'I dream of Jeanie' and 'Bewitched' hoping I magically get better.