Being Lisa ~ “Sunshine”


I met Lisa early one dark morning outside My Sweetopia in West End, Brisbane Australia. We were getting ready for a LIV/Giant Ladies River Loop. We pedalled our way around the famous loop, battling our way through peak hour traffic on Annerley Road, ending up on Grey Street…with our names written in our coffee froth. It was a great bunch of women. Smiles all round! I was chatting to her about various bike related things. I asked her about cycling and found out she was a commuter amongst other things. I nearly dropped dead when she sent through her story. She is testimony that you are never too old to participate in any sport or race. What an amazing active woman! 


Here is her story…

From a young kid I’ve always loved sport. Not keen to watch it, always wanted to be part of it. And although I’d give most things a crack I did better if there were wheels or water involved. At 14 I was a keen skater. I was in the speed team with the Miami skate rink. That took every weekend up that I remember at that age. (Oh…until I met BOYS!) At age 16, a friend’s father introduced me to waterskiing (that then included BOYS!) and until the age of about 19 I was spending most of my weekends at Lake Somerset where my cousin and other friends had some ski shacks we called home. (Don’t know how I finished my nursing training, as I was always sick on weekends and had so much time to make up to graduate). Even bought my own boat “DENVER” 350 Chev Camiro for these who “nose” these things. I got to ski with the Sea World Crew, as they were frequent recreational skiers at Somerset in those days.

In my mid twenties I took to motorcycles with a variety of bikes (with motors) from a V800 to an RMX250. Of course they needed to be modified as I’m a little vertically challenged for the trail bikes high suspension. I met my husband around this time and we decided to sell everything we had, bikes, cars, house blah blah and bugger of overseas for 12 months to the UK (as you do). When we returned, and due to Mikes love of the water, we got ourselves a dive ticket each and bought ourselves a beautiful Sparkman and Stephens’s 30ft yacht to play on. Remember the days before children and the disposable income you had?

Anyway, I guess it was about this time 14 years ago, when we returned from our year in the UK and bought ourselves a renovator, close enough to the city that you could ride a bike. I bought myself a mountain bike and with the encouragement of my friend at work Fiona, I started riding to work rather than catching the bus or battling the traffic on Coro drive. It was bloody hard work at first too. I loved the fact that I was getting to work for $0 feeling good getting fit and I could eat all the sweet crap I wanted without feeling guilty.

I changed jobs and started working in the city, yay a bit closer! And was pleased to find many bike-minded like-minded colleagues who also rode to work. Our office looked like a youth hostel with bikes and smelly knicks and towels hanging all over the fire extinguishers. I was convinced by Scotty (one of my mates at work) to buy myself a roadie…I guess it’s where my love for riding began. I bought a Giant TCR and kept it for 10 years, my loyal friend. Many a weekend was spent riding with this little group of friends and their friends and partners, to Wynnum, Cleveland etc. Sometimes Scott and I would head out and do a ride to Wynnum before work or meet at Mount Gravatt and do a lap or two of the mountain. If the weather was fine that is!! I managed to score the nickname of “Sunshine” from one of my colleagues as I only ever rode when the sun was out LOL.

I loved commuting to work and back. It gave me time out to think, sing (out loud sometimes) and generally revitalise for the day or wind down from the day’s end. Mike also started commuting by bike to work so now we are a 1 car family and have been for some years.

2 years ago we took 12 months off work (yes again) and took ourselves on a caravanning trip around Australia (google Barling adventures for a look) due to space constrictions we took NO BIKES…OMG can you imagine! So here you have a family of bike lovers and not one bike not even a folder!! We broke at Kalgoorlie and bought Pippa a bike which we strapped to the back of the van for the rest of the journey. She was happy and it was worth it. Not many, then, 7 year olds can say they rode on the Nullabor!

Since our return we are back to the daily grind of work and straight back into commuting to and from the city. After spending a year OFF the bike I was keen to do a little more than just commute. On my return I found to my delight that my bike minded colleagues and some of their partners were doing Triathlons. I admired their guts and determination. Not only that – they all looked bloody fit and fantastic and I wanted a piece of that pie.

I set myself a goal that I’d train hard at swim, bike and run (god help me I am not a runner) and I would do the Pink Triathlon on the Gold coast. As it worked out my friends were doing the Raby Bay Gatorade Tri the weekend before the pink and I was coerced into doing that one. I did it, I loved it, I will never look back. I came 5th in my age group and was hooked!

The next weekend I did the Pink as did my 8 year old daughter and we have both participated in 8 Triathlons each this season. Pippa has now got 5 other kids from her school involved too. It’s such a great sport to feel good, keep fit and race your own PB.

I went to Mooloolaba and did the bike leg for a team. We had a blast, and I did the bike leg in just under 80min. I was really pleased with my time and have set my goal for an Olympic distance next season ALL BY MYSELF.

At 48 I feel fantastic. You are never too old to start. In my last Gatorade this season I did the sprint distance instead of the enticer…I remember looking around as we floated in the water waiting for the start, thinking ‘Check out all these old girls – they look so fit’ then laughing to myself as I said “Shit! I am one on these old girls!” I came 7th in my gender age bracket. I know I am bragging a bit here, but as besides still being surprised at my own achievement I think anyone who WANTS to do this CAN do this if you just put in a bit of grunt and determination. It’s not rocket science…Determination + hard work = results = self belief.

I’m the healthiest I’ve been for some time and its an activity that sees me doing three different sports, with different bunches of friends. My swim fit ladies with Kerry at Langlands Pool. Kerry taught me technique, so as not to swim to the bottom of the pool like I was…LOL. On top of my daily commute to work I have started some bunch rides and value the support of the fellow riders including Planet Cycles and LIV/Giant. Unfortunately I’m still running/shuffling alone but to be honest I’m okay with that. Some, or most weeks, I don’t get the amount of training in I’d like but it’s a family, work, life, sport, balance hahaha. It takes a lot of organising to fit everything in and around the activities of partners, kids, family and work so I figure I do ok!

This winter I plan to keep training hard…and stay in front of those who slack off…

These days I have a Colnago roadie…a Charge fixie with bright green V rims (yes I do ride in fixed wheel) and a Brompton folder…I need 2 more, which are a mountain (with disc brakes for all the wet weather commuting, it would be nice to have brakes in the wet!) and a Triathlon bike would be a sweet treat. We have 8 bikes between 3 of us. Do we like to ride? You betcha we do!

I no longer carry the name “Sunshine” although I do like it, maybe I should re invent it for myself.  In fact I think now “they” say I’m a little nuts as rain, hail or shine you will see me on the bike track headed to work…when it rains I just put on a smile, a bright light, a raincoat and take it easy.

We now have a bike cage at work to house the 15+ cycles that use to cramp our desk spaces. Thanks Greg!

Happy Biking! 🙂

If you are new to bunch riding and think you might be more comfortable starting out in a women’s only group check out the LIV/Giant Weblink (there is one organised in every state):

Being Paul ~ Reward yourself ~ Ain’t no Mountain High Enough!

2013 Me and my Tarmac

2012 Atop Stelvio with Michael and Chris

2012 Atop Stelvio with Michael and Chris

I met Paul on Facebook (who’da’thought?!) through the Lifecycle Rider closed group forum. He has ridden 17,613.4kms since up-loading his rides on STRAVA. That’s a whole lot of pedal time! Paul is one of the many Heart and Souls of Lifecycle. In between his day job and caring for his family, he supports Lifecycle with regards to the Lifecycle Racing Club. I have been working with him creating new material for Lifecycle and have been in communication via email only.  I finally got to meet him, in person a week ago, outside Lifecycle early one chilly Saturday morning for a group ride to Gap Creek. He is a wonderful and enthusiastic man willing to support anybody whom asks. In one of our conversations, I discovered that he had lost an outstanding amount of weight from cycling and that he is a touring cyclist…my favourite subjects! If you like the concept of bike touring like Paul does, perhaps you might like to check out Bicycle Queensland’s (Australia) current 9 Day ride in September? It is a good basis for any future longer rides you might like to try, and very useful preparation for bike touring. I hope you enjoy reading about Paul and his cycling journey.

Here is his story…

To passers by, I looked like any other cyclist sipping his macchiato after a vigorous morning ride through the streets of Echirolles outside Grenoble in France. I was waiting for my two companions who had spent the night at le Bourg-d’Oisons at the foot of l’Alpe d’Huez. I should have been with them – looking forward to climbing the mighty alp.

Just a few years before I was a fairly chunky 117 kilograms. Even for my big-boned 183 centimetres I was, undoubtedly, obese. A friend had some success with a medically supervised very low carbohydrate diet (VLCD) and encouraged me to do the same.

Kudos to Dr Colin Armstrong with whom I negotiated a compromise – I would diet but I would not exercise. Each week I’d check in with the good doctor. He’d check my vitals and log my weight – and we’d chat. I think most of his patients were older women so he would look forward to my visits – or maybe he was just a super friendly guy. In any case I looked forward to my weekly visits.

I had good success – 4 kilos in the first week and a further 12kg over a few months. My weight settled at around 100kg and I could not budge below that mark. Even at 100kg I was categorized as overweight – at least I was no longer obese! To fall within the normal range for my height I needed to lose another 15kg. Clearly diet alone wasn’t going to get me there.

Maybe I should give exercise a go. As a kid I used to ride a bike every day to school. And on weekends – with my surfboard under one arm – I’d ride 10km from home in Labrador to Main Beach on the Gold Coast. My bike was built by my granddad from parts he salvaged from the tip. It was a piece of junk. I thought all bikes were junk. Once I got my drivers license I was happy never to ride again. Once mandatory helmet laws were introduced it sealed it and I stopped riding altogether.

Dr Colin was a cyclist, but not a die hard. We developed an easy rapport. Soon talk turned to bicycles. I bought a hybrid – flat bar and fat road tyres. I couldn’t believe how much the technology had progressed from my old junkyard bike.

Since I now had a bike, I needed a goal to keep me motivated. I respond well to rewards. My plan was that in six months I’d be ready to join Bicycle Queensland’s 9 day ride from Port Douglas to Mission Beach. I had lived in FNQ and had a good friend, Michael, who still lived in Cairns and who had a bike. I convinced him to come along as well. So I needed to start training if I was to ride over 600km in 9 days.

At first, a 10km ride would result in me needing to have a good lie down but after a few weeks I was managing 25km rides. After a couple of months I was hooked. I knew I needed to get a proper road bike. A mate, Big Tim, took me in to meet Blair at Lifecycle. Blair is a gentleman of the highest order. I now had two bikes and started riding with Lifecycle but getting dropped off the back with a bunch of others who quickly became very firm friends. I still rarely miss a Saturday Lifecycle ride.

Regular riding with the Lifecycle crew meant that I was ready to take on the Cycle Queensland Challenge. It was such a great event. Unfortunately, along the way, Michael picked up a tummy bug and was unable to complete the ride. He too was loving it up to that point but hadn’t been doing a lot of riding. In his university days, Michael used to do a bit of unsupported touring and he and his former touring buddy Christopher convinced me to give that a go. So Michael and Christopher plotted a course around Kosciuszko National Park.

Each year since then we’ve gone on a touring adventure: New Zealand, Tasmania, Border Ranges, back to Tasmania and here we are in France.

The outline for our European adventure was to start in Milan, Italy and finish in Nice, France. Along the way we had three milestones: Christopher wanted to ride over the Passo dello Stelvio – the second highest mountain pass in Europe on the Italy-Switzerland border; Michael wanted to visit friends in Bregenz in Austria; and I wanted to climb l’Alpe d’Huez.

With a week to go of our four week adventure we had cycled over 1,300km through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world; we’d witnessed Ryder Hesjedal snatch victory of the Giro d’Italia in Milan; endured massive mountain passes; ridden through snow and rain, visited Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany and now France. We had ridden over the Stelvio, visited Michael’s friends in Austria and today is the day we were going to climb l’Alpe d’Huez – only we wouldn’t. Because I couldn’t.

Across the road from my cafe was a hospital. That’s where I had spent last night after the ambulance rushed me there with a suspected broken collarbone. Yesterday, in a quiet rural village less than an hour from the foot of l’Alpe, my front wheel got caught in a pothole and I fell awkwardly – damn!

We spent the last week of our adventure on the French Riviera – with my shoulders strapped to support the broken bone. When, a week later, we returned from Europe I weighed in at 87kg a full 30kg less than when my weight loss journey began.

And the journey continues. I’ve got a few more kilograms to lose and I have to get back to France. I have unfinished business with l’Alpe d’Huez.

Bicycle Queenslands next Cycling Tour:

Lifecycle Brisbane Australia:

Being Bronwyn Kelly ~ A Cycling Biography


2013 Ipswich 100


I met Bronwyn at my brothers house one day. We were participating in his ‘Bike Cleaning #101 for Remedial’s’ course. If you know Jon (JD), you will know he is obsessed with making everything clean. He keeps his bikes immaculately clean! Most friends make jokes with him about it. Some of us want to be like Jon…and some of us just want to know how to wash down and lube your chain…like Jon! So…I got to know Bronwyn that afternoon, as we (and another lady) were standing around, watching Jon hose down her bike and explain the types of clothes you should use, and in what order, what detergent is best, how to scrub the grease off your chain, wash it down correctly (don’t forget to wash each individual spoke ladies!), wipe down every last drop of water and lube the chain within an inch of its life! During this session I discovered that in 2011 I had ridden 570kms with Bronwyn on the Cycle Queensland Goondiwindi to Brisbane bike ride! There were 1,500 cyclists on that tour…I met a lot of them…but not Bronwyn. I wished I had! Bronwyn was riding her Giant Transend 1 and I was riding my Specialized Myca mountain bike. Seriously! Both bikes are heavy bikes to ride and, like Bronwyn explains, it is a real push to make it on time to all the rest stops…and home before the SAG sweeps you up! Watching all those road bikes swoosh past me made me also think…maybe I need a road bike? Bronwyn and I have ridden together on many bike rides. Our farthest stint was the STRAVA 100 mile Challenge where we clocked up 170kms in one day. I have been privileged to be included in her Deadly Domestique River Loop group ride (recently resulting in a real live domestic!) and enjoy chatting with her post ride over coffee and ‘soldiers’ at GoMa. One day my brother and friends, decided to ride to Mt Nebo. There were two groups: mountain and road. Bronwyn and I took the mountain option. I was absolutely amazed and inspired, as I watched Bronwyn climb every single steep bit of that mountain on Ted’s Heritage Cannondale CAD 3 MTB…whilst I walked bits of it! She is a determined young woman and takes on any challenge 100%…including Coot-tha…but I shall let her tell you her story…

I hope you are also inspired by her as I was…

I have been commuting to work for over a decade. Not everyday but I like the idea of saving money on bus fares and never liked the idea of paying to go to the gym. Especially when I can save money, time and get exercise.

Back in 2002 I rode into work on a Sunday to start with. No one showed me how, held my hand or encouraged me it was something I decided I wanted to do and quietly went about it. I found out where I could lock my bike up, how to access the area and I was away. The first time I rode in on a weekday. I got to the office garage door and pressed intercom for security to open it and nearly lost my breakfast. After that I learnt to not push it quite so hard. It didn’t take long to find out the safe paths through the city that weren’t too populated with pedestrians.

I became dependent on cycling and was missing it in mid 2002 when after it had been raining solidly for two weeks and I hadn’t been riding, I was about to head to the bus again when I looked out the window and saw blue skies. I went and changed into my riding clothes and set off into one of the loveliest mornings. I was so happy the air was clean and clear from all the rain, I had a good song in my head and I could see the hills as I crested the SE Freeway cycle path beside the southern end of the Captain Cook Bridge.  But from there I didn’t take enough consideration of the speed I was going down the pinch into the corners, nor the wet leaves that had become a sodden mess over the weeks of rain and I ended up coming off and breaking my front teeth.


Bronwyn breaks her front teeth in an unfortunate cycling incident

I was pretty upset more than in pain but your teeth are pretty important you realise when you don’t have them. I was checked out at the hospital and was fine other than the teeth and my brother found an amazing dentist who worked on my teeth for the next 6 months. My dental bills were covered by WorkCover as I had been on my way to work, which I appreciated when it totalled $7,000. In that time I didn’t ride but I did win $500 from a radio contest and when they asked what I was going to do with the money I said I would be getting a new bike. I mainly blamed the old Kmart bike for my stack and my lack of concentration. The old bike is still being ridden by my nephews at my parent’s farm. I bought a new burgundy Apollo hybrid. It was made of steel but I didn’t know better and I loved it. It was so much sturdier than the old Kmart bike so I wasn’t concerned that I couldn’t pick it up to carry it more than over a couple of stairs.

Once my teeth were fixed and I was again able to eat apples and sandwiches, I set back off on my bike commute but now I was a bit afraid of going down hills so I carried a mouthguard and would wear it going down hills. After a while it was so hard to breath with it that I stopped using it and it has now sat in its case for the past 9 years. Eventually I got over my fear of coming off again while going down hills.

When I moved to Scotland I got another Hybrid and would go on little rides around Edinburgh and then Glasgow. I had dreams of cycling the 60 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh, but that was beyond my endurance at that time. I was quite proud of my ride from Partick to Bells Bridge which was a 60km round trip. I had never ridden so far before I just kept going until I felt I had ridden half way of where I thought I could ride home from. I got a bit lost on the way home and ended up following then chatting to a South African doctor who cycled to and from work in Dumbarton and turned out lived around the corner from me.

When I returned to Australia, I still rode my Apollo but when I had a job working out past Ipswich there was less cycling to be had. Other than cycling to and from UQ to study for my masters degree. I found it took the same amount of time including waiting to cycle or catch the bus, so I rode. When I changed jobs and started working at TMR I found the only way to get to work was to cycle or walk as I was so close to home. And that is when I started thinking about Cycle Queensland. My flatmate Meeki had done it a couple of years before (the Darling Downs Loop), so my thought was, I ride more than her…I can do that. I was also inspired by the blog TMR people wrote and went in the internal messages for the Yeppoon to Bundaberg ride. So I got a new much lighter ladies bike. It took me a while to find as I had something in mind and all the shops wanted me to buy a flat bar road bike. My thought was that yes I want to ride from Goondiwindi to Brisbane but for the rest of the time I want to be able to ride to and from work in a dress. So I was happy when I found someone happy to sell me the bike I wanted I bought it immediately. That is a Giant Transend 1, which I call Gigante which is Spanish for giant and because I ride it to and from UQ where I am studying Spanish.

One of my favourite things to do while riding out to UQ from the CBD along the Biccentenial Path in my frock and with my pannier is to ride as fast as I can without appearing to. I always find some bloke on a road bike who will try and pass me I just like to make it so he has to work a bit harder to do so. I can usually get to the Go Between Bridge before they have been able to get enough speed to pass me.

My first big ride was in April 2011 the Ipswich 100 – 100km route. It took my 6hrs and I realised several things. You shouldn’t wear underpants under knicks (shy shorts in this case) and big comfy looking saddles are not so much after 50km and even worse after 75km. I fixed these issues later.

After starting work at TMR making maps of Queensland I realised I was only familiar with the South east corner and had no experience of the rest of the state that I was mapping everyday. So I decided that the best way to rectify this was the do a road trip of North West Queensland with a friend and Cycle Queensland (CQ) that was cycling from Goondiwindi to Brisbane. After coming back from my road trip in July I had 8 weeks to train up for CQ. I found a training plan on the BQ website and set about getting some decent time in the saddle. I found it very good as it got you used to spending a longer time riding starting with 20km distances and working up to longer ones with riding on consecutive days. It also included suggested days with hilly rides, so I took my bike up Mt Coot-tha. Starting with the front and then tackling the back.

In September 2011 I rode Gigante from Goondiwindi to Brisbane and then home. I really enjoyed it as a “slow cyclist” I would have chats to people all day along the way, ask them about themselves and their riding and discuss their bikes. Good fun. At the end of the day the TMR people were always surprised how many people I knew simply from who I had chatted to along the way. The hardest day was the 100km from Texas to Stanthorpe and the most rewarding was from Woodenbong to Rathdowney leg to lunch. I set out that morning a bit later than I wanted and everyone else had headed off already. So I was riding hard to catch up. We were suppose to be at Rathdowney State School at 9:45am for a presentation about cycling and I was carrying the bicycle helmet we were to give away. So first I had to get over the Border Range. That actually wasn’t too bad with a bike with a triple chain ring. The best bit was coming down the other side with kilometres of long sweeping roads which is where the weight of my bike came into its own. I was overtaking everyone, with a big grin on my face. I finally caught up to Robyn and Gavin at the morning tea stop in Pallin Creek then we travelled in my first pace line along the flats to Rathdowney. I was surprised to find that I was able to maintain 30km/hr on a ladies step through bike with someone else blocking the wind for me and we made it dead on time for our appointment.

Over the 9 day holiday and 8 days of riding I had the TMR team of cyclists work on me with the constant suggestion of “You should get a road bike”. After the persistent recommendations to get a road bike I finally broke under the weight of the peer pressure after CQ2011. I succumbed and found one I liked, a Specialized Dolce Elite fitted with a massive mountain bike cassette (11-32T), which I got fitted because I could and it gave me as wide a range of gears as I have on my hybrid with a triple chain ring. I had always had a bit of a loathing of climbing hills on my old steel framed Apollo but with the lighter Gigante with a good range of gears I seemed to forget that and often on CQ would end up riding past lots of people walking up steep sections because they had run out of gears. With the massive cassette on my road bike it allowed me to never have any excuse for having to walk up a hill. Since October 2011 I have ridden 7200km on it, completing countless river loops, several 100km rides and Mt Nebo climbs, another Cycle Queensland, a 100 mile ride and many Mt Coot-tha ascents.

I got introduced to Strava last year by JD (who I started refering to as Captain Strava, as I doubt there is anyone more keen on Strava that JD out there). These days have no problems descending hills and have found I have a bit on an aptitude for it having captured a few Queen of the Mountains (QOMs) coming off Mt Coot-tha. Late last year I started doing repeats of the back of Mt Coot-tha in an attempt to improve my fitness a bit quicker so I could keep up with the people I ride with during the week. So when the Stava Tour Down Under Mt Coot-tha Challenge came up I joined as I was doing it regularly anyway.

Bronwyn Coot-tha

Bronwyn rides Mt Coot-tha early mornings

It turned out for most of the month I was the one who had completed the most ascents until halfway through when another woman started doing 4-5 in a session. On the last day I had been lent a carbon bike I was test riding and in the morning had done my best time up the back when it turned out I was only 3 ascents short of the other lady and only needed 4 to win the most ascents prize. I got egged on a bit and decided since I had done two in a row and three is only one more than that, four shouldn’t be too much of a problem. So that afternoon I decided to drive over, so conserve some energy and started my repeats, after the first one I sent a message to a few of the people that had been egging me on that I was doing it. JD replied and said he should be over in time for my last one, so  I got two in before it started getting dark and while coming down on the third realised my front lights were inadequate for riding in the dark with no street lights. Luckily I have a string of red fairy lights I had attached to my back which at least illuminated me very well from behind. I was so glad to see JD when he arrived in the pitch black with a decent set of headlights. So he led me up for the last one and down again. So for my efforts I got a Stava Jersey Bin and a Strava cap. I thought JDs efforts riding up with me deserved the cap and I kept the Jersey Bin.

As of this week I have retired the Dolce having now purchased a new carbon fibre – Specialized Ruby Comp.

Why do I like cycling?

I like the self motivated transport. I like being able to leave when I like and not be fixed to a time table. Also I need the exercise, I hate gyms and enjoy the constantly changing scenery you get riding.

Why do I cycle commute to work?

I have been commuting to work for over a decade. Not everyday but I like the idea of saving money on bus fares and never liked the idea of paying to go to the gym. Especially when I can save money, time and get exercise.

Why is cycling your passion?

This has come as a surprise to me. But I am no longer passionate but obsessed/addicted to cycling. As I have now found a good group of people to ride with there is always a group ride on so I find I am riding nearly everyday as I don’t want to miss out. It must also be the endorphins. I may have taken it a bit to far as I was riding 6 days a week and have done 9 consecutive days of long rides (I think I was trying to make up for the excesses of Christmas and New Year). I am now managing it better by riding more like 5 days a week of long rides.

In the past 6 months since becoming a weekday rider (rather than just a weekend rider), I have lost 10kg and am better able to keep up with the group despite being on a heavier alloy road bike. The main contributor to my improved fitness and weight loss would be the many repeats of Mt Coot-tha I did last year. What started as 17 minutes of pushing myself has now dropped to 13 minutes, while riding the same bike.

What is your ultimate dream, when it comes to cycling?

I have dreams but they change all the time. I have thought about doing a cycling tour over some long distances unsupported. But haven’t seriously put any steps towards doing it yet. Other than the first trip I would like to do is a two day trip from home to my parents place in Gympie via Kilcoy, then either ride back over a couple of days or take the train.

I would like to be better at technical mountain biking, or at least get some training to improve my confidence as I am usually afraid constantly I am going to hurt myself.

I am going to continue to do Cycle Queensland. I have convinced my parents to join me this year. A few years ago they walked the Camino in Spain and they are fairly fit macadamia farmers but haven’t been cycling for years.

CQ2012 route went past the end of their road just outside Gympie along Cedar Pocket Road. I asked them to come and have a look and bring along Mum’s collection of dinner bells as people would get a kick out of that. They did it despite their reservations about the neighbours seeing them making fools of themselves. They were there from when the first riders, yelling encouragement and ringing their bells until the last riders, long after the police and marshals had all moved on.

So they have been a bit wary about how far their can ride, being in their mid 60s, so I have set them the challenge of riding the 50km return trip up Cedar Pocket Road to Kin Kin. If they can manage that then there is little that could be harder on the next CQ ride. This road includes crossing the range and some decent hills with a long 9% grade and some nasty sharp ones at 12% and 18% grades. They have six months and have now managed the 40km return trip to the top of the gap in the range.

Mum is looking forward to getting my current road bike as she is currently riding the sturdy 17kg Apollo but would love the 6kg weight loss that will come with my road bike. The massive cassette with 36 teeth I’m sure will help her to get up those steep hills with ease.

strava-segment-challenge-pr strava-segment-challenge

As Bronwyn said to me: “I feel like we both started out the same – using bikes for transportation and then reluctantly donned the Lycra after a while, however I have no aspirations of building my own bike”. Nor do I! You pick them up from a bike shop don’t you? 🙂

*Note* At the time of writing this blog, Bronwyn had a collision with another cyclist and is currently working on mending her ankle (chipped bone). It was a most unfortunate morning…having taken out her new Specialized Ruby Comp for it’s first trip up Mt Coot-tha. It’s wheel is badly buckled and will need replacement. We all miss her out on our rides and look forward to her return with open arms. 

Bronwyns favourite bike blog: Lovely Bicycle:

Being Lars Marshall ~

2012 Santos GLNG Brisbane to the Gold Coast Cycle Challenge

2012 Santos GLNG Brisbane to the Gold Coast Cycle Challenge

I met Lars at coffee after a Lifecycle Wombles ride a little while back. I had seen photographs of him and had chatted to him on Facebook, so I recognised his smiley face when I saw him sitting around the table wearing, what I like to refer to as, the ‘Smurf Kit’ (bright blue and white Lifecycle team kit). The first photograph I had seen of Lars was of him sitting in a big bubbly spa bath with his friend, Andrew, (post O’Reilly’s Challenge). It was the funniest image I had ever seen! His hair was spiky and he had the cheesiest grin on his face…like a little boy who just found the chocolate chip biscuits in the pantry. There was something about this young man that I liked. He has such an enthusiasm for life and for cycling. Always with a smile on his face. He is strong, fit and healthy and enjoys cycling with his friends and the Lifecycle Team. It is such a wonderful sight to see a young man embrace a sport and look after his body. It would be so amazing if all young men thought this way. I asked Lars to share a little bit about himself and his joy of riding his bike.

Here is his story…

I started cycling as a result of joining Southbank Triathlon Club in 2010.

I had a friend who I worked with at NAB called Max who was currently a member there and was training to race in Germany and abroad. He was very inspirational. When I purchased my bike (Giant TCR 2 Advanced 2010) I thought this was an insane amount to spend on a bike! Max would take me riding to Mt Nebo before work once a week. A nice hard introduction to road cycling I must say!

Basically, from here I loved the bike. I instantly began commuting and have been ever since. It’s faster, free and most importantly fun (the 3 F’s). My bike is my transport and I cycle in group rides 5 times a week on average. I have ridden 6,393km since purchasing my bike. My biggest ride was 240km in one day.

Thursday Morning Lifecycle Tour de Redcliffe

Lifecycle O’Reilly’s Challenge 2012

Looking for a faster group to ride with, I found Lifecycle, as that was Max’s and mine meeting spot. Work prevented me to ride with Lifecycle and it wasn’t until May 2012 that I rocked up to a Wednesday morning Coot-tha ride that I met Andrew (which he introduced STRAVA to me that fateful Wednesday morning). Ever since, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of lovely people through cycling & Lifecycle, yourself including, Caroline.

Cycling has had the biggest and most positive effect in my life since moving to Brisbane in 2007. I recommend everyone do it. It’s free, its fun, it’s social, it’s healthy and it’s as competitive as you want to make it.

My lifelong dream is to have a job that allows me to ride everyday and become very competitive and compete professionally.

My greatest memories on my bike would include finishing the Brisbane – Gold Coast 2012 in the lead group with a time over 1hr quicker then when I had ridden it in 2010.
 Riding Lifecycle’s O’Reilly’s Challenge (Lamington National Park Road, Gold Coast Hinterlands Queensland, Australia) in 2012 and…basically…all the Lifecycle Brisbane River Loops and Tour de Redcliffe (TDR’s).

Lars Marshall

Dave Sharp ~ Safe Cycling Australia

I recently met Dave Sharp through a friend of mine. He was looking for some design work for his organisation, Safe Cycling Australia. When he explained to me what SCA was about I immediately jumped on it! I was inspired by his attitude and determination to make “SCA all about cyclists reclaiming space on Australia’s roads”. As a cyclist I find it pretty impressive that people, like Dave, take the time and effort to rally for projects such as the State and Federal Government’s for a Minimum Safe Passing Distance rule of at least one (1) metre to be enshrined in law. Such a change will help to ensure that we can all get from A to B and back to A again by being able to maintain a more authoritative position whilst sharing our limited roadspace with other users. I asked Dave to share his story…


I started Safe Cycling Australia (SCA) without actually starting SCA in 2009 when I decided to address a growing list of personal health concerns and the inevitable depression that sets in when you feel 20 years older than your actual age.

My parents had recently returned from visiting the family in NZ and had told me about their recently introduced 1.5 metre rule and as I’d litterally just started riding again, I thought it’d be great to see a similar rule implimented here.

I was finding at the time that in the 20 years since I’d stopped riding regularly (4-500km per week) motorists had become a lot more aggressive and seemingly anti-cyclist, so I set about asking a few riders I knew what they thought of petitioning the State Government for a Minimum Safe Passing Distance to be made law in Queensland, Australia. There were more thumbs up than thumbs down. So late in ’09 I penned an e-petition and a paper copy which was distributed to every bike shop in Brisbane we could physically get to.

After gaining some press and the support of a few high profile athletes such as Robbie McEwen, the 2 copies of the petition were tabled in Parliament, and we gained a response from the then Minister – Rachel Nolan MP – around 2 months later.

The rubbish response and my determination to see this through to the end resulted in the birth of Safe Cycling Australia in 2009.


In the first year we received a nomination in the Australian National Bicycling Acheivement Awards, receiving an Honorable Mention and being beaten to first spot by the Qld Transport Minister herself. We also started work on the first version of the SCA Jersey, now a full kit, and we began doing what we could via social media to grow a supporter-base and lobby harder for the 1m rule to be introduced.

We have in the last three years gone from strength to strength with SCA almost taking on a life of it’s own. We are the first Org (first anything really) to have been nominated in the Australian National Bicycling Acheivemment Awards three years running which is huge for us.


We were instrumental in seeing Brisbane’s Share The Road signage introduced into Brisbane’s CBD. We are very proud to have been able to enlist the support of Brisbane’s cycling community in 2011/12 to gather and donate over 240 bicycles to the flood affected after the SEQ floods. That was an emotional roller coaster for us after meeting so many that were hit so hard and had lost litterally everything, which is where the bikes came in handy, particularly in Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley.

We’ve helped cyclists be more visible on Australia’s roads thanks to the jersey in three years. Everyone who wears one swears it actually does affect driver behaviour around them while riding. WIN!

While we are a small operation, we are pushing 24/7 to see the 1m Rule (now increased to 1.5m as we think that 1m simply isn’t enough) brought in in Queensland. With the way our States and Territories work, once one State makes the change, the others will usually follow with regards to roads policy and traffic rules/legislation. We are leading the way in this one area nationally, but we are also trying to encourage bike riders to acknowledge good driving by showing their appreciation, and not doing the stuff that makes drivers angry, such as red light running and wearing helmets while we’re legally obliged to, as much as we may loathe having to. Peer pressure is a good thing and we’ll always encourage our riding buddies around Oz to use it.

We also have Australia’s first National Drive2Work Day on November 11 which we will be starting to focus on shortly, the SCA Thingies which can be thrown on various parts of your bike and the ever popular cycling kit.


SCA Thingies

We run on an almost $0.00 budget – and are determined never to see a single cent of Government funding as it comes with strings, but we still punch well above our weight nationally and internationally. We do that because our supporters love and cuddle us, and help us keep charging ahead for the things they themselves consider important. We listen to bike riders and then do what we can. Without all of them, and a few so generous with their time and financial support such as Studio e and Australian Cycle Skills, we’d be nothing.

Oh, nearly forgot, I’m a massive world cycling fan (nut) and am an Australian ambassador for BikePure who also support us, and I have seen Courney Feild, Alex Morgan and Brook Ramshaw all signed up and committed to riding as clean and Proud Aussie future, no, current future…hmmm…stars and future Olympians and world champions.

You can follow Safe Cycling Australia at 

Facebook ~

Twitter ~ @SafeCyclingOz

Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads Road Rules ~

Being Rachel Edwards ~ “Sock Puppet”

Rach Edwards 5

I was recently out at the Nundah Criterion Circuit (Albert Bishop Park, Brisbane) watching a friend participate in a race. This was my first time out at the track. It was a buzz of activity … an old fashioned bell rang, there was chatter about race numbers, laughter, tactical planning, announcements of sorts blaring over the microphone, music, and importantly, the sweet smell of espresso coffee wafted out from a mobile coffee van. It was fascinating! Race bikes were everywhere and came in all brands, colours and sizes. Cyclists wearing brightly coloured flashy lycra kits bearing club names darted about. I was mesmerised…until a flash of pink caught my eye…pinkkkkkkkk…so pretttttty…powder pink. Was that black or gun metal grey? Pink handlebar tape. Pink cables. Who owned this mystical pink bike? I was about to bend down to take a sneaky snap when a young woman appeared. It was as though I was shot through a worm hole and was back at school behaving like a girl with a crush…and in a girlie squeaky voice I said “Hi! Can I take a photo of your pink bike?” She replied “Sure!” I snapped the pics, you see above, and asked what was her name. “Rachel” she replied. I asked her a few questions about her bike. It was a locally designed and built bike with titanium frame, and that she wanted this bike to last her a lifetime. She told me a whole lot more…but as I am only new to this road bike caper all I could do was nod my head to signify I was listening…as the words that came out of her mouth were another language to me! I asked Rachel would she mind if I wrote a blog about her and her pink bike and would she like to share her story about her love of cycling? She provided me with her story and a link to her blog. I was completely in aw! I have only ever read and seen pictures of women with this level of cycling skill. She has an absolutely amazing talent for both mountain and road cycling and her high level of commitment and sheer determination is an example of what is possible if you put your mind to something. The outcome is unreal! I think I have discovered my new role model…

…this is how it goes…

About me

Rach Edwards Race 4

I like bikes. Mtb bikes, road bikes, whatever – riding is fun. I know I have a problem because at current count I own 4 mountain bikes and 6 road bikes and I need them ALL!

I only really got into sport in my late 20’s, through the typical office trash talk around the BRW triathlon. Turns out I quite liked it and was good at it.  I had a brief stint in sprint triathlon before going on a mountain bike ride for cross training at lysterfield in melbourne. It was so much fun I never came back to triathlon. I did a bunch of adventure racing including XPD (900km, nonstop, unsupported race), a few geoquests and so on and then moved into 24hr solo enduro riding, which is probably my pick of things to do on a bike. I’ve now had a couple of seasons on the road, mostly as a way to improve my MTB fitness.Rach Edwards StateITT

I love riding because getting on my bike and working hard just blows everything else away. I call it feeling the machine and I guess it is my chosen form of meditation. I also love to race and I am probably a typical overachiever at heart. I’ve done ok on the road with a few masters titles and open race podiums, and I have done pretty well on the MTB. I have also made the best friends.

Most people think the enduro thing is crazy. I often get asked why I do it. For me it is really about proving determination and will. Being able to do something I didn’t think I could. It started as a goal to finish a 24hr, these days I am experienced enough that I can actually race them. The feeling you get finishing one of these is pretty amazing and gives you confidence that overlaps into your daily life. You know you can handle anything as long as you don’t quit. I think that is a great lesson.

I’d like to get another world title for 24hrs before I slow down – hoping this year in October will give me a chance!

I also want to get myself up to A on the road. I’ve had the call from the state handicapper – one more result and I can go (fingers crossed for Battle on The Border).

The future…well…

Next year I am lining up to race RAAM – Race Across America in June 2014. I’ve been granted qualification to make a solo attempt. I am planning on racing a tandem with Shannon Duggan because it is the hardest way you can do the race – and as long as one of you is qualified on a tandem you are in! so we are in for 3000 miles, non-stop. We are super lucky that GoPro have come onboard to get things started but we still have work to do on signing a major sponsor. Lots of work to do, on and off the bike.

In an extension of my passion (obsession) I am also starting up some bike related business. I am not really expecting to make too much money, but it will support my BIKE lifestyle 😉  First cab off the rank is bringing DannyShane cycling gear to Australia. They make some great looking jerseys and knicks, but the key thing is they are made from bamboo. If you havent had a piece of bamboo clothing you are missing out – and it is ecofriendly fabric thing too so I have good karma on the trails. 🙂

Rachel Edwards

To view Rachels blog go to:

Being Ross ~ “Papa Smurf”

I met this gentleman on Facebook back in 2011. We met on-line through the Bicycle Queensland Facebook page. We got to meet in person at the Brisbane Airport when we travelled on the connecting bus to Goondiwindi for the 570km Goondiwindi to Brisbane bike ride. We instantly clicked. Ross is a beautiful man. His passion (besides from his wife and family) is cycling. Ross rides every day. I follow his rides on STRAVA daily. We stay connected through this forum. He lives in Perth, Western Australia. His daily Facebook posts boast photo’s of blue ocean and white sandy beaches…not forgetting to include images of coffee and cake! Ross is my Papa Smurf. On one of our rides together he was wearing a blue kit and with a white beard he was the splitting image of Papa Smurf! The name stuck. He called me Princess Chaos Castle. He reckoned that my tent was in a constant disorganised state. I was a Princess because I was given a crown to wear on my bike helmet by my fellow Princess: Princess Many Bikes. I shall tell you about her another day. Ross recently had a second knee replacement and is in recovery. He is getting very twitchy… It won’t be long before he gets back on his bike to clock up hours on the saddle exploring undiscovered lands in North Queensland this September.

Here is his story…

About 6 years ago I had been retired for 4 years, and took on a part time job with a stock market firm in the city. I had ridden many years ago and decided now was a perfect time to re start, and ride to work. A hybrid bike was purchased along with  the necessary lycra. I found this low impact exercise was perfect for my knees which had been giving trouble for some time.

All was well with the world, cycling to and from work, but I noticed these types on “road bikes” were always passing me!!! Right…back to the shop and get into a road bike. Now they were still passing me, but not as much.

Around this time I saw a notice for a 9 day bike ride in the WA South West. Why not? I was hooked!!! There’s another ride in WA. Were  do I sign up? And another in Queensland, Victoria, New Zealand, France, Tasmania. So was born a cycling groupie. The fantastic people I have met on these rides (with only a few grumpy ones) and the experiences has opened up a whole new world. I have become much fitter.  My wife, Jo and both my sons, have also got into cycling. Our differing riding levels means we don’t ride together, but we are all having a go.

I have never thought of having a goal with cycling, apart from being able to ride as long as I can. Riding at the head of the pack or fly up a hill passing all means nothing,  just being able to do it for my own personal satisfaction is all that matter.

My present cycling dream is getting a new bike. I have been lusting after a Specialized S Works SL4 for some time and all going well may satisfy that urge later this year.

Being Steve ~ “Coach”

Steve Amos Before

Steve ~ Before

Steve Amos After

Steve ~ After

This is a story about a remarkable friend of mine. I met him less than a year ago through my brother. My brother met him whilst riding his bike. This man is super amazing. He is a dad of 2 children with a wife which fully supports his cause and is also a bike commuter. She is a remarkable woman! I mean…what wife allows her husband to take women out bike riding? I use to ride my mountain bike about every second week. Maybe only every third week! I was a stationary bike addict. A gym junkie. A pfaffer. Steve use to call me ‘Carolyn’…one day I told him that my name was ‘Caroline’. He told me that he gets confused as he has many many ‘Carolyns’. 😛  We agreed on ‘Caro’. It stuck. I asked him “What shall I call you then? Stephen or Steve”. He replied “Coach”. It stuck. Coach convinced me that pfaffing in the gym was a waste of time. The only way to loose weight and get better at bike riding was to do it more regularly. He got me out on my bike twice a week. He took me up Mt Coot-tha on my 14kg mountain bike and showed me how to get up the top without needing a defib. He convinced me that I needed a road bike. That would make it easier for me. I liked that idea. I got one. He showed me how to ride it. He introduced me to Lifecycle’s ‘Wombles’…a group ride organised through the bike shop that Black Beauty was purchased from. I thank Coach from the bottom of my heart for showing me the joy of riding my bike. If you like the idea of commuting to work Coach is your man. Jump on it! You won’t regret it.

Here is his story.

I was a stereo typical guy in his late 30’s. I’d always been a big boned type of boy – but I was just packing on the weight a couple of kilos each year – alarmingly, despite eating reasonably well as I always had. It dawned on me that something had to be done soon as the scales started flashing big numbers at me. Yes – I’d become a stereo typical obese guy. At the same time I’d become increasingly frustrated at the slow, unreliable and increasingly expensive BCC busses I used for my daily commute. Around then I saw another Dad at the school who rode to town and back each day. Despite riding extensively as a child I hadn’t considered this due to concerns over car related danger. I asked him whether it was safe – and he explained the myriad of hidden bikepaths and quiet back streets that made up his mostly safe commute.

Before I knew it I was at the bike shop and the rest is history! That was some three years ago. Since then I’ve traded over 30kg of body fat for some 30 thousand kilometres pedalled under my own power. I now commute the 12.5 k to work by bike every day of the year – rain hail or shine. Plus, when the weather is good I ride here there and everywhere with my new network of friends.

Having seen how beneficial biking can be and how effective biking’s killer app – commuting can be I’m now pretty much evangelical about how riding should be a part of everyones life. Many of those that have known me for sometime see me as an inconvenient truth. I’m real proof that commuting by bike is possible, it saves you money, and can revolutionise your health. And I’m walking around the office and staying thin despite hoofing down ever growing quantities of food. As a result the “Cult of Steve” has an ever growing band converts who have seen the light. Members of the cult get a continual stream of encouragement and help.

My highest trophy is a double conversion. This is where I convert both members of the family. I haven’t quite succeeded yet but I’ve got some prospects! My cycling goal is to win the over 80 class in the Mt Coot-tha 100km Challenge although I suspect I’ll be jockeying with other cult members for the win…

Please check out Steve’s Website ~

Being Caroline Jones @ ABC ~ Bike Week 2013

Caroline Jones & Anna Beck

Caroline Jones & Anna Beck

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by Terri Begley for Kelly Higgins-Divine 612 ABC Brisbane for Bike Week.

I met an amazing mountain biker: Anna Beck (pictured above). I’m not going to lie to you. I was sh*t scared of being interviewed. I honestly had no idea what I was saying at the time, nor could I recollect it as I cycled back home! I hope that you get a bit of a laugh out of it!

Black Beauty must have made a little bit of an impression, as I was cycling with a group on Saturday and one of the guys said to me “Was that you being interviewed by the ABC on Friday?” I said “Yes…why…how did you know?” He replied “Because of her description of the ‘Pink Bike'”. 🙂

Attached, is the link to the interview:

Please note the cool file name that Terri gave it 🙂

Losing my Coot-tha Virginity ~ Julie’s Story

The Coot-tha Gang
The Coot-tha Gang depart from Laurel Ave
Julie is Crowned!
Julie earns her Coot-tha Crown
Julie & Caro reach the Summit
Julie & Caro reach the Summit ~ Alive!
Julie & Coach are Glowing!
Julie & Coach are Glowing!
The Coot-tha Gang at the Summit
The Coot-tha Gang at the Summit

This is a story about a friend of mine (who Coach enlisted into his Commuter Cult) who recently lost her Coot-tha Virginity. She is a mother of 3 and lives at Wynnum Bayside Queensland, Australia. She commutes to her place of work, Brisbane City CBD,  three days a week ~ approx. 40kms round trip daily, even in the rain! Which according to Velominati Rule #9 she is baddass.  She has ridden just under 1000kms year to date and is an example of awesomeness! She is also a very talented writer and I get a thrill out of all that she writes! I hope you also enjoy her story as much as I did.

“A couple of crazy “cyclists” have been trying to con me into riding up Coot-tha for months.  They have tried all sorts of tactics, including the dishing out of a fairly hefty dose of peer pressure when nothing else appeared to be working (you people have children, right???).”

“I eventually cave into pressure and agree to do it.  I spend the three weeks leading up to C-Day cr*pping my pants, terrified of failure, pain and the possibility of a public stoning by proper members of the cycling community.  I envision starting my ascent, and making it about 50 metres before I have to get off my bike, and walk to “the summit”, the laughter of thousands ringing in my ears.

I am gripped.  There are so many potential risks to my life on this adventure.  What if I draw first blood and face-plant the tarmac?

Or my pedal snaps off, or my back light comes off and jams in my wheel, or I hit some death cookies, crack my skid-lid on a tree trunk and bring home a Christmas tree?  And this is a serious grunt – what if my granny gear isn’t enough?  It’s a real possibility, but one too horrifying to think about, so I push it from my mind.

The big day arrives.  A few of us assemble at Caro’s house.  I am scared that the hills on the way to the BIG hill will have me exhausted before I even get there.

We all assemble in a car park at the base of the “mountain”. One Coach with Phar Lap’s heart, one lunatic on a mountain bike with a camera, one crazy woman on a magenta bike, a couple of semi-seasoned riders and a two newbies, out to lose their Coot-tha virginity.  There is just enough time for the mental on the mountain bike to give me some quick advice. “ You need to do a sub-17 time”, he says.  “My 70 year old father can do it in that, so you should be able to.  Let’s set the bar high.”.  Oh yeah, sure, bru.  Except you don’t understand – I don’t do hills, bru.

I need to console myself.  My heart rate is above 350 and I haven’t even started riding yet.  Time for calm.  Time to assume a new personality, a glass half-full, life’s about risk, f*ck it, rock-on type of personality.  You know, someone ELSE’s personality.  I see a chick on a townie setting off up the hill.  If she can do it, I can – right?  Right?

We start off, and I notice that everyone seems to be going in slow-mo.  I do accept that the really serious dudes would have been up and down a few times by now, and are probably already sitting in a coffee shop somewhere talking about their time in “the zone” and how their new carbon-fibre bottle cage is 5g lighter and has shaved 0.001 seconds off their best time.  But still, I think, some of these dudes look moderately serious – they at least had the good grace to turn up in lycra (for the most part).  I figure they must still be reasonably fit and the fact that they are going so slowly gives me hope of something other than catastrophic failure.

We get a little way up, and things are going OK.  I still have a few gears left before I got to “granny gear”, and I feel OK.  Well, let’s just say I’m not dead, unconscious or vomiting, so I have exceeded all expectations.

For the first little bit, I am even conscious of what is going on around me – I notice the trees and the other riders, hear bits of conversations, and even sight a few plumbers’ cracks through well-worn cycling knicks (c’mon boys, these things have a natural life-span and at some point, they must DIE).

Just as I am beginning to tire, and wonder how I ended up here, Coach appears from nowhere.  I wonder if I am actually dead, or at the very least, suffering from hallucinations due to my brain cooking itself.  This can’t be real – my rear tyre is on backwards and the writing on the tyre doesn’t line up with the valve on my tube – there is no way Coach would be seen riding with me.  He speaks, chattering about mindless things, as if to highlight to me that not only is he real, but he is not even puffing, not even trying.  It’s easy-peasy, no trouble at all.  Smug little b*stard.  I think momentarily of tackling him off his bike, but just as I’m contemplating the logistics, I hear Caro calling words of encouragement and I am distracted.  [Coach, you owe her your life].

For a while, I appreciate the dialog.  I can see what he’s doing – he’s chatting to me, much like a gynaecologist talks to his patients to distract them from the pain and discomfort to come.  He gives the occasional warning about an upcoming steep bit, and some words of encouragement to keep me going.

But soon, my body starts diverting all available resources to my legs and lungs.  Coach’s voice starts sounding a bit distant.  I am barely conscious of what he’s saying.  I think he tells me I am the most intelligent person he’s ever met, and I am always right about everything, but I can’t be sure.

About 200 metres from the top, I start feeling a bit woozy in the head and a feeling of nausea consumes me.  I could keep going, I surmise, but common sense tells me that whilst Coach could probably manage riding a bike up a hill unconscious, it might be a little difficult for me without Phar Lap’s heart or guns that are the envy of the entire Australian cycling community, possibly the world.  So sadly, after dedicating the last five months of my life working up to this moment – my moment of glory, my time to shine – I make the agonising decision to stop and walk.  Dream shattered.  What is the point in living?

Coach graciously allows me to walk about 50 metres, before breaking into my thoughts and practically demanding I HTFU and get back on my bike (lest a sub-17 minute time slip from my grasp).  I oblige, and begin to plot my revenge.  Suddenly, he yells “We’re here!”, and it’s all over.  Well, the hard part, anyway.  I find myself thinking that it’s all a been for nothing – as I have failed.  And then Caro presents me with my Coot-tha crown – it’s so silver, and shiny and bejewelled and pretty and I regain my desire to live.

The rest of the ride seems like child’s play.  Obviously this is because I am now a finely tuned, and extremely elite athlete 🙂

The trip down the other side is one of the most absolutely funnest things, like, EVER!  I have to stifle a giant “Wheeeeeee!!!” all the way down.  I don’t even touch my brakes.  This is the reward for the climb and I’m going to enjoy it.

Anyway, thanks to all my partners in crime – it was a really fun day.  Did I just say that?

Riding up Coot-tha has proven one thing to me – all cyclists are a little bit unhinged.  If you see one on the street, run, Forest, RUN!!!  Because they are very, very dangerous.”