Tuesday, 26 April 2011

So, the Easter Bunny is coming..........

And this is why I knew it was important to be disciplined this week, with both training and what went in the gob.  Sadly……..both fell of the rails slightly.
Not my fault really, but it appears the 16km run last Saturday had scarred me, or perhaps that was scared……..nope, most likely both.  And I blame Fee!!
So, kicking off the week on Monday after getting the bike and all the gear ready on Sunday night, I wandered out at 5.30am and stuck my head out the door.  Given it was dark it was decided that bed was a better option.  With a short run and a swim scheduled for Tuesday morning I was a bit doubtful that the pool would be open given we were in Easter week……..so bed was again, a better option.
Wednesday morning was a little better and I did actually get out with the PnW’s much to their chagrin.  I didn’t mean to, but inadvertently put some hurt into the legs of the bunch.  Sorry guys, but sometimes I have to go at my pace and if that strings you all out I apologise whole-heartedly.  I’ll just try to sit on next time!!
Thursday was scheduled to be the normal 10km run with the crew, so up and dressed and about to walk out the door when the text message was received from Fee saying she was a bit crook and was gonna have the morning off.  With absolutely no hesitation, I turned the lights off and climbed into bed, still dressed in my running gear, complete with socks.
It was the socks that caused the most discomfort as I awoke about an hour later with my feet overheating and me a sweaty mess……..probably would have sweated less running!!
So far this week the diet had been pretty good, so even though the training was a bit, ahem, light on I was still feeling pretty good and a sneaky check on the scales proved the same.
Thursday night I had Ruley coming around to work through the next few weeks of training and factoring in some time around the kids over Easter and the next few weekends.  So whilst the Tuna Casserole was bubbling away in the oven, we started working through it, including a review of what I had done the last few weeks.  Clearly the week BEFORE this one was a little better!!
Once the program was finalised and the kids were sitting quietly with their desert Ruley has started the rubbish off for the weekend, dragging out the White Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream that he had brought around.  It’s Thursday night of Easter Weekend and he is starting this rubbish!!

So much ice cream it's made Ruley's eyes go wonky........or is that normal?

Does he not know that I am only 48 hours away from eating my body weight in chocolate??
Does he not know that I am about to consume enough chocolate to make Willy Wonka cry??
Does he not know I am WEAK??
Damn you Ruley……….
Anyway, the ice cream was magic.  I did however tell him to take the rest of the tub home to remove the temptation, to which he obliged……….and he more than likely polished the rest of it off that night.
So into the weekend properly and I knew that I wouldn’t get much of a chance to do anything as I had the kids from Thursday night to Saturday night.  A couple of solid wind trainer and treadmill sessions, right?
No, sadly not. I did take the kids to the skate park and watched them get around on their scooters for a couple of hours.  They make me tired just watching them doing that stuff so surely that counts as a session?
To this point (excluding Thursday nights Ice cream massacre) the diet had been pretty good AND then, at the respectable time of 8am on Sunday, I was on the bike for a lap of “the loop”.  Unfortunately, only 2 others, Scotty & Meags, turned up so I had nowhere to hide and had to do some work at the front.  A total of 63km at an average of 29.1k.
I was somewhat disappointed after diligently checking Weatherzone before mounting my bike to discover that there was a bit of breeze out there.  What is the go Weatherzone?  You told me “calm” conditions…….what is the go here?  Why would you set an expectation like this only to disappoint?  Damn you to hell!!!
Fortunately, I was able to finish without expiring (although I did whinge a bit) and was quickly revived during a “recovery” session at Friars with Coffee & Raisin Toast.  Another couple of coffee’s and then off home to tidy up a bit before I was to pick the kids up again later in the day for dinner at my house and dare I say……..Easter Eggs.
Once they were here and given it was the kids treat I asked them what they wanted for dinner.  Hot Dogs was the resounding answer, those wonderful mystery bags full of protein and vitamins and heaps of other, ummmm, stuff………all good for you right?
Then it was onto the Chocolate.  The kids were very excited to have both picked something out for me, however it must be said, nowhere near as excited as receiving the treats I had got for them.  Given they were due to head home shortly I told them to knock themselves out and polish off as much as they liked!!!
Once they had gone home, and I was busily tidying up, I thought I heard someone calling me.  Ducking my head out of the kitchen I couldn’t see anyone, but could still hear it…………..”Come to me Ayto”………..”you know you want to”……………do not resist”……………
Damn you Crunchie Bunny – I am ignoring you.
Well, for all of about 5 seconds anyway.  Onto the couch with said bunny and a bowl.  You see, a wise old mate of mine had once said (earlier that day coincidently) that if you break the egg/bunny first then all of the calories fly out of it.  Sounds logical to me.
So, after coming down off my sugar high about 4 hours later I got the gear ready for another bike session first thing the next morning………and when I say first thing, I mean first friggin thing!!  Who schedules a ride for 6am on a public holiday??  Sadists, apparently………or Collingwood supporters.  Apparently they needed to get the ride out of the way early so that they could get ready for the game.  Who friggin’ cares.  The Blues had won on Saturday night so as far as I was concerned the weekend of footy was already over!
Anyway, jumping on the scales prior to the ride for the official Monday morning weigh in showed a figure of 111.9kg.  Amazingly, a loss of 0.6kg for the week given the poor weekend of diet and the ahem, one or two missed training sessions.
Fortunately, upon turning up at the designated meeting spot, we were 6 strong and thought I might be able to hide in the bunch a bit.  Even better, rolling around the golf course loop, we had another 2 join us at about the 10km mark.  8 strong, plenty of room to hide!!
Unfortunately not, with half wheel full wheel Larry there the pace was kept solid and the turns rolled through fairly quickly.  A total of 60km at 31.6k average and again, it was off to the recovery session at Friars for coffee and more Raisin toast.
Then off to the Harrisons for the traditional Anzac day clash between the ‘Pies and the ‘Dons.  I know – “Who Cares” I hear you ask?  Well, not me, but it does amuse me to see these tosser “pies supporters getting so passionate about the game.  Hopefully some of them put some dough on the result and came in winners – perhaps they will book appointments to the dentists now!
So, what was the training for the week?
Monday                          Too Dark
Tuesday                          Pool closed (or so someone told me…….)
Wednesday                    Bike (PnW’s) 43km, 1hr 21m, 32.4k avg
Thursday                        Dressed……then back into bed
Friday                             Good Friday – national day of rest
Saturday                         Ummmm………
Sunday                            Bike 63km, 2hr 9min, 29.1k avg
Monday                          Easter Monday – Bike 60km, 1hr 53min, 31.6k avg

As mentioned above, the official weigh in was 111.9kg, a loss of 0.6kg for the week and total loss of 8.1kg in 6 weeks.  I am the first to admit actually losing weight this week is amazing considering that I have seen more chocolate this weekend than a Swiss Chocolatier (is that a word?).  Seriously, in comparison to me, Willy Wonka is a lightweight.  If he ever wants a new Oompa Loompa I would suggest my C.V stacks up pretty well.
On the serious side for a moment, I have worryingly developed some soreness in my left knee and it was quite noticeable the last 2 days on the bike.  The pain is on the inside of the knee, right at the side.  I have had some pain before towards the bottom of the knee caused by tendonitis, but have not experienced it in this spot before.
I mentioned at the start that the 16km run last Saturday had scarred me………….perhaps more than I knew???
Dickhead!!!  Ruley has been quite vocal about not doing too much too early.   Must try to listen to him – seems he knows what he is talking about lol.
Actually, in hindsight it appears that subconsciously I knew I was carrying an injury which is why I have had the light training week.  Yeah, that’s it………surely!
Anyway, will see what the track session tomorrow morning shows.  Just an easy one with 15 x 30sec intervals and a total of 30mins or so.  Will be interesting to see how it pulls up.
So, better go. Can hear someone calling my name…………..Damn you, Red Tulip Humpty Dumpty with chocolate beanies inside!!!   Damn you to hell!!
Train safe

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

So, let’s go a little longer.

Well the week started a bit slow with a touch of the dreaded “Man-Flu” coming to visit early in the week when I started to feel a bit crook late on Sunday.  Most mere mortals would have quietly curled up in the corner and silently expired, however an Ironman (or wannabe one at least) is made of much tougher stuff!
So, after a bit of a sleep in Monday morning I slowly dragged myself out of bed and made my way to work.  Clearly desperately ill, I made sure to cough strategically so that the girls in the office knew exactly how close to death’s door I actually was and to portray my absolute dedication to the job, simply by turning up whilst most would have called their lawyer to ensure their last Will & Testament was up to date.
After putting on a brave show for the majority of the morning, I finally agreed to accept the advice of my peers (as well as their sympathy…………yeah, right!) and head home at lunchtime for an afternoon of napping on the couch and feeling sorry for myself.
Upon waking with the alarm at 5.30 Tuesday morning, I still didn’t feel 100% although I was somewhat better.  Clearly not well enough to swim though!
By lunchtime I had the guilt’s and made my way to the pool and got my swim session done and after work got my 30 minute run in as well as advised by Ruley.  So it was back on track!  The rest of the week I got through all of my scheduled sessions including a 10km run on Thursday morning in the smoking time of 56 minutes.  This was my first 10km run in over 2 years………although I did “run” 21km at the Geelong 70.3 in February 2010.  You will note I use the term very, very loosely.
So that brings us to the weekend (and a kid free weekend at that) so I was looking forward to getting some key sessions in across both days – a run and swim on Saturday, with a ride and an optional swim on Sunday.
Leaving work on Friday night, my old mate “C’mon it’ll be fun” Fee says she is running Saturday morning if I was interested. Given I was scheduled to run we agreed to meet at 7.30am for a “moderately” long run.
So, all ready on Saturday morning and off we go.  We get literally just around the corner when we are passed by friends Ron & Deb on their way to footy.  I find out later that Ron commented that “Ayto looks to be running pretty well”.  Very kind of you Ron and very much appreciated.  However Deb’s response of “C’mon – he’s only just run around the bloody corner!!”  leaves a little to be desired. Come on Deb.  Get with the program!!!!
Once into the run for 10 minutes or so, Fee says “so, let’s go a little longer” and we are just “going to cruise” this morning.  All good thinks Ayto, thinking that slightly longer might be perhaps 11 kms or so.
Unfortunately, when we hit the 11km mark we were way to buggery over the other end of town and the only way home was to run.  A quick water stop and it was off again to trudge home.  With about a km to go Fee mentions that “this is where I normally pick it up a bit” and sprints off.  Not wanting to be shown up too much I also pick up the pace from snail to tortoise and huff and puff my way through the final kilometre back to Fee’s place.  I could see Fee’s hubby Grant up ahead out the front of their place doing some work out the front.  Despite my cracking pace it seemed to take forever to finally get there.  However, we finally made it and I stopped for a quick chat with Grant and to offer some tips on the fence painting that was presently happening…………I am VERY handy.
So, after a break of 5 minutes or so I made the comment that I had better start the 1km run back home “before I seize up”. Hahahahahahahahah – too late!!!
I managed to run around the corner and to the end of the next block where I was stopped by traffic at which time I attempted to start again.  Sadly, my hamstrings didn’t think that was a very good idea……….at all.  So the final 500m or so was done at a walk, a very slow walk at that.
After getting home and showering, I was curious how far we had actually run, so a quick check of Map My Run reveals a lazy 16km has been chalked up…………Dickhead!!!   Shhhhhhh, let’s not tell Ruley.
Time for Brekkie of some scrambled eggs on toast and then a bit of a sit down on the couch.  It was about this time that, with hamstrings screaming and knees creaking, that I thought that maybe it hadn’t been such a great idea.  So on with the compression tights.  That’ll fix ‘em up! Surely……..
Once on the couch and you know what’s gonna happen here right?  Yep, lasted about 30 minutes before it was off to the land of nod!  3 hours later, and feeling very much refreshed, it was time for a late lunch.  Sadly, in this time my legs had decided that I was indeed a dickhead and that in protest, would pay me back in spades by concurrently locking up, seizing, aching and creaking! 
Just gotta give the compression tights some time, right?
So, a low impact afternoon for me and then off to the Footy at Deakin reserve for the Shepp United / Kyabram game and then off to a 40th birthday party.  Great recovery right?
Sunday was scheduled for the Shepp Tri Club Winery ride to Monachino winery.  A pleasant 50km ride along quiet back roads followed by an afternoon of platters and wine tasting.  A bus had been organised to get all home later in the day.  A group of 10 left the starting point (and other 2 were riding from the winery to meet us after dropping off the bus) in pleasant conditions with only a little bit of breeze to contend with.  Surprisingly the legs felt pretty good.  I love those 2XU compression tights!

This can't be right - Guysy is on the front of the bunch!!

At about the 40km mark we finally met the other 2 who turned around to ride in with us.  Only 10km to go thinks Ayto, as it was about this time that the benefits of the compression had worn off and my legs were knackered.  It was also about this time that Ruley mentioned it was 30km to go given we had taken a bit of a roundabout route.  Damn you Ruley!!! 
I’m not sure about anyone else but when someone tells me how far we are going, my mindset is on that distance and that distance only.  So when it changes, such as it did on Sunday, it cocks me up.  It’s not a major thing but enough to make me query why we do all this.
Anyhoo, got here in the end and I must admit it was a great ride.  The weather was perfect (and I have the sunburn to prove it) on nice quiet roads with some great company.
Upon arriving and loading bikes and gear up in the trailer we were treated to an awesome spread of cheese and other goodies, along with a selection of great wines to taste.  Some chose to taste a few more than others and, as a result, there were plenty of great stories to be heard.  For me, I was good and stayed away from the wine and enjoyed a couple of coffees instead.
Carol & Row enjoying just a wine or two!

With such a great afternoon underway no one was overly keen to get going quickly, so it was a late return to Shepp by 5.30 so sadly, the pool was already shut……..Shame really! 
Was a great way to finish the week, sitting under the trees with some great company.  Awesome.
So the scheduled training for the week was mostly done except for the sessions affected by “Man-Flu”, as follows:
Monday                               Man flu
Tuesday                               Swim 1500m (inc 4 x 200m @ 4.05). Total 32 minutes
                                            Run 4.5km (inc. 3 x 1 minute walk).  Total 32 minutes
Wednesday                         Oops – soft
Thursday                             Run 10km. Total 56 minutes
Friday                                  Bike 44km, Avg 32.1k/hr.  Total 1 hr 22 minutes
Saturday                              Run 16km.  Total 1hr 45minutes (approx. 6.30 pace)
Sunday                                Bike 69km, Avg 29.2k/hr.  Total 2 hr 21 minutes

So, all of this resulted in a weigh in on Monday morning of 112.5kg representing a loss of 1.3kg for the week.  This is a total loss so far of 7.5kg in 5 weeks.  This is probably a bit quick, but it will naturally slow as more comes off over time.  Still heading south at the moment, so all good I suppose.
Looking forward to the next week and the extended break over Easter. Will have the kids for a few days of it, but looking forward to getting out and doing a bit as well.  Might need to invest in another pair of compression tights!!!
Train safe

Monday, 11 April 2011

So, is it time to get serious yet?

This is what I was asking myself late last week when Ruley was sitting at my place and he and I were starting to work out a training plan for the next 11 months or so.
Apparently, it’s never too soon to get started, as evidenced by the quote Ruley used when signing off on his email to me the next day – “The journey of a thousand steps starts with a hamburger”…….or something to that effect anyway.
The start of the week went well after a short recovery from the Murray to Moyne ride, with a sleep in on Monday morning.  Apparently that was my rest day.  But I did train every day for the rest of the week and even twice a day on a couple of them.  Have I mentioned how much I hate swimming?
The coach tells me that he is pleasantly surprised by my position in the water.  I don’t think that has anything to do with my actually body position – I think it is just that I am actually IN the water!!  So to celebrate, he gets me doing a set of 25’s.  Fun!!
Have I mentioned how much I hate swimming?
So there has been some bike and runs as well.  So far he hasn’t tried to torture me too much on the bike (that’s coming next weekend), but the program for the weekend was a treadmill and wind trainer session as I had the kids with me.
So, got the kids to bed on Saturday night and got myself ready for the tready session – a 10 minute warm up followed by 15 x 30secs on, 30secs off.  We are still trying to work a few things out so the speed was a bit of a guess, so it was set for 15k/hr.
 Off we go and only about 5 minutes into the warm up I am sweatier than an Arab’s armpit.  Should have set the fan up, or opened a window, or the front door………or all of the above.  Then it’s into the set.  Man…..15k/hr is fast.  I’m flying and so is the sweat.  Seriously, there is sweat going everywhere.  It’s nasty.
The first five or so are ok and I am still going alright. The next five or so and I start to realise I’m not really having any fun anymore.  It’s about this time that I think to myself that Ruley won’t mind if I only complete 10 of the 15………will he?
After about the 12th interval, I now realise that Ruley and a bunch of his sadistic mates are probably sitting around a computer watching the live feed from the camera he has secretly installed in my lounge room, specifically so he can watch the fat bloke eventually fail, trip up and go smashing into the wall behind him as the treadmill spits him out.
After the 13th interval, I am now firmly convinced that Ruley is the spawn of Satan.
After the 14th, I have cursed him to hell and back.
After the 15th, and I have stared my cool down, I think to myself “that wasn’t so bad”.  Next week’s session at 17km/hr should be easy.  Won’t it??
After finishing and a few stretches, it took about 20 minutes to get back up off the floor.  Fortunately, Iron Chef was on SBS so I was able to watch the final half whilst taking in a few pointers for the next time I cook Gung Pow Chicken……….or something like that.
The coach checked in with me on Sunday morning via text to see how the session had gone.  After advising him I have cursed his first born, I told him that I got through the session ok.  In typical fashion, and just keeping it real, he quickly put it in perspective for me telling me that he now has his own Mum doing 500m intervals at 20km/hr.  His mum is doing 500m intervals at 3min k pace!!!  Jesus H Christ!!!  What have I done recruiting him??
Sunday was only moderately better with a 1 hour wind trainer session, so it was on with a DVD for the kids (Home Alone – I love when they get smacked in the face with the paint tins!) and got started.  The kids were being good so it just left me to get the 60 minutes done.  Looking at my watch I realised I had clocked up 3mins.  Damn!  It seems to take so much longer than when on the road!
Soon enough, the sweat was flying again – I really need to ensure that I get a door or window or something open.  Fortunately, I was able to get Jorja to open the door with only a small threat to withhold afternoon tea.  The hour was soon done and that was it for another week.
So, after all that I managed to get the following training sessions done for the week.
Monday -             Sleep In
Tuesday -             Swim 1500m (inc 500m T/T – 10.10) Total 34mins
Wednesday -       Bike 43km, 1hr 18min, Avg 33.5k
Thursday -           (AM) Run Approx 8km, 46m20s
                            (PM) Swim 1500m (inc 8 x 25’s) Total 34mins
Friday -                Bike 43km, 1hr 22min, Avg 32.0
Saturday -           Run 5.6km (inc 15x30secs @ 15k/hr), 30mins (Treadmill)
Sunday -              Bike approx. 30km, 60mins (Windtrainer)

Diet has also been pretty good this week and special thanks must go to the girls at work.  All of my fruit and snacks get labelled with “Ironman food” and they are working hard to ensure my discipline remains top notch, by purchasing packets of lollies and chocolates and offering same to me.  If I were to crumble and decide to partake I am sure that I would get the literal slap on the wrist.  Thanks Deb & Sim – doing a great job LOL.
Weigh in this morning was 113.8, a loss of 0.9kg for the week and a total of 6.2kg in 4 weeks.  Pretty happy with that considering the Pizza pigout at Hymies place on Friday night – Damn you Hymie!
Oh yeah, there may or may not have been a slight blowout at lunchtime today – but that’s to worry about at next week’s weigh in!
Train safe

Monday, 4 April 2011

C'mon....It’ll be heaps of fun………..

And they were the words that had me signing up for the Murray to Moyne charity bike relay late on Thursday afternoon.  Apparently some late withdrawals saw the G.V Hospice Care team a couple of riders short for the event which started on Saturday morning in Echuca.
I had nothing planned for the weekend as it was my weekend off from having the kids.  I had thought I might get out on the bike a bit, maybe have a run, tidy up around the house and the like, you know……a normal weekend.
Instead, here I was reading Fee’s response to my tentative email query saying “C’mon…..It’ll be heaps of fun…..”  Yes, this is the same Fee who just the weekend before had dragged me out for the now infamous “Death Run” of 10km in the heat and sadly, hungover state.  There seems to be an ongoing theme emerging – something along the lines of her trying to kill me!!
So here I was on Friday night running around like an idiot getting all my gear together for an early start to get on the bus to head to Echuca for the start.  Finally got all my gear organised and into bed at about midnight.  All too soon the alarm had gone off at 5.30, I had a bit of brekkie and I was out the door to meet the other lunatics who were planning on doing this.
We loaded up the buses with gear and bikes and were soon on our way.  A total of 3 relay teams of 8 riders, a further 2 support vehicles loaded with all the tucker and the cooks and a 3rd vehicle (and probably the most important) loaded up with the masseur and her gear.
Upon arrival in Echuca we got ourselves organised and waiting for the ride briefing before the ride officially started at 9.30am. Maps of the ride can be found here - http://www.murraytomoyne.com.au/.   The obligatory team photo was taken and then it was time to start.
All smiles at the start......

Our “A” team started the ride on our behalf and were soon on the way, including my old mate “Foss”.  Foss is a bit of a legend and just loves being on his bike, and is a hell of a nice bloke to boot. Foss has done the ride a few times now, including last year when he completed just over 400km of the 520 odd km route.  This year, he had decided he was going to ride the entire bloody thing!!
As a member of the “B” team we were due to take over the relay at Tennyson road, just East of Mitiamo, for a 45km stint into Pyramid Hill.  Once on the bikes we realised how much wind was actually out there and a check of the weather reports later advised that the wind was blowing at 20km/hr with gusts to 35km.  Upon turning due North for the run into Pyramid Hill we enjoyed a tailwind for the next 12km.  Sadly this was the only time the wind was with us for the entire ride.  Foss was still going strong with nearly 90km into the legs.
Once the “C” team took over, it was time for us to have a bit of a feed and the cooks already had the trailer mounted BBQ fired up and pushing out snags and hamburgers.  Once satisfied, we loaded up the bus again and leap frogged ahead to get ready for our next stint.
We were due to remount again at Charleton for the leg into St Arnaud, another run of approximately 45km. The wind was still blowing and the route was starting to get a bit of up and down about it.  It was about this time that my cursing of Fee starting to gain some real momentum.  I was also starting to bemoan my lack of training, the total of which has been 3 rides so far this year.   I was still pulling my turns though and our average was going ok when we pulled into St Arnaud at about 4.30pm.  Foss continued on again and was like a machine – a total of 210km down.  Once again the cooks were doing a great job with a mix of food available including the biggest pot of pasta I have ever seen.  A quick feed, load the bus and we were again on our way.
The next stop was at Stawell, and upon exiting the bus, we realised how cold it was now and I wasn’t looking forward to the next leg into Moyston, a total of approx. 43km.  We started to get our gear together and the call came through to say that the “A” team would be arriving by about 7pm.  Soon enough they were there and it became apparent that one of their number had consumed a few too many gels.  Hymie was absolutely buzzing!!!
Heading out of Stawell the sun was just setting and only minutes later we were riding in the dark.  For me this is a good thing because I can’t see the friggin’ hills coming. But about halfway onto the leg, coming into Pomonel we hit (for me) a sizable hill and the bunch rides off on me by about 100m or so.  Fortunately at the top of the hill sits the footy ground and one of the boys needs a leak so a quick stop there gives me a quick breather.  From there it is pretty uneventful into Moyston.  Foss was still going very strong and was an inspiration to us all.  The man is a machine!
After finishing our leg and leaving Foss and the “C” team to it we again leap frogged to our next starting point at Dunkeld.  We had plenty of time to spare so it was just a matter of killing time on the bus under the heater – it was pretty fresh outside by now.  Back into our gear, unload the bikes and then at 11.40pm it was back onto the bikes for the 36km run into Hamilton and the compulsory rest stop.
This was actually my favourite leg of the entire ride.  The wind had dropped slightly, the night was crystal clear, albeit a bit fresh and the company was excellent.  We also made pretty good time, and despite a slight detour around Hamilton looking for the Showgrounds, we managed to get to the Scout Hall where all of our teams were staying at 1am.  We quickly set up our sleeping bags and it was lights out at about 1.45am.  Fortunately, with the change to daylight savings we scored an extra hour, which we would need.
Foss had done an awesome job and had ridden a total of 427km for the day.  He was knackered but still managed a smile for everyone.  An amazing effort!  Although, I’ve never seen anyone roll out his bed, get into it and fall asleep so fast.
Getting up at 6am, we awoke to the cooks preparing a great feed of bacon and eggs and porridge to get us all going, packed the buses and then down to the start line for the 95km leg into Port Fairy and the finish line.  We were away by 7am and again, the friggin’ wind was relentless.  My legs felt ok-ish but I knew that we had a few hills ahead and the wind was doing my head in.
Our 3 teams were all riding the last leg, with some of the stronger guys heading off a bit quicker.  The remaining 15/16 of us were riding well together and pulling turns to try and keep everyone fresh. We made it into the little town of Hawkesdale at the 60km mark and called a quick stop to top up drinks and have something to eat.  We had 35km left to cover and finally get a shower.
Upon leaving Hawkesdale saw us head slightly downhill and then it was into a long drag uphill of about 3km.  This is where my legs fell off and the bunch slowly rode away from me, Marion and Foss.  We plodded on together for a while into the headwind, but I slowly rode away from Marion & Foss, so I found myself out in no man’s land.  I buried my head and just kept grinding away for the next 15km or so when I started to come across team mates waiting for Foss, as we all wanted to cross the line with him.
Getting to the outskirts of Port Fairy, whilst a relief, was shit-house.  It was open and exposed, I was tired and sore and the bloody finish line couldn’t come quick enough.  We eventually got into the centre of town and could hear the music coming from the finish line area and finally we were there! We crossed the line and congratulated each other before heading off to our Caravan Park where showers awaited.
Unbelievably, Foss had completed the entire 522km from Echuca in a total of just under 19 hours ride time, at an average of 28.0km/hr.  Not bad for a young fella of, well, early 50’s anyway.  An awesome effort and we are all in awe of what he was able to achieve.

The legendary "Foss" - 522km Echuca to Port Fairy - LEGEND!

My total for the weekend was 263km in just under 9hr 30 mins at an average of 27.8km/hr. 
After showers, it was time for another awesome feed thanks to the cooks and then pack the buses for the 6hr drive home.  A couple of beers and a lot of stories and we arrived home in Shepp by 7pm.  A huge weekend in all and a heap of fun with some great people.  An awesome ride by everyone involved but a special mention to Fee, Marion, Hymie, Meags, and of course, to Foss.  I was fortunate to witness a great feat of endurance by him and to see an awesome display of determination to finish a huge challenge.  Well done!!

Meags, Marion, Fee, Ayto, Foss & Hymie

Today, I don’t feel too bad.  The legs are a bit heavy and still a bit tired………oh, and of course, the gooch has been rubbed raw – nothing a good dose of mineral turps can’t fix!
So this week saw the following training completed:
Wednesday  – Bike 43km at an average of 32.4k
Thursday -  Run 8km in 45 mins
Saturday – Bike 168km at an average of 28.2 in just under 5 hours
Sunday – Bike 95km at an average of 27.5 in just under 4 hours

This morning I had a sleep in (justified, I think) and my weigh in came in at 114.7kg.  Only a small loss of 0.6kg, but understandable considering how much tucker the cooks kept pumping into us each weekend.  I think the plan will be to ease back into it with a swim tomorrow morning.
Whilst the weekend was only a last minute thing and I was nowhere near prepared, I think it has been a great thing for me mentally.  I feel that I can just about tackle anything that is thrown at me, so it has given me a bit of a confidence boost when thinking about the long year ahead.
Once again, a special mention to Fee, Marion, Meags, Hymie & Foss.  I couldn't have asked for a better group to spend a weekend with riding a bike at all hours!!!
Finally, if anyone feels like throwing a bit of dough at something, it's not too late to donate to the cause (GV Hospice Care).  Just let me know and I will gladly take you dough!!
Train safe