Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Weekend and 6 weeks to the Tour de Tableland

At this time last year, I was doing the final preparations for the Sunshine Coast Tour. I like taking a couple of days off work before a Tour to do a couple of long easy rides and to let the guys at the bike shop do a final check on the bike. This year, they set the dates for June as the organisers were having problems with road permits and other logistical issues. That puts the Tour de Tableland, in North Queensland, as our first major event for 2008.

We have another six weeks of training before we fly to Cairns, where we meet some old training buddies and drive up to Yungaburra where we base ourselves for the event.

Sandra and I raced our first Tour de Tableland in 2004. At that time we had been in the sport for about 6 months. It was, without a doubt, the hardest thing we ever done and we wouldn't have even completed the Tour if it wasn't for the support from a lot of our friends in Cairns. We were very lucky to have met Colin and Maire Eribo, owners of Cairns BicycleWorks, who had a lot of experience in the sport as they raced in Europe for many years. They were there most of the days and spent a lot of time helping us with massages and fruitful advices in between stages.

We had a lot of other friends coming up from Cairns to watch the criterium race that year. Being a small street circuit, they had a great view and for us it was great to go pass lap after lap and hear Dee, Kev, Tracy, Bob (and Chelsea), Andrew and Rose, Rosena and Heather, Chris, Cecily, all yelling and encouraging us during the race.

In the 2004 race, I was riding my steel frame Trek racer (I still ride it to work now and then). It is a “Fast Track” model with down tube shifters and a Shimano RSX 7 speed rear derailleur. I remember that in preparation for the Tour, we put a new bar tape and fitted two “red” Rubino Pros. It looked beautiful and like a real racing bike then… with all its 13.5 kg of cro-molly and steel.

2004 Yungaburra Criterium

Nevertheless, I finished in 4th overall with a couple of 2nd places and other prizes and Sandra finished all the races. We had an unbelievable (and painful) experience that year but we have gone back in 2007 (Sandra did the 2006 Tour as well) and we are now looking forward to the 2008 event. We are hoping to catch up with all the friends again this year and with a bit of luck have time for a coffee or a meal after the races.

2007 Yungaburra Criterium


Training this week started with strength exercises on the bike. On Tuesday, I headed out with John Flynn, and rode on flat roads through Samford Valley (74 km) plus a 27 km commute to work. Yesterday was high cadence efforts along the beach front at Sandgate, another great spot to ride when I feel like having a glimpse of the ocean (40 km).

I will finish today with some hill repeats at Mt Coot-tha and have just easy rides for the rest of the week. Being Easter holiday, and having the fortune of not having to work, we are going to catch up with a few friends and do a ride to Mt Mee and back tomorrow. It should be a 120 km ride with a 7 km climb in the middle of it. Really looking forward to that as it is one of my favourite climbs even though I will be taking it really easy (E1 all the way).

No racing planned for the long weekend.

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