Autumn training

This morning I’ve been riding up in the Dandenongs, soaking up the glorious autumn sunshine, breathing in the fresh air and all that stuff.   I like to ride up in the Dandenongs.  It’s generally quieter and there’s less traffic than other parts of Melbourne, and there are some cool hills to go up, which is of course, a Good Thing.

What you missed this morning...

What you missed this morning...

But my ride this morning had a slight air of urgency about it.  A bit like cramming for an exam at the last minute.  You see, I’d decided earlier this year to have a bit of a break from the bike and to concentrate on other things.  And quite right too, I hear you say.  Nothing wrong with that.

But then my good friend and cycling coach Mr.  Rob Crowe reminded me that his annual ride to Inverloch and back was on again, and I suddenly found myself conflicted.  I’ve wanted to join him for this 280km ride each year for the last few years, and each year I’ve been unable to do so because of work or other commitments.  This year the diary said that I was allowed to go, but would I make it?

To cover 280km in one day is a big ask, and to do so in the company of people like (Olympian) Mr. Crowe and his super-fit coterie is another thing.  So I’ve been rather frantically grinding away at the cranks these last 2 weeks or so.  Cramming.

And what better place to cram than the Dandenongs?  And what better time of year than Autumn?

Grapes on the eastern side of the ranges.

You can’t see it in this photo very well, but right over on the right hand side of the image there is a tractor lying idle, and near by there is a person doing something with these grapes.  Picking them, talking to them, polishing them.  I have no idea what.  But some kind of grape-growing farmer kind of activity.  The point is – what a great workplace!  Now there might be some days later in the year when the southerly is blowing a gale and the rain is driving in horizontally, and this mightn’t seem like such a cozy workplace after all.  But on this autumn day it takes some beating, doesn’t it?

The obligatory dirt section.

To get from Selby to Monbulk you go through a quaint little place called The Patch.  From The Patch you can stay on the bitumen like all the boring riders, or you take take a ride on the ever-so-slightly-wilder side.  How’s the serenity?

After the obligatory dirt section, it’s time for the obligatory coffee stop.  Once upon a time the Dandenongs, like the rest of rural Victoria, was probably relatively sparsely populated, and mostly by serious, no-nonsense farmer types who made their own tea in pots, and drank it at home in front of the wood-fired stove.  These days the Dandenongs, like the rest of rural Victoria, is dotted, nay crammed, with gourmet eateries, cafes, patisseries, bakeries, coffee shops and other assorted wankeries, and that simple pot of tea has given way to a special house blend of single origin fair-trade coffee beans locally roasted and freshly ground and lovingly squeezed through an imported Italian espresso machine that costs more than your car.  Hell, the coffee machine costs more than most high-end carbon road bikes!

What could possibly go wrong?

And it occurred to me that all would be well.  If I divide my life into little individual sealed compartments it’ll all be fine!  A compartment for work, a compartment for riding and training, another one for home and family, and so on.  Then 280 km Melb-Inverloch-Melb will be a doddle!  What could possibly go wrong?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Heidi
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 18:23:17

    Picturesque! What a quaint way to spend the morning. Best of luck training for Inverloch!


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