Sri Chinmoy Jindabyne Multisport – reports from Many!

Six friends and I recently took part in the Jindabyne Multisport Race which is run by the ever amazing Sri Chinmoy. As usual this was a pretty awesome event.

As I only did two of the twelve legs I asked everyone in the team to add their thoughts, lets just say they got carried away! I’ll have to work on my own reports eventually (potted summary kayaks are slower in surf skis, but can make it through storms without capsizing) but for now enjoy Alex and Joyce’s reports.

Alex

I got up at 5am super excited to get my 1.5km swim out of the way. Paddy and Rose accompanied me to the start line with 40 or so other competitors. I was worried about how cold it would be but the main thing was the darkness. The sun was only just coming up and it was overcast and … I had tinted goggles. I couldn’t see the buoys I was supposed to swim to, so great start! We started with the Sri Chinmoy minute silence before the race and off we swam! I panicked a bit but just tried to stay out of the crowd so I wouldn’t get swum over. After calming myself down and getting into my stroke, I eventually realised how warm the water was and from there all was well. I still couldn’t see the buoys but I just followed the swimmers ahead of me (there were plenty of them) and it was fine. The course was a loop, swimming clockwise around 2 buoys before heading back into the start line. Once they got our team number down, I quickly went to high five Paddy and push his kayak into the lake and he was on his way!!!

I now had the whole day ahead of my before I would have to run the final leg. Rose and I went to where Paddy was to finish his paddle and got her ready for her run leg. Paddy arrived and Rose was on her way! As I took the kayak back to the car with Paddy he mentioned “That was hard, really hard … don’t tell Rose”. And I didn’t… until the end of the day 😛

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Lucy organised amazing accomodation that allowed us to watch the 2.5km swimmers and paddlers in the lake. All the swimmers looked the same (sorry Hazo) but we got to cheer Rose on as she paddled on the way out! She was going hard! There was an awkward soloist behind her who was asking for directions. Just follow the others?

After a solid nap and some lunch and more waiting, I eventually got the call! With my lift held up due to poor Joyce waiting for her ferry, Rose drove me to the start of my run. We waited again for Paddy and was given serious warning about the slippery muddy bank, which I needed to be careful of when tagging my fellow paddler. Paddy came in, we high fived and I was off! This was an easy, flat 5km run, mostly along a footpath to the end. A soloist had just come in minutes before Paddy and I was slowly catching up to him. Maybe 10 minutes in I overtook him and had an awkward exchange where I congratulated him on being totally amazing for doing the race solo. He replied that I shouldn’t take it personally but he doesn’t like being beaten by girls. I told him that it should give him extra motivation and went ahead. Eventually he caught back up to me and we kept each other going for a bit … it was friendly again. I went too hard too soon and at about the 3km mark I let him go. I think he finished maybe 100m ahead of me … no hard feelings (mostly). I couldn’t believe I made it in under 25 min (I still can’t, I swear the course must have been shorter). I love the food at the end of the Sri Chinmoy races. It’s not that great (vegan burgers with stale bread) but it’s just so much fun that who really cares. It’s a free feed. Thank you to all my wonderful team mates for an awesome weekend!! I would highly recommend the event to other adventure inclined folk!IMG-20170305-WA0002

Joyce

Jindy Leg 9

It all started with a burning bite from a phantom ant, which also got James later. This was while we were waiting for Lucy to come in from her run.

Then Lucy came in, the awkward high-five while trying to pass my jacket to her. Then off I went, and had to stop barely 10 meters later … to put on my gloves. What a great start to the 42km of hills.IMG-20170305-WA0003

To sum it up the rest of the ride in a few phrases; spectacular scenery, beautiful creek crossings (other than the part where I had soggy shoes), lots of hills but fun downhills, and was a bit of a mental game. I’m just glad I’d taken the time to write down were the main hills were.

For much more detail, continue reading.

The first 8 km of uphill on tarmac was good, I was pushing myself a bit uphill, but kept counting down the km to the top of the hill, the highest point in the course. In slow motion, I passed two people on the first hill along Kosciuszko Road. Then came the tarmac downhill ride – Wee!! flew down the hill, and hit 73 km an hour! Then a right-hand turn onto Island Bend and a bit more downhill- this time winding towards to bottom of the valley – the scenery was stunning. I knew the hill would end at when the road crossed over Snow River, so mentally I was preparing myself for another big hill. The river was quite dry, but the large boulders at the bed was so beautiful – would be great for a photo if I wasn’t in a race. That was the halfway mark and 53 mins into my ride; I could not believe that I was going that fast, but I guess a large portion of the first part was on tarmac. The hill after that was steep and out came the granny gears. I was still trying to push my speed going uphill, trying to go for smooth pedal strokes and that’s when I passed another person. “Just keep pedalling” I told myself, and eventually I came up to a point where there was an awesome volunteer handing out water and electrolyte. After a quick drink of nice plain water (the electrolyte in my hydration pack was a bit too sweet, and just sucking all the moisture out of my mouth) it was time to tackle the next hill. I had to get off my bike for part of this one, the water stop made me realise how tired by legs were. Then back onto my bike, and more pedalling. The next challenge was to make it to 25ish km and it’ll be downhill with a small kicker until the plateau. Then a creek crossing – the creek looked beautiful and the water was nice and cool. Although I was not a great fan of soggy shoes, I was stoked at getting to cross a creek – it’s not everyday that you get to do that. Before the kicker, I could see the top of the hill (or what I thought it was), the fire road was quite clearly winding its way around, and the scenery was no worse than before. Once again, I kept thinking … “keep paddling and the scenery up there would be even better!”. On the way up, I passed another participant walking up the hill, then road with them for a couple of minutes, before trying to hammer it down the fire road hill. A sharp right turn where another great volunteer was, and then onto the plateau. The next part was a lot slower than I expected. The fire road led onto tracks from flatten grass; that just seemed to suck out all the energy from my legs. The scenery on the other hand was stunning, riding through the grass planes, with some hills on either side. More stunning scenery, a few more creek crossings, and passed another rider, all the while thinking that there was just one more hill. Over the hill and down some speedy fire trails with a few close calls (riding into the water flow-off, and nearly wiping out on a steep downhill rutted road when I got caught on the wrong side; the warning signed early set up by the organisers probably saved me as I eased off on the speed when I saw it). Then back out into the clearing with undulating hills that I was not expecting. The last 5km felt much longer, primarily because I could see the lake, and did not expect the grassy undulating hills. Then the beach came into sight! My thoughts at that point were “Pedal hard and try not to stack when you hit the sand!”  The transition to James was timed perfectly. Just as I entered the beach, he arrived on the ferry and off into the water he went.  In the meantime, I waited …and waited … and waited (with my emergency blanket when the rain came) for the ferry to go back. Other than the cold on the beach, the people were great, had a good conversation with some of the other participants.

Last but not least, a great shout out to all the volunteers and the organiser!

 

Camping in a 20hr weather window

The past few weeks have had some pretty unenjoyable weather, plenty of which was a strong incentive to stay warm on the couch but some friends and I had booked a camping trip and the forecast showed a window of reasonable weather in between maximums of 8 degrees with rain.
So, despite some reservations we went. And it was brilliant.

Sure the gale force wind was around until sunset Saturday and picked up again at lunchtime in Sunday but the bit in between was clear skies, sunshine and a lovely fire.

We’d managed to track down a camp oven so we packed a slab of beef for roasting plus so veggies and port. It turned out to be an excellent decision. 

In the morning we cooked bacon, eggs, toast and pancakes then went for a stroll down the Shoalhaven River and found a large amount of ice and sunshine.

Weather for Canyoners

WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST AND IT IS QUITE POSSIBLY BORING!

 Disclaimer: Make your own decisions when you’re deciding whether to head out on a trip. There are so many more factors than just these to consider!

Sydney has been wet recently. I mean really wet. I mean crazy thunderstorms dumping 30-90mm of rain in an hour wet. With all of this weather the facebook group OzCanyons has been buzzing with discussions about whether it is safe to canyon and what canyons are best. While I can’t help with that info – as a few people like Tom mentioned it really is a decision for the group to make based on experience – I thought I would share a few thoughts on weather resources to help make decisions about whether or not to head out. Like all meteorological discussions remember that ‘the forecast is always correct, just a day or month out’ so take everything with a grain of salt and remember there is no substitute for knowledge or experience.

In summary my process for making a decisions would be the dot points below – the rest of the post will explain some of the resources I use in consideration.

  • Check the forecast –if it is crazy I’ll call it.
  • Check the radar – because I like the image and it is useful (but only at the last minute I guess)
  • Check recent weather data – work out what has been happening recently in the area I am going to – if there has been a lot of rain or storms recently I’ll make a call.
  • Check individual rain gauge data – because the popular weather stations aren’t always close by.
  • Check the forecast maps and forecasts again with the background knowledge of what conditions are likely to be at the moment.
  • If I still haven’t made a decision – check with an expert (like the OzCanyons Crew)

Continue reading

2015 – variable with a hint of nuts

What a year… I mean really… What a year!

There hasn’t been anything that has happened this year that I really expected, or planned to happen when I was thinking about what 2015 was going to hold in store. It has been a year of epic changes in life and circumstances. They’ve been almost entirely self instigated, and generally speaking I didn’t really consider the consequences of the decisions and actions I have made in advance which may in hindsight have been a mistake but that is what happens sometimes I guess.

Looking briefly ahead it seems as though 2016 may have to be a more responsible and considered year, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be lots of adventures and good times so I think I will be able to manage this. I certainly hope I will be able to.

So onto the potted summary of 2015…

To make it easier I have added a favourite photo (not the best but my favourite) from each month, and have linked each photo to a blog post I didn’t dislike.

January to March

I pretended to have a normal life, with a job, a house, a girlfriend and very occasionally a social life.

I went for some rides, a few short walks, snorkeled and did quite a few canyons. Oh and I went to Fiji!

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January – a very wet walk on Middle Head

Canyoning can be so much hard work, especially waiting around while people try to repair their lilos.

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March – Fiji and cyclones

 April to May

I stopped pretending to have a normal life, planned to go on an adventure and spent a fair bit of time in Western Australia. Continue reading

The last leg…

So after 4 months on the road it seems that it is now less than four weeks until I go home. I am really not sure how it has passed so quickly -especially given how long some stretches of the trip have seemed. Still it will soon be time to pack up the bike and confront whatever life throws at me when I get back to Sydney and the dreaded “next”.

For the past few days I have been massively bludging in Basel at my friends house which they have super generously let me stay in, so I have been considering two things:
– the rest of my ride to Vienna; and
– how I will feel getting back

The rest of the ride is probably going to be very weather dependent as I had planned on going straight to St Morit by train but there is a cold front coming through this weekend so being up high doesn’t seem like a good plan. So now I am going to revert to Plan A and head east until it looks like there will be a break in the weather and then head to St Moritz and the River Inn.

As far as what I’ll think about getting home that is a completely unknown quantity. For the past month I have been at a point where I knew I could accept going home, but going to the alps challenged that view substantially! I am itching to get riding again so despite my legs still feeling shite after descending too much mountain I am going to get going tomorrow. What I will do when I get home and the solution to everything isn’t just “ride” or “ride later” I am not really sure. That said there are a lot of day rides and weekend tours to be done so perhaps I will maintain some level of activity this time….

I am also a little concerned about post ride depression, of which a similar condition is pretty well documented for hikers (discussed well here). When I cycled around Tasmania for a month I decided to quit my job in Sydney and move to Brisbane and then Alice Springs which possibly wasn’t the expected outcome of a holiday. This time I have already quit a job, moved out of a house and ended a relationship so I am not sure I am creative enough to make other big changes but it does mean getting back to Sydney (or my parents place) with a clean slate and no plan. Some things not to think about right now!

So anyway after a little rant that hasn’t really gone anywhere expect to give an idea of a state of mind it is now onwards for another three and a bit weeks of riding to get to Vienna! There will be mountains, rivers, fields, sunshine, rain and probably snow – so that is enough to think about for now.

Thanks for checking in!

A day out in Geraldton

So this weekend I am in Geraldton, Western Australia exploring the town for things of interest while work keeps me here for a while. Luckily there seems to be plenty on this weekend which means that I’ve had a busy day of coffee, washing, viewing a church, the Valley View Airshow, sunset at the beach and putting together a quick video from some canyons I did recently.

Some photos to corroborate my very brief words (oh and open up the photos).

And then there was the sunset!

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A rainy Sunday walk

Sometimes a rainy day walks turns out to be awesome.  I have to admit that last Sunday I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did and caught my ferry across to Taronga before walking very slowly around to Balmoral.

Twas pretty sweet seeing scrub turkeys and water dragons within view of the Sydney CBD.

Continue reading

Playing it Safe

Having a large group of outdoorsy friends is an interesting lifestyle. With friends outside my outdoorsy life decisions on when events should go ahead are pretty arbitrary – things like was it a stressful week and do I feel like talking to “X” today. In my outdoorsy friend group the discussions and decision are generally based on much more prosaic things – do I think it will be safe, do I have access the right gear or what party size am I comfortable with?

This is I feel is a great compliment to my friends as these are all phenomenally important questions.

All the time I read about people who do things that I would consider crazy. When ever I think about people who are under prepared I think of the french guy we met once in Scotsdale (Tasmania) who had arrived in the country, made a trip to target and bought a bicycle and camping gear and set off to ride around Tassie. Now in hindsight I admire him in many ways for having the guts to arrive in another country and just run with it, but at the time the only thing I could possibly think of was that the chap was going to die. I mean really, he had a 65litre backpack full of gear he so clearly didn’t know how to use that it took him over an hour to set up a really basic dome tent.

As my thoughts move on to people more prepared but still crazy my thoughts move to a slightly over-confident man I met in Papunya who was planning on riding to Port Headland in Western Australia via the back tracks, and believe me I mean back tracks! I never heard anything more about the guy on the news, which I can only take to mean he survived (or was never missed) but he had 25 litres of water on the bike so there was a chance he’d make it.

So as this weekend came around and the weather forecast turned from damp to thundery, and the BOM flood watch site showed there being 40mm of rain in an hour during one of the storm session near were we had planned canyoning my thoughts turned to safety and whether I felt like risking flash-flooding. You might be able to guess that the answer was no so I spent today reading a book instead.

That said I know a fair few canyoners who did head out today despite to forecast, and until 6pm there really wasn’t much rain so I am sure they all made it out safely, so what is the difference in thought processes between us? I am sure my mum approves of my playing it safe, and I am sure playing it safe is why I and all my friends are still here to write blogs and consider such adventures but it is interesting to consider the risks and what it is that clicks in the back of our brains somewhere to say “hmmm, perhaps wait for another day”.

Anyway, no really point to this rant except to let my mum know I am being sensible(-ish) and maybe give you a clue why there aren’t any pretty pictures today!

2015 – It’s off to a good start

So 2015 is here. No matter that when ever I read it in my head I say 2005, no matter that today is 5/1/15 and I got a little bit excited, the important thing is that this is a new year were new things can happen and probably will. As anyone who has been following the blog would have read last year was a jam packed year with adventures to NZ, a big move back to Sydney and a whole lot of non-cycling related adventures. I don’t really have many goals for 2015 just yet but I have a strong suspicion that a decently big cycle tour might be squeezed in there somewhere. If anyone has polite suggestions of where I should go please feel free to contribute, however for now I think the leading contender is the back roads of Iceland.

Anyway, with a new year comes other new things. The first is a little bit of digital wizardry called a VIRB, which is a nifty little sports cam I have purchased and will be playing with over the coming year. To match this new technology I am going to be trying out a few little upgrades to the blog to make it keep up with the times. So here is my first attempt at a time lapse video as recorded on my new VIRB. I apologise in advance because, well, lets just say it is a little rough around the edges!

You can also have some photos from my Christmas holiday because the 5,300 of you who looked at my blog last year have been so good that you deserve more!

 

Year in review. ..

Well it is 2015 now. It only seems like a month or two ago I spent NYE 13-14 in a cavers hut in NZ after a day of blackwater rafting. A memory-blurred few weeks ago seems to take me back to camping out in the Namadgee national park near Canberra following one of the hardest rides I have ever done over the NYE 12-13. So with a little reflection on board here are a few favourite photos from my year. image

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image Thanks everyone for dropping in again and I hope we can share some adventures over the coming year! Oh yeah, and here are some photos from today! image image