Tuesday, October 29, 2013

EOY

After being away for over 5 months, it was quite a relief to finally be able to come home last month. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sit back and relax just yet as I had one more race to prepare for. This brought about a few problems. 

I was keen to catch up with friends that I had not seen in a while, which meant a lot of coffee shop rides, lunches and dinners were on the to do list, however, my coach had other ideas. My training schedule consisted of many long rides and lots of efforts so that I could hold on to the form that 3 months straight of racing had given me. I'm not gonna lie... motivation was low. 

While overseas, if I had a long ride to do, I would plan out a route and head off. I had no idea where I was and if I deviated from the planned route, I would just end up getting lost and have to ride for far longer than I had originally planned. This meant I had no choice but to do the training I was prescribed. 

Back home in Australia, I know all of the short cuts and back routes. So with low motivation, it is difficult to force myself to keep riding when I know that a left turn will take me home. It was also just as difficult to say no to an extra coffee, butter with my muffin or dessert with dinner.

Despite these first world problems, I'm now sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home from the last race of the season, the Tour of Hainan in China. For most of the teams at the race, it was the last of the season and the closing ceremony had a feeling of celebration in the air as most of the riders were keen to let their hair down. 

 
Most will return home to cold weather for a break from the bike to refresh the body, both physically and mentally. It is not possible to be focused on training and racing all season and then do it all over again without some rest. Your head will explode.


So how did I celebrate the end of the season?? Well, I just finished a large Double Whopper meal and there is a piece of cheesecake with my name on it. I am looking forward to going for a ride when I get home, but one where I don't have to do efforts or ride for hours on end. It's 3.8km from my house to the coffee shop and I think I will do a few laps of it in the next couple of weeks. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Upgrades...

Australia is undoubtedly the greatest place on Earth. Despite this, it is not without its areas for improvement and after visiting a few different places this year, I have some suggestions. Here is my list of things that I would bring back to Australia from overseas and implement for the greater good...

1. Turn right on red (or left for Australia). Ever come to a set of traffic lights and want to turn left but then the lights go red? You have to just sit there and wait, even if there is no traffic coming. Imagine if you could turn left on a red light if there are no cars coming!
In America, unless it is otherwise signed, you can turn right on a red light. Traffic moves faster and there is no sitting and waiting for nothing. Australia needs this rule.


2. Aperitivo. In Italy, 'apertiivo' is literally a pre-meal drink that is supposed to stimulate the appetite. During aperitivo time (usually 6-9pm), bars will put on a spread on snacks such as crisps, olives, cheese, nuts, dips and sandwiches and if you purchase an aperitivo drink, you can partake in the snacks. It is a brilliant idea and Australia could use it. Maybe it could prevent the binge drinking rages that Aussies are becoming known for?


3. Free soft drink re-fills. At pretty much any restaurant in the States, if you order a soft drink, it is a bottomless cup. (Unlike Australia where you pay $5 for a cup of ice with some soft drink in it.) One particular drink machine in America is called the Coca Cola Freestyle 127. It has 127 different flavors of soft drink, including many diabetic friendly 'zero' options. If you buy a single soft drink cup, you can spend the rest of the day trying every flavor for free!


4. Free breakfast in hotels. In Australia, you pay a small fortune in most hotels to have breakfast in the morning. At almost every hotel I stayed at in Europe and America, rooms came with a free breakfast. Head down to the dining room in the morning and there is a spread of food including coffee, bacon, eggs and a pancake machine. Everybody needs a pancake machine.

5. Tipping wait staff. There is nothing worse than getting poor service when you are dining out. In Australia, there is no incentive for staff to provide good service nor is there a way to let the staff know that you are not impressed with them or that you thought they were great. In America, tipping wait staff ensures that you will get the best possible service and if you don't, there is a means to show your distaste. I can think of several restaurants in Australia that could benefit from this.

6. Free Wi-Fi. It is almost impossible to find free Wi-Fi in Australia. Unless you go to a McDonalds or a State Library, it is extremely difficult to get the internet without paying. In the States, free Wi-Fi is everywhere. You can get around quite easily on free Wi-Fi and it is pretty much the norm for restaurants to have it available. 

7. Shark Week. The Urban Dictionary description of Shark Week pretty much sums it up...  'A week in the summer when Discovery Channel broadcasts all its shows in the shark theme. The best week to watch TV.' It is the longest-running cable television programming event in history. Everybody should see Shark Week.