Morning has broken between Ungarie and West Wyalong

My sister and her family came to visit from the UK over Christmas. Her arrival allowed me to partake in a great English tradition I had completely forgotten about. Namely, standing on the beach in the rain looking expectantly at the horizon and exclaiming “I think it is getting brighter over there”. Normally I wouldn’t be anywhere near the beach in such weather but when they’d travelled over 10,000 miles, needs must.

Fortunately the weather picked up and a great time was had by all. After bidding them a sad farewell we have decanted to the in-laws farm en route to Adelaide. I have spent the week on my bike as I am riding the BUPA Challenge next Friday, an open ride that is part of the Tour Down under.

This bike malarkey is a little more complicated than just taking off for a run, primarily because it involves a piece of machinery. On my ride last Saturday I noticed a rather loud creak. I had the biked serviced before we left and the bike shop had mentioned the bottom bracket may need looking at. As I pedalled around, the serenity of the countryside was consistently broken by this increasingly annoying creak.

Even farmer Mick was reluctant to have a go at fixing it, if it was a tractor, header or anything else he’d give it a go. Quietly relieved I decided it would be a trip to “town” to fix it. A 400 km round trip to Wagga Wagga and the nice man at Kidsons Cycles had replaced some parts and we were good to go. The next day I jumped on the bike, was halfway down the road and there was the noise again. I knew it wasn’t mechanical as there was nothing left to replace or service so I spent the whole of my ride trying to work out what was wrong.

After taking everything off the bike, that I felt comfortable enough to touch, the creak was still there. Whilst pondering how to buy myself a new bike before next week (I was not going to let the bike win and was going to show it who was boss) I casually tightened the seat clamp.

Turns out a 1/4 turn of a nut fixed my problem. Riding the thing can be tough but looking after it for somebody as incompetent as myself is the real challenge.

Without the creak I completed my first 100 mile (About 165km) ride today. On the whole I finished in good shape. The new knee I got before Xmas held up, aerobically I felt fine, legs were tired but felt good, the only part of me complaining was my “freckle” (my bottom).

Compared to when I first started there is a big improvement, but it is still a concern. I have the most padded racing saddle I could buy (short of getting one with springs and some nice leather), I have the top notch cycling shorts and I even have taken to applying chamois cream to my nether regions before I ride. Despite all this after 5+ hours in the saddle it still hurts somewhat.

Alice, in her 9 year old wisdom has offered me her favourite quote to help deal with the situation. Apparently “the pain is just weakness leaving my body”.

Mick has suggested I use Metho to toughen the area up, if there are any other suggestions to strengthen my weakness then answers on a postcard to…

Self Portrait