Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crocs, toads & mozzies...

OK, my first "season" is done. I finished it off with a trip to Darwin, in Australia's Top End, to compete in the Oceania Para-cycling road championships.

I finished that event with Gold medals in both the Time Trial and the Road Race for the LC2 category.

I also picked up a few dozen mozzie bites for my trouble, which have been persistent little buggers, itching for quite some time since getting home.

A few things about Darwin have changed in the 15 years since I lived there in the mid-1990s (but not all that much really - certainly not as much as locals would have you believe).

Firstly, you now see dead cane toads on the road. Next thing is part of the reason why you see dead cane toads on the road is because everyone is busy looking at the personalised numbers plates which seem to be on every other car, and clearly aren't seeing the toads they are running over.

Other than that, yeah there's a few more buildings, especially around the port area, more new apartments everywhere, some new hotels and some more shops here and there (like at Nightcliff).

Some things however, never change. The drivers pretty much exhibiting the same sloth like reflexes at traffic lights for instance. They'll run every red light under the tropical sun but take forever to start when the lights go green.

Then there's the NT News, the local paper. It is unique in Australia and the front page headline was typically a story about an animal (often crocodiles), alchohol and or sex. Extra points for combining all three.

Well here's the front page the first morning I was there:

Which was followed up a couple of days later with this little gem:

The fact that this latter one appeared the morning after the Commonwealth Government handed down probably the most talked about public budget in decades which appeared on every front page in the country, except the NT News. Well, that's if you ignore the "budget" reference to the photo of the python squeezing the life out of a possum!

Anyway, for the record, some power stats and comments from my racing over the last couple of weeks:

National Paracycling TT Championships (LC2):
Hilly course
Duration: 0:38:57
Average Power: 264 watts
Normalised Power: 276 watts
Place: 2nd (~2.5 minutes)

National Paracycling Road Race Championships (LC2):
Very hilly course.
Duration: 2:10:17
Average Power: 225 watts
Normalised Power: 271 watts
60-min mean max NP: 286 watts
30-min mean max NP: 308 watts
Place: 2nd (38 seconds down)

Oceania Paracycling TT Championships (LC2):
Duration: 0:52:27
Average Power: 264 watts
Normalised Power: 269 watts
Place: 1st

Oceania Paracycling Road Race Championships (LC2):
Duration: 1:52:34
Average Power: 216 watts
Normalised Power: 262 watts
Place: 1st

1st 46-min riding with Michael Gallagher (LC1 - categories were combined) before he finally cracked me:
Average Power: 225 watts
Normalised Power: 288 watts

Note: Michael also rode the open elite TT the next day. He won that.

Of all those rides I am most pleased with the National road race. That was a very tough course and I put out personal best power, and very nearly stole a march over my far younger and lighter competitor.

So, 11 months after I first tried to pedal again, and just over two years since my accident and 23 months since my amputation, that's not a bad start for my first season.

Planning for the season ahead has already started. I'm having a couple of easy weeks first though.

Thanks to Ron Bonham for the photos


Judith said...

Firstly well done on all of your results and given the short amount of time since your amputations - although your actual mental toughness and psychological state are unmeasurable (if you know what I mean) it is an absolute winner and if mental toughness and determination was all it took to win races you would be hard to beat on any course

Anonymous said...

I don't know you well but can tell your an amazing man. You give lots of people a great example of how to not let major setbacks stop you.
Just wanted to tell you how impressed i am from a long ways away. Zac