Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What a Win

Congratulations Cadel. Cadel Evans has made us Aussies very  proud, the way he conducted himself throughout the Tour shows what a champion he is.  Cadel for 2012 Australian of the Year.  Now I might be able to catch up on some sleep.  Thanks goodness for SBS because I dont think any other free to air tv stations would touch this and show it live to us every night for the duration of the Tour.  I feel lost now but I can go back to not watching tv, until this time next year  at least.

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These photo’s were taken by Michael Steele and Laurent Rebours.

Day 12- Monday- On the Road Again

We thought we should stay and watch the cars come back over the finishing line as our good friends Les and Glenys were still running.  Les has an amazing record he has ALWAYS finish the race.  They finished 5th in class and I think in the top 20 (give or take a few) so at least it was a successful weekend for one of us.

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Congratulations guys.

We were anxious to leave and head to Uluru  which would be about 450 kms however due to the volcano eruption in Chile all flights from Alice Springs to Melbourne were cancelled, we had to give some guys a lift to Uluru so they could get flights from there.  Our friend Stitchy and a  friend of his  were travelling with us also.

I would love to visit this rock  it’s wonderful but for now will have to be content to viewing it from the lookout on the highway. Mt Connor is situated on a vast, fully operational, privately owned cattle station, called Curtin Springs Station.

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Our mate Stitch

At the resort there are a few choices in accommodation the resort, bunk style or camping.  The guys we gave a lift  to went into the resort to get a price for a room for the night $380 was the ridiculous price they were given, they ended up staying in the bunk style accommodation for $30.  We couldn't quite fit our fifth wheel into the camping ground so we drove back out a bit and pulled up at a rest stop and camped there the night.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July, My Favourite Month

I love July, I truly do.   It’s the middle of winter and although Queensland winters are no where near cold enough for me you have to appreciate the cold crisp mornings and the superb mild sunny days.   It is glorious.  I tend to hibernate in July, I don't stay indoors all the time but for three weeks I'm not getting to bed until 2am.  Why???? One of my favourite sporting events is on,  The Tour de France.

I always knew about the event but never actually watched it until I came across the highlights package at 5.30pm on SBS about eight years ago.  I remember it was raining and I was watching them racing down a mountain at terrifyingly fast speeds.  I was hooked how on earth did they stay upright how could one ride so fast, I then discovered that it was on live every night at 10pm.  I quickly became mesmerised by the French countryside and the quaint little villages that dotted the route.

For four years I worked in a bakery and had to start work at 5.30 which meant getting up at 4am, this really interfered with the Tour.  I actually took time off especially when the mountain climbs were on.  I was lucky I had Thursdays off and didn't work weekends so it was okay but I could only watch it until 12.  It was really difficult to do.

People have said to me oh how boring, no way, it’s a real team sport an entire team racing for one rider it’s so interesting to watch the tactics of the various teams unfold during a race.  It certainly took me a few years to “get it”.  So during July I'm not online much especially at night, also its the coldest room in the house where my computer is, it’s the only room not heated so I don't spend a lot of time out here. I'm actually starting to think that in a few years,  once the girls have left home I would like to go to France and follow the tour around.  Maybe I should start to learn French .  To me these guys are the most amazing  athletes in the world to push your body like that for three weeks with only two rest days is truly incredible .

I’m trying to talk Tony into taking two weeks off in late January to go to the Tour down Under in SA, seems we have been spending a lot of time in that state this year.  Tony is off to SA to race again this weekend, apparently they have more drivers from Qld than they do from SA.  I tell you the travelling starting to wear us down.  the first race of the year was in WA, then NT now SA, Tony is certainly looking forward to the race in QLD which is the last race of the season in October, only a three or four hour drive.

These images were borrowed from SBS Cycling Central site, a wonderful site.   Go Cadel, will it be his year this year,  I hope so.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 11- Sunday

Forgot to mention in the last post that Tony prologued 25 out of 98 buggies.  To say he was happy is an understatement.  Our car is an older car and some of the top buggies are worth over two hundred thousand dollars, our is definitely not but it goes well for what it is.

Another early start Lucy and I took Stitchies  car and drove about 25kms down the track until we found a good spot that wasn't  too far away as we were recovery for our team.  The other pit crew had left for Finke which takes hours to get there.   The drivers leave first, race to Finke which is  about 223kms one way,   then the bikes leave and they stay the night at Finke and race back on the Monday. If you want to read more about it go here.

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Another glorious sunrise as Lucy and I head out to find a good spot.

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Our car 138

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Our car 138

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I was absolutely showered with dirt, it felt like hail but I stayed there and kept clicking.

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I am so happy with my camera, this was the first time I photographed race cars with it.  I was hoping to get a practice run a few months prior but it didn't happen cant wait until I know how to use it properly.  After all the buggies and cars went through we were sitting in the car waiting for the bikes and we heard over the two way radio that car 138 had broken down near the 35km mark.  Not good.  I dropped Lucy back off at the pits, ran up to headquarters to find out exactly where they were, hooked Les’ dodgy trailer up and off I went.  It was so embarrassing,  after about 30kms I was pulled over and breathalysed  I'm so used to driving an automatic car as I pulled over I forgot to put my foot on the clutch and stalled in front of the police, I was more worried about the trailer I was towing.

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A really sad sight, it was a long way to go to only race 35kms but there is always next year and as they say that’s racing.

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Fortunately there is always spectators on the side of the track that are willing to give you a hand.

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Lucky we didn't see any police on the way back as Tony had to sit in the buggy  as Stitchie’s car only seats two.  Now we were free on Sunday and Monday morning so we decided to wait until our friends Les and Glenyis finished the race on Monday and head out to Uluru a day earlier than planned. So the remainder of Sunday was spent packing up and back to the park we were staying at.  I was relieved in a way that Tony had broken down as Lucy and I would have had to spend the night in the fifth wheel out at the track as I don't have a licence to drive it and I wasn't looking forward to that.  Spent the rest of the day washing as that was going to be the last chance to wash clothes, towels and sheets  until we got home.

Day 10- Saturday

These holiday posts are really dragging on aren't they, I had better hurry up and finish them or we will be ready to set off again and I still wont have finished blogging about this holiday.

Saturday is prologue day and a really early start, we were out at the track by 5.30, the drivers had to be out there for the early drivers briefing and the first car goes out at 7.30am.  I wasn't happy with the spot Lucy and I picked for photo’s but we were on foot and it was difficult to find a good spot.  I had also been fiddling around with the camera and when I took the camera out of auto into the shutter  setting it was in black and white.  Do you think I could remember where to find the setting, no and the instruction book was back in the pits.  Don't think I will forget that again.

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Hope he’s strapped in.

Camera out of auto, playing with different shutter speeds, without success  but it’s the only way I'm going to learn.

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The rest of Saturday Tony made final adjustments to the buggy and make sure everything was ready to go for Sunday

Day 9 Friday

Not much happening today, time to catch up on some washing and the van needed some cleaning so Lucy and I got stuck into that while Tony went out to the track to have a look at the prologue course.  After he came back we went into town to do some things then went straight out to the Alice Springs show ground where scruitineering  occurs. 

This is a really long night but important as the locals get a chance to come to the show ground and have a look at the buggies and the hundreds of motorbikes.  Fortunately for us this year we had to take the fifth wheel out there as that is the only way we have of transporting the buggy so we were able to hang out there in comfort.  So different from other years, the cars and bikes are put into the pavilions , we usually get to the grounds about 4.00pm and the cars have to stay there until 9pm.  It is usually bitterly cold and by the end of the night the feet are killing you as is the back and you are well and truly over it. It was really like my army days, Hurry up and wait.

 

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A budding photographer maybe?

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Has he got his race face on yet?  Almost

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Tony and Les, they are like an old married couple.

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Another sunset and at this stage I retreated back to the van and put the heater on.  I only ventured out once and that was to go and find a coffee, which I did.  It was really remiss of me but I didn't go over to the bikes at all.