The Greater San Fransisco Area

Continuing my quest to travel the world.

It has been my quest to cycle around the world for a very long time, although I have ticked off 16 countries to date, I still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of cycling the world. I cannot wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, age is catching up with me, so it is now or never.

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia
After our trip to Vietnam in 2012.

Monday, 25 November 2013

I'm now a Randonee.

I have the overnight bag, I have the Randonee stickers on my bike, and I’ve joined an Audax club, and have done excessively long bike rides, so I must be a Randonee now.

Last week I did a 320km ride over two days. It may not have been a huge distance but the gale force headwinds told me otherwise. It was so hard that I was losing my vision and almost blacking out from the sheer exertion. I couldn’t even use my big chain ring in the whole distance, when I turned into a different direction so too did the wind, I only had a tailwind for the last 35kms. I have decided I need a lighter bike for randoneering, so I am looking at turning my carbon fiber bike into a randoneering bike, by making it more comfortable for long distance and changing the wheels from lightweight racing wheels to sturdy wheels that can take the knocks.

 I am undeniably getting stronger, a 200km ride seems quite easy now, and I am looking forward to doing my first official Audax event in January or February. 
getting stronger.

 Actually I have been going over my previous trips in earlier years to reacquaint myself with the memories for my book. I thought you might like to see and hear about our first time we saw the Tour de France. It was so exciting I will never forget it.

My trip diary – Tuesday 16th July 1996

Wow what a day; the Tour de France was fantastic / amazing, I’ll never forget it. We got to the right road and there were Gendarmes stopping traffic and masses of people walking and riding bikes heading towards Hautacam Col. The closer we got, the more people there were, as they converged from all directions. Then we started up the hill. The sides of the road were filled with spectators and the road itself was a mass of cyclists (some riding, lots pushing their bikes) and walkers. We were determined not to walk no matter how hard to got. Just passed half way up, I was streaming with sweat – it was running down my arms and legs, and I saw Niel waiting for me. We decided to stay at that spot as it was perfect; we could see down around several corners and even further down, we could also see up past us uphill. It turned out to be the perfect spot, as the riders looked right through us and up around the corner, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

We sat there for 2 hours in the heat watching everyone come up. People were draped in flags and singing. Then the promotional vehicles came throwing worthless stuff to the crowds. I got a little flag with ‘champion’ on it, and a blow up thing (I have no idea what it is). Everyone was grabbing for things, waving, and touching the cars. Then came the cars with flashing lights – warning the crowd back and following them came the vehicles with rows of wheels and spare bikes on their roofs, and more flashing lights, the helicopters  were overhead. When the helicopters got closer, we knew the riders were getting closer. And then we saw them, it was so exciting, the crowds were cheering and clapping and shouting and the riders passed within half a meter of us – looking right at us – although they were probably looking around the corner. And then Miguel Indurain looked right at me – what a thrill – I’ll remember it forever. Even Niel was bright eyed and bushy tailed at being looked at by such a cycling legend. It was definitely worth the long wait. It showed us they weren’t supermen and suffered like anyone else.
Miguel Indurain in full flight.

Not many people have seen Indurain in full flight, and have photo evidence.

We have seen and done so much by bicycle, and we have so many more adventures to come. I am pleased to have made the transition from racer to tourer to Randonee; life it full of possibilities if you just reach outside of your comfort zone and grasp them.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

I'm now a Randonnuer.

We have joined the AudaxUK. It is a long distance cycling club. Audax events are also called Randonee events. You have a specific long distance to achieve, and a cut off time to do it in. Assistance isn’t allowed and you must prove you achieved the distance either by event organizers signing your card and submitting it, or using a GPS as proof, and sending your card off to qualify your ride, before it is sent back to you. It’s a wee bit confusing, I don’t even know if I have it correct in my head, but one thing is for sure, you must belong to an Audax club.

We want to do the Paris /Brest / Paris (PBP). Like the Olympics, it is held every 4 years. It is 1,200kms long and you have 90 hours to achieve that distance, including power naps when possible. It has been going for longer than the Tour de France and open to all Nationalities and it is our next goal to train for. We found doing 170km days carrying 25kgs of weight on our tour, so easy; we thought we’d build on that and become Randonneurs. PBP is the logical goal.

To be accepted as an entrant, you first have to do qualifiers of 200, 300, 400 and 600kms; and these have to be done in the 12 months before the event. The event is in 2015, the qualifiers must be done between August 2014 and August 2015. So we are busy doing rides of 200 to 300kms this summer, as a stepping stone to next year’s bigger distances.
On the way to Kaiteriteri Beach

Yesterday I did my first 200km ride. I called it the ‘Tour of Tasman Bay Beaches”. It is amazing what choices of beaches we have available to us in a ride of 50km in one direction and back for lunch, and then 50kms in the other direction and back. We truly live in a slice of paradise here. The first 100kms was easy, but the second 100kms were a struggle at times. I had a dehydration headache which luckily disappeared after drinking enough, and then I had to grovel into a very strong headwind from Nelson out to Cable Bay. Luckily the wind didn’t change and I had a strong tailwind on the return 50kms home, but by then my legs were threatening to cramp on me. I held the cramps at off by drinking heaps and spinning the pedals instead of pushing hard, I got home after being on the bike for 11hours. I’m very proud of myself for doing it, and I can build on that over the summer to be competent at 300kms by autumn.
Kaiteriteri Beach voted NZ's favorite beach.

Moteka Beach.

Ruby Bay.

 You may also be interested to know that I’ve started writing a book. It is an autobiography, but with an emphasis on all the crazy, funny, bizarre and interesting things that have happened while living my life on a bicycle. I’m thinking that I might call it: ‘A Wheely Good Life”.
Rabbit Island beach - only 10kms from home.  
Tahuna Beach Nelson's main Beach.


Cable Bay - where the power cable between the North and South Islands used to come ashore.