Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Australia Day

I can't help it. When I have data, I make graphs. I've been keeping track of my training for the last four months. Swimming produces the most data since I time each of my pieces. Each block on the graph represents a piece, the x position is the distance of that piece, they y position is the pace for 100m during that piece, and the color shows the month. Lighter blue is earlier, darker blue is more recent. I think this looks pretty cool. I can see my progress. The bike data doesn't look that impressive.

In this one, the y axis is speed, so seeing darker blocks further up the graph would show progress. Here, this shows that I've been lengthening my pieces (as well as doing some additional short ones) at about the same speed I've been doing the shorter pieces. Not much progress.

This was painfully clear last saturday on my first 90K ride. We had 7 people on the ride, which is a good number. It's much easier to hang with the pack than it is to try to push yourself for the entire ride. When I first started riding, it took a lot of humility to get up. I knew I was pretty much out of my league, but I still did it. For the last couple of weeks, I've felt really good on my 80K rides. I started fancying myself a bit of a cyclist. This week, we did hills. We did about 50K of hills. Not huge hills, but still. I couldn't keep up. I couldn't even be close. Now I was back to being the 8 year old kid trying to keep up with the 12 year olds. They had 6 speeds. I had streamers. I finished the ride.

But all was not lost. I stopped by the Australia Day breakfast at Yorkey's Knob beach. Got an Australian flag for my bike and enjoyed a song about the "Nothen Teritry".

That afternoon Simone, Matt, Joe (the new intern) and I enjoyed a few beers, a ton of pizza and some Cane Toad Races. Which was a clear highlight of the day. You don't get a real sense of scale from the picture, but number 6 was easily the size of a very large mango. Toads were put in a upside-down bucket. Then the bucket was removed and the first toad to meet the outside perimeter wins. Of course the best part was when the kids discovered that they could just run in and chase the toads around. These are those toads that excrete poison from their skin. They have no natural predators because they kill off anything that eats them. And they are supposedly the toads that will get you high. Ah, the perfect childhood game!

That evening I met up with some friends for some drinks to finish up our Australia Day right. Unfortunately the combination of the bike ride, the drinks and the pizza, I was done by about 7:30. Maybe not the ulitimate in Australia Day's, but still a pretty good one. And definitely a bit more low key than your typical fourth of July.


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