Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pride.

It's now a week on from last Sunday's ride Around The Bay. I'm happy to say that I made it. The whole way.

It all began Saturday night when Renee dropped me and my bike off at Marshall station in Geelong. I was catching the 2118hr to Southern Cross Station. There were some young girls catching the train to Geelong for a night out. They were wearing very little and I felt the urge to tell them 'you are not going out in that!?' but resisted. I'm getting old.


The journey begins.

It was nice to be on the train with my bike and riding gear. It was like it was finally happening. I'd done all the preparation I could and now all that was left was to just do it. If it wasn't done, if I didn't have it, at that point it didn't matter. I listened to my iPod, stared at the lights outside the window, and tried not to make eye contact with the bogan skateboarding up and down the carriage.
I arrived in Melbourne, jumped on the bike and in a few minutes I was at Bex's buiding in Kavanagh St. She buzzed me in and I quick ride up the lift and I was in her apartment overlooking the best of Melbourne. Bex had her room ready for me; clean sheets, a towel on the end of the bed, and the doona turned down. All so I could get the best night's sleep possible. What a friend! Giving up her bed so I could be as prepared as possible. Thank you, Bex. I appreciate it, and I love you heaps. I set out the things I would need for the morning, had a brief chat with Bex, and went to bed.

What felt like minutes later I woke to the alarm, jumped out of bed, showered, ate, and left. It was cold and dark. I'd chosen to wear shorts, a shortsleeve top and arm warmers. I knew this would mean I'd be cold for some time but thought it was the best option for the 10 hour trip. Unfortunately, starting took longer than anyone expected with our wave (in the 20-24 km/h average estimate wave) leaving at 7am. It was a stop start first 10kms getting out of Melbourne city and out to St Kilda but once on the bay we were getting some good peddling for some good kilometres.

About 60kms in I started cramping. We had to stop at a set of lights and as soon as I stopped turning the legs around and stood up my quads screamed at me. This was a grave concern. I was barely a quarter of the way into my 210kms and my body was already saying 'no'. I was frustrated as I can ride 60kms with my eyes shut and no issues with my body. I couldn't believe on my biggest day it was going wrong this soon. I decided I'd get to the 75km rest area, get off the bike, take a break, and see what happened from there. I made it to 75km unconvincingly, had a shork rest where I took on fluid, let go of some fluid, and ate a Mars bar. I sent a couple of texts updating some people as to where I was at and my concerns, and got a reply from my brother, Tim that read; 'Just do your best, there is no failure.'


Making my way to Sorrento.

I got back on the bike and latched on to a group. The weather was really turning at this stage and we found ourselves riding into a stiff breeze which meant we'd slowed down. As it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise. The 25kms to Sorrento were a bit slower, a bit easier, and the cramps dissappeared. About 8kms from Sorrento I found myself riding alone at a slow 22km/h. A group went past me like I was standing still and I decided to bust my balls and latch on the back of them. It hurt, but I caught them and stayed with them. Arrived at Sorrento in good shape but with about 600 people ahead of me waiting for the next ferry. I ate everything in the bag I was handed; chicken sandwich, random cake/slice, energy gel, apple. Powerade. It was cold, a bit wet, and windy sitting on the concrete waiting for the next ferry to arrive and I was a bit worried about how I would get the legs moving when I eventually got off the ferry and back on the bike at Queenscliff. The ferry showed up and they began letting riders and bikes on. I was about the 10th last rider to get on the ferry; a fact for which made me most grateful that I'd ridden the last 8kms to Sorrento with that fast group. Here is how my Garmin saw the first leg.


A lot of money laying on the road!

It had been almost exactly two hours since I'd stopped when I rolled off the ferry at Queenscliff and began the 39kms to Renee in Geelong. Happily, and surprisingly, the legs felt great. I stopped briefly in Point Lonsdale just near my work to see Tim, who gave me some new drinks - the water and Gatorade was a much needed change from the Staminade I was getting sick of. The ride into Geelong was okay, I stayed in groups and just kept turning the legs. I saw Mim and Danielle cheering me on in Ocean Grove, Dad in Moolap with a big sign reading 'Simon Davies, you're a legend' and in no time at all I was cruising through the Geelong CBD. Arrived at the Rippleside rest area in awesome shape. At this point I expected to be falling apart, but I was feeling good and as soon as I got off the bike I wanted to be back on it. I had a protien shake, tightened my cleats which had been coming loose, took a selfie with my baby, and set off. My Garmin record of this section is here.


My support team.

The hard work that had been done for the previous 5 or 6 hours on the bike meant we enjoyed a wind on our backs as we turned toward Melbourne. I found myself behind two guys as we belted along the Melbourne Road at a pacey 37-39km/h. We hit Little River rest area in no time and as these guys slowed down to decide if they were stopping I carried on alone. This turned out to be the most enjoyable part of the ride. I had visualised two things in the weeks leading up to the ride; 1) Riding over the West Gate Bridge knowing I couldn't fail, and 2) Sitting on the side of the Melbourne Road waiting for the support vehicle knowing I had failed. As it turned out, I was riding alone up the road to Melbourne absolutely eating up the road at 40-45km/h. I can't stress enough how fast that is for the not-too-serious recreational rider. My Garmin watch was beeping at me every 1min 30secs saying I'd done another kilometre. It was incredible.

Just at the Werribee turnoff I got an intense, powerful, painful cramp on the inside of my right thigh. I immediatly worried that I'd not respected the distance enough and I was going to pay for my last 40kms of pushing hard. I stood up on the pedals, stretched it out as best I good, and tried to ride through it. After a couple of kms I won the fight and the cramp desisted. Made it to the comfort stop in Werribee, had a quick break, and sent off the group text of 'Werribee. 35kms to go.' Tim replied with; 'You're a fucking rock star mate. You can do it!'

And I could. Hitting the highway out of Werribee and seeing Melbourne was awesome. The cramps were gone, the body felt good, and I could see the finish line. I began to get a bit emotional. All this with 35kms still to go. It felt inevitable that I'd finish the ride at this stage and I had to tell myself to cool it, that anything could still happen. I did calm down and settled into the task of getting back to Alexandra Gardens safely. I quickly found myself at the point I'd visualised so many times but been scared to believe would happen; me at the top of the West Gate Bridge. Again, I found myself, not unexpectadley, getting emotional again and actually cried tears of joy as I realised come hell or high water, I was going to finish. I was alone with my thoughts, looking forward to the long descent from the top of the bridge when I heard a car horn. I looked to my right and saw Renee driving past waving to me. It was amazing that by sheer luck she'd been there next to me at my own psycological finish line.

Ten minutes later I turned in to the short finshing straight along the Yarra River having done something that had exhausted mentally in the weeks leading up to it; if not physically on the day. I crossed the line, unclipped my feet from the cleats, leant on my handlebars, and cried tears of relief, joy, pride. See the final leg stats here.


The end.

I sit here now so proud of myself. I set a goal, a very, very difficult goal, and I worked towards it. I registered in July, four days after Cadel triumphed in Paris, and I used that as genuine, actual inspiration. I think about the ride all the time. I think about riding to Sorrento, unable to see the other side of the bay and knowing I had to ride around it. It is crazy but possible. I did it. Go me.



With love,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tomorrow is my big ride; the BUPA Around The Bay In A Day.

The tension has been building inside me all week. Had some sort of mini anxiety attack yesterday; butterflies, light-headedness and shaky. Today there's just heaps of butterflies messing with my stomach. To try and combat this I'm busying myself prepping my bike. Had a trip to Goldcross Cycles to purchase a few things including a new gel saddle. I'd prefer not to be changing my equipment before such a big ride but my saddle definately isn't made to be sitting in for 8+ hours.
I've also put my 'tri-bars' back on. Not because I'm going to be riding in an aggressive position for speed though! But because I think I'll need a few different positions to rest different parts of my body.



The ride itself will take me from Alexandra Gardens in Melbourne, 100kms to Sorrento. This section doesn't worry me too much. I'll have lunch in Sorrento and catch the ferry to Queenscliff. From there the next leg is 35kms into Rippleside Park in Geelong. I'll see Renee here and hopefully the kids. Renee will have food, gels, drinks and spare clothes in case I need any of that stuff. The final stretch is the part that scares me; the last 75kms from Geelong to Melbourne. If I'm to fail it'll be on this long, boring road. If I can get to Werribee and see Melbourne, I think I'll make it. We'll find out tomorrow, I guess.

This is Cadel's fault. When he won the Tour de France I decided I'd try and do this ride. He made long rides look easy. They aren't.

With Love,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amy Gillett Gran Fondo

This weekend I participated in the Amy Gillett Gran Fondo in and around Lorne. It was 120kms (110kms of which was under timed 'race' conditions) on closed roads that included 40kms along the Great Ocean Road as well as a total of about 20kms of solid mountain climbs - including one straight 10km climb that was timed for KOM (King of the Mountain) honours.

In training I had done only two 100km rides with not nearly as much climbing involved. This was to be my furthest and highest ride ever.

The day started at 4:30am to my alarm - appropriately I woke to the track 'Chase The Feeling' - and I bounced out of bed knowing I had to be moving from the get go to be in Lorne for the 6:00am safety briefing at The Mantra in Lorne. The briefing settles some nerves and gave me a slightly better understanding of what would happen and what was expected of me to contribute to my own safety and that of my fellow cyclists.

After the briefing it was back to the car to kit up, make my last checks of my bike, and make sure I had enough nutrition packed in my rear pockets. I took with me 10 energy gels, a Mars bar, a Power Ride bar, as well as the ubiquitous water and Staminade in two bottles on my bike. Two post coffee wees and two nervous wees later I was in Lorne's main street with about 2600 others waiting for the first wave of 200 riders to set off.

Riders were assembled in these groups of 200 according to the estimated average speed they nominated when they registered for the ride; I was in the second last wave having estimated a time of 20-25km/h. So 15 minutes after the first wave left I set off for 120kms of the unknown...

It was a privelidge to ride 40kms of Ocean Road without the worry of vehicles; it meant I could enjoy the ride and take in the scenery. Turning off at Skenes Creek I headed over the timing pads for the KOM section and began the 600 metre climb. It was hard and fun. Yes, fun! Having crossed the line at the top it meant a descent for a while, this was fast and cold. In the shade and travelling speeds up to 65 km/h meant being chilled to the core. Despite this it was heaps of fun. This took me to about the half way mark of the ride and by now most riders had settled into a steady speed and pelatons formed. I really loved these many kilometres of turning the pedals at a steady rate with the unspoken comraderie that seemed in the air as we trundled along at a comfortable 30km/h.

At the 100km mark I passed the '10km to finish' sign that indicated 10km to the finish line of the timed event and 20km to the actual finish in Lorne. Soon after that happy sign the final climb began. The next 45 minutes were to be heartbreaking, painful, challenging and slow (as low as 9 km/h in some parts!). At times I couldn't believe there were no more gears underneath me to help make pedalling easier, my legs burned and they hinted at cramp, but eventually I made it. I crossed the timing pad with a little satisfaction but not celebration. Many riders stopped after the finish line to rest, talk and enjoy what they'd just acheieved but I set out to do 120kms without stopping so I was committed to getting the last 10kms into Lorne over and done with. Fortunately and surprisingly, these 10kms were all downhill with an average speed of about 45km/h.

Finally, I rolled into Lorne tired, spent and satisfied. I finished 1223 of about 2600 riders and 123rd in my age group (30-34).



I learnt a few things on Sunday;

- I love my bike, but in the scheme of things, it is crap. I saw only a handful of bikes as inexpensive as mine,
- It's the motor turning the pedals that matter, not the carbon frame, $7000 gears etc; almost every person I outrode on the day had a bike worth several times as much as mine.
- Climbing big hills hurt bad!
- Coming down the other side of the hills is ace fun!
- The power of the pack! Riding in a group is incredibly easy compared to going it alone.
- $170 is a reasonable price to pay for a great experience and a great cause.
- I'm going to struggle to get Around The Bay In a Day in a month (but more about that another time).
- I'm proud of how far I've come.



With love,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The task at hand.

I had the (mis)fortune of hurting myself at work mid July. This meant a couple of weeks off work which coincided with the last 10-12 stages of Le Tour de France. I watched them all. As we all know, Cadel held his bike aloft while wearing the yellow jersey on the Champs Elysee.

Inspiring.

Since then I have registered for the Around The Bay in a Day in mid October. At the moment the furthest I have ridden in one hit is 90kms and it was U-G-L-Y, ugly. What I have signed up for is 210kms. Ouch.

What this means is that I have a couple of months to get from 90kms to 210kms. A big ask! I love a goal, a challege, and this will be a massive one.

Here goes nothing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Have I introduced you to...

She's in the business of 'ticking boxes' (boxes I didn't even know I had!).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tri Man Half Iron Man






My brother Tim has been training for several months for today's half-ironman in Torquay. I'm bloody proud of him; as well as grateful. His training inspired me to get of my arse and do something. And because of that I've lost about 6kgs.

A few of us got down there to show our support; the least we could do. Thanks heaps to Megs, Lisa and Loz for helping me kep an eye on the kids. You guys rock - as usual!

With love,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011




Hey you...

Welcome to me!

I started this a couple of years ago and it has been a sporatic diary of that time. At times I've blogged frequently, other times not so much. At times I've blogged happy, other times I've blogged very sad.

It is all honest, and it is all me.

Simon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hi all,

Thought I'd check in and say 'hi'. 2011 continues to look positive for me and mine. I recently put an offer in on a unit which was accepted, but sadly the finance fell through. Not to be too put off I contacted a different broker who has been looking for finance for me. An application went in on Thursday and it's looking fairly good. I should find out midweek if we are good to go. The unit I originally offered on is still available. Fingers crossed!

Work is FANTASIC! We had some big changes in the centre and in my room (the 3-5 year olds) over the new year and things have settled beautifully. Mim and Danielle have brought their years of experience and I'm learning heaps and enjoying each day. Some of the toddlers who have moved up into our room can be very challenging, but on balance, things are great.

Anzac and Lola are awesome. Anzac started kinder last week which was a lovely moment for Trinity, Anzac and myself. School next year! Can't believe it. He will be five in April. Can't believe it.

Spent the afternoon in Point Lonsdale with my dear friend Bex today. Bumped into several kids from work; it's great to be involved in a smallish community.

I started running in mid January and have been churning out some good kilometres. I set a goal in February to run 100 kms and ended up doing 156 kms. I'm actually enjoying the running while I'm doing it. Usually, I run, not enjoy it, and then feel glad I did. To be enjoying it while I'm doing it is a real bonus and makes it easy to stay motivated. My immediate goal is to run the Geelong half marathon on May 1st. Shouldn't be a problem if the body doesn't give me any trouble. After that I'll think about a full marathon, but I'm reluctant to make it a goal. Just don't feel like I need the pressure, especially considering I'm enjoying running so much at the moment. I've lost about 5kgs in the last six weeks.

So that's me right now. Happy, healthy, single (and okay with that!), optimistic.

With love,



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Looking Up.

I'm feeling pretty good about life at the minute.

Last week was my last night in 44 Kilgour. I had a few friends around and we drank beers and talked shit. I had a matress, a stereo, and an Esky. It was a great night. The morning wasn't so great though. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, leaving that place. I've given it everything I had for seven years; blood, sweat, tears, time, money, emotions. I was bawling my eyes out as I took the keys of my keyring and left them on the kitchen bench. Closing the front door behind me, knowing from that moment on I had no right to ever go back in to what had been mine for so long, was so hard. It was a rough day. I did get a wonderful text through the day from someone who knew I was struggling. It read;

'It won't be much consolation today but just think, you helped to create a place that is going to house joy and love and all of those crazy human things for someone and their family, who may have been longing for it just as much as you! And you did it with your own two hands! That's pretty special. I'm fairly sure 'the universe' repays something like that with your own joy and love and all of those human emotions, and somewhere special to house that too. It works in cycles :) Thinking of you! X'

That improved a horrible day. Thank you.

Aside from that bump in the road, things really are great. I'm pretty calm about my place in the world, which is a bit rare for me, particularly my place in the world as a single man; it doesn't usually sit well with me. Now that the house has settled and the money has cleared, I can look forward to buying a place to call my own. REALLY looking forward to having my own space; it's been too long.

The kids are fantastic, Lola moved into Anzac's room at daycare and has settled in beautifully, but, I knew she would.





So, happy days being me at the moment. 2011 is looking up.

With love,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Bless this mess, we tried our best, that's all we can do." 2010 in review.

Looking back on 2010 it's easy for me to write it off as a pretty disappointing year. But this is due to one little thing that for me is so big... love. If I try to objectively look at the year I can find a lot to like about it.

2010 100% guaranteed that Trin and I are over. It was probably more a case that we really accepted that we were done. No one gets married expecting anything less than forever and we were no different. This year made clear that there's nothing left; in fact, I have largely forgotten who the Trinity that I was so in love with is.

I was offered a redundancy from Kaisercraft this year and I accepted it. I had the time of my life there, but since early 2009 it stopped being a place I felt I really wanted to be. I felt stagnant, I felt that the company had lost its vision for the way it wanted to 'value' staff, and as such, it was an opportune time to leave. I'm grateful for my nearly seven years there.

I dated someone for a few months this year. The spark I expect to feel didn't come. It was really hard ending it because she was a lovely girl; sweet, kind, had a career I respect, and she really liked me. Hurting people is no fun, but I needed to look after me and dragging it on would have only hurt her more.

After leaving Kaisercraft I spent a few months working on my house, preparing it for sale. The tranformation was amazing (see http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-vic-geelong-106957433# )and on auction day we were rewarded for our hard work. I've been living in the house since Trin moved out a few weeks back. Settlement is on the 12th of January... It's going to be deeply emotional leaving the grand old lady for the final time.

After leaving Kaisers I was reflecting on my time there and also looking forward, deciding what I wanted to do, what is important to me, where my skills and personality could be put to best use and I made a move into a field a bit left of centre for a guy - childcare. After the initial 10 applications sent had a poor response I tweaked my resume and cover letter and had a vastly improved result. I ended up interviewing at three place on one day and was offered two jobs. A fourth employer then tried to poach me after I'd accepted another job; and this was without even interviewing! As it turns out, I've lucked across a wonderful centre with a great boss. I work 40 hours over four days so I get a long weekend every single week! I think I might have found something I'm really good at. Best of all... it really matters.

2010 will go down as a defining year. Big changes, mostly good. New Year's Resolutions? None yet, and probably none to come. What's the point? If you want to change or do something why not just do it?

Happy New Year all, especially Tim, Loz and Scarlett, Az and Bern, Kylie, Chez, Mum and Dad, my old and dear friend Bex, Skye - may 2011 require little medical intervention! you deserve a break, Trin (let's hope we are still friends at the end of this one), Richelle, and others of who there are too many to mention.

Thank you Anzac and Lola for making the world in 2010 a place I wanted to live. I love you both with everything I am, with everything I have.

Stay safe all y'all!

With love,