Tag Archives: Audax Australia

and then there’s this

Alternatively, I could just gallop around the soccer ground a few times while I'm waiting for the bus

Alternatively, I could just gallop around the soccer ground a few times while I’m waiting for the bus

You know how one careless remark can change everything? I think that happened the other day when Youngest Aunt casually mentioned this. It’s now firmly in our sights and I seem to have roped in a workmate and a couple of her friends as well! She’s a far more serious walker than I am, but has been having time away from it for health reasons so we are probably closer in fitness and ability now than we might once have been. We have a training plan of sorts, loosely titled “Camminiamo insieme” which means “Let’s walk together” – she and I share a love of Inspector Montalbano 🙂 – and will try to get out on longer walks with her friends on a semi-regular basis.

I understand about champions being made in winter – considering the amount of time I spend rubbing shoulders with Audax cyclists and rowers, how could I not? – and I appreciate that it’s a fantastic time of year to toughen up with lots of freezing-cold morning training sessions. Most of that assumes no employment or, if you have employment, getting up in the middle of the night to exercise, or that you have sufficient dedication to train all weekend and let the domestica go hang. I don’t, factually, meet any of those criteria though I could probably manage a couple of them at a time, every now and then. Despite the training plan, it’s my suspicion that that’s what will happen: it will all be fairly ad hoc with some adjustments around what training machines we have in the house and the occasional bit of organised chaos. So long as we get some very long training walks in prior to the Bloody Long Walk, I think we’ll be fine without necessarily doing the entire course beforehand.

But when will I manage to do any knitting??


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wheels and water but not waterwheels

Sometimes the stars align and the weather delivers a spectacularly gorgeous day that’s perfect for all sorts of activities. I think the photo makes clear that we had such a day today. Dr B, in his capacity as Audax ride organiser, waved off cyclists from one locale while I cheered, and photographed, rowers at another. We met up at rowing after his cyclists had all vanished into the Hills.

I don't really have permission to display their images; but if you can identify them from the back view, you're doing well

I don’t really have permission to display their images; but if you can identify them from the back view, you’re doing well

Today’s regatta was a time trial over the distance of 7000 metres. YoungB’s crew came home in second place overall, having been narrowly beaten by a scratch crew from another club. The scratch crew contained at least one Olympian and a couple of state scholarship holders to our certain knowledge. They’ll probably never again row in that configuration but simply vanish back to their ordinary club crews. A bit the way I vanished, really, when the caressing little breeze turned darn cold and I could no longer feel my fingers.

I know. I couldn’t even hold my knitting needles! How terrible was that? I do hope that your weather has been as sunny and splendid as ours was at the day’s beginning but I won’t be wishing the colder stuff in your direction. If it interferes with knitting, it’s not a good thing, is it?

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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Cycling, Knitting, Rowing


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creativity of a different sort

Dr B organises Audax rides as well as participating in them. A while back, he needed a readily visible checkpoint sign. I made one for him out of a sturdy carton, and using velcro to hold the shape and some reflective strips to add visibility in poor lighting (early morning, early evening, night-time and overcast weather). This first time, we weighted it with a rock so it wouldn’t blow away.

It must have been seen as quite a desirable item; someone made off with it!

It must have been seen as quite a desirable item; someone made off with it!

At a later ride, where the weather was less clement, I covered the whole lot with clear contact – I have to say, that was a messy sort of business – and sewed up a sack of marbles and/or decorative pebbles to hold it down. After the ride, the sign and the sack were never seen or heard of again. (It’s a sad fact that there are plenty of spiteful folk about who would probably think it a joke to do away with such a sign.)

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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Cycling


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why I haven’t or why, I haven’t

I mentioned in an earlier post (6 June 2012) that I hadn’t yet had an article published in Checkpoint; and why, I still haven’t, even though I couldn’t say for sure why I still haven’t. (Actually, there have been plenty of real cycling articles in it lately, a lot of big ride reports. And a very interesting article about an Audax Wife who photographs cemeteries, which helps to contribute to the photographic database that helps people trying to track down family histories and build family trees. There’s a purpose for everything and a job for everyone, it seems, even if they’re not cyclists.)

I work at it a lot, though, at least in my mind. It’s entitled, What I did while you lot were out cycling hundreds of kilometres in the wind and rain/scorching heat (whichever is appropriate; I deliberately leave some details vague). Each year, when the Fleche Oppy 24-hour team ride comes around, I find myself mentally writing a very long article indeed, because it always coincides with a rowing regatta, sometimes an important one. And if it’s the full 360 kilometres and the team that Dr B is riding with will camp overnight at our house? Yes, there are considerations there, there are indeed.

One year, while they were toiling up steep hills, I was driving Boy to an away regatta, braving the morning fog and what have you to ensure his presence where he was needed at the required hour. Then while they were toiling up more hills, I was doing a food dash to the local bakery to buy lots of food for hungry rowers (that prodigious appetite again). While they were descending hills, I was too, driving my sleepy Boy home from a day of rowing where he had seemed constantly to just miss out on victory but, despite that, had had a great day because he’d rowed hard and well. He sleepily commented that Australia is a big country because there are European countries we could have crossed several times in our day’s driving. He and his various crews had worked hard while Dr B and his team had worked hard.

Me? Well, you know, I sat about on the bank and watched and cheered and took lots of photos and found this, that and the next thing when asked (including that food I mentioned), and did all the driving (covering not quite as many kilometres in the car as Dr B on his bike) because that’s what I do.

In that particular year, the away regatta meant then having to set up bedding for overnight cyclists when Boy and I got home. We had to find mattresses and I had to locate bedlinen and it was all just a horrible rush and I was more than usually flustered when the team turned up. The previous year, I’d had an at-home regatta that gave me ample time to do the running about and find mattresses and bedlinen as well as prepare food.

The most recent Fleche Oppy, coming after Dr B’s accident, turned out to be a shorter one, a Petit Oppy. He took himself to the start while Boy and I went to rowing. It was the school state championships regatta and our school was the host club, which meant that for once someone else took photos for the school but only because I was doing other things: handing out bow numbers all morning and scrutineering most of the afternoon. Volunteering for the latter was a cunning ploy because it meant I was able to watch Boy’s Schoolboy VIII crew in its first ever race. So, yeah, I just had a good time while the boys were knocking themselves out in their respective sports, really.

Dr B came home for the night but we didn’t have to accommodate anyone else, so at least I wasn’t running about trying to find bedding and the like. I took him to the next morning’s 6 o’clock start then came home and just, you know, bummed about a bit laundering and doing all that sort of nonessential rubbish, before picking him up from the finish point at about 8.00. Sometimes I’m rushing about doing stuff and can’t rake up the energy to write, although I almost always have a notebook with me.

And today? Today I’ve been providing Audax input in a quite different manner. I’ve been trying to think up clever names for a 1000 Km ride that Dr B is organising for next year. It’s based on a shorter one he already convenes but he didn’t want the names to be so similar that folk would think it was just the same ride stretched out a bit. The Copper Coast Wanderer offers several distances up to 600 Km. The 1000 is that and nothing else. You can see why the extra distance required new nomenclature.

The ride takes in most of South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, which is shaped somewhat like a leg; hence my immediate suggestion of the Shake a Leg 1000. I’d also proffered several other catchy suggestions, alluding to the maritime and agricultural history of the area, but this morning YoungB came up with a couple of delightfully ironic suggestions that had us in stitches and clearly beat my wit to a pulp. What do you think, for instance, of the Life’s a Breeze 1000? Dr B is conducting a poll among the Audaxians. And, no, I don’t suppose I’ll be writing about it though I’ll take my notebook with me when I’m doing support work, I’m sure!


More importantly than any of that – really – Karen has launched her Apronalong . Go get your button now. I’ve got mine! Although, unfortunately, my button doesn’t seem to be working, I’m sure you’ll be able to make yours work. And I’ll keep trying with mine.

Also, in case you were wondering, YoungB was still Boy at those rowing regattas. I haven’t really mixed it up!

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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Cycling, Musing, Rowing


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choice of champions

Different champions part-way through an Audax ride

Sometimes on weekend mornings, we read at the breakfast table (you can throw your hands in the air if you have to but I promise you the world doesn’t even wobble on its axis). Often, Boy reads to us in Italian. We help him with the pronunciation and, where necessary, put our heads together to come up with the most appropriate translation (mine is often more general than Dr B’s, as it’s not my mother tongue, after all, but occasionally that’s beneficial because I will go for the wider meaning rather than the every-word translation). It’s usually fun and we have a good time while helping Boy with what definitely comes under the heading of homework.

This morning, Boy first picked a short story that was brimful of tenses and lengthy asides that we were all too tired to struggle with (too southern for Dr B, too foreign for me!). At our suggestion, he willingly picked another that turned out to be about a cyclist, Mario Soldati‘s Il Campione (The Champion). That was a good choice despite its tricky language: even if he wasn’t always able to work out the words, he could work out the sense of what was being said because, being a cyclist himself, he could visualise what was intended.

I, needless to say but I’ll say it anyway, continued to knit Boy’s beanie all the while.

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting


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cyclic or circular?

I think I mean cyclic, in the sense of things coming around at intervals or repeated patterns. But you could make an argument for circularity and I wouldn’t argue because you might say that the progression of time has brought a progression of interests and that the interests feed the demands, which are then fulfilled by whatever it might be, which will probably feed into the next interest and so it goes on.

Cyclic being the frequency with which the spokes pass a certain point and circular being the shape of the wheel

There was a time when Dr B and I were building our own home. In those days, each new issue of The Owner Builder magazine was greeted with cries of joy and added to the pile of loo reading. Back then it was still a black-and-white publication but, as now, full of valuable tips and stories from fellow owner-builders that made us laugh and groan in about equal parts. We featured in it once (I wrote that article).

These days, Dr B and Boy are cyclists. We went through a phase of Bicycle SA‘s Cycle! magazine being the preferred bog reading (we now read the enewsletter and magazine online and it is difficult, though not impossible, to take a computer to the loo with you) and, yes, we featured in that, too. Dr B and Boy were such regulars in photos and ride reports that I was prompted to pen an article about how tough it is being a scorned non-cyclist in this situation despite your manifold other contributions, without which none of what they do would be possible. A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but no matter. It wasn’t intended seriously.

Nowadays, the cries of joy greet the appearance in our mailbox of Audax Australia‘s Checkpoint magazine. Oh, yes, we’ve all had a part to play in that, been mentioned in dispatches and what have you. Dr B is the main participant, of course, but Boy has done some Audax rides and I’m frequently cited in my support capacity. A few issues ago, so many of the ride reports had been written by Dr B, so many of the photos were his, that it was an embarrassment to be associated with him! I haven’t yet had an article published in Checkpoint but that’s only because I haven’t written it. Yet. The time will come around when I do.

In utterly unrelated – but relevant because it’s about crafting – news, I have several times managed to knit while waiting for people and have now completed 18 rows of the band on Boy’s beanie. That’s nearly halfway, so I think it’s going along quite well. Also, he and I have had another conference about the sweater design, just to be sure we agree on it before I start cutting.


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once the excitement has passed

To be fair to Dr B, he would genuinely encourage me to attend the Sydney games. To be equally fair to him, he wouldn’t stop to think about whether it was a realistic idea. He would say he can get along fine without me (he can, so long as we don’t worry too much about things like cleaning and laundry).

To be fair to me, I hadn’t hit the “apply now” button because of the timing. Both events are in March. Boy will have just started at uni (next year) and he’ll be coaching at the school (both years) and it’s about the time that Dr B will probably be cycling the Fleche Oppy All Day Trial or the Petite Oppy (both years) and there are lots of good reasons why I might be needed here. But I haven’t given up on the idea by any means.

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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Cycling, Musing, Rowing


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