Cootamundra Haycarters Handicap

Definitely a before shot
It all started with a lovely drive out to the little country town of Cootamundra. As far as I could tell, their chief export was lovely old houses and wide tree-lined streets. As we drove close to the marshalling area, an old lady marshall waved us down and had a bit of worried look on her face. "You boys be careful, there's 300 of you out there.. we'll do the best we can to keep you safe." Well that was an interesting introduction.

I'd been placed in group 9.. erm, I can't remember what the handicap time was, for this 70km race. Ben and BJ from the development squad (more on that soon!) in the group behind me, and Kenneth and Jared more in group 6. So off we went. The pace was quick from the get go. The false flat out of town had us averaging in the mid 40's km/h-ish for the first 10km. I was just managing to hang on.. the first blip of a hill was closing in. I was near the front of the group when we hit and quickly found myself going backwards. I managed to only just hang on over the top, thought the downhill was a real struggle. The next slight incline (~15km in) I fell right of the back of the pack. After spending a little time by myself, I teamed up with a few riders going about the same pace.

Cootamundra: 1, Pickle: 0
The first big climb I found myself falling off the front of the little group we had going. At the top I was by myself again. I think it was on this descent that Kenneth and Jared came screaming past at an alarming rate. I tried to jump on the back, and I did manage to hang on for all of 10 seconds, but it just wasn't to be. After a little while I was caught by a guy and a girl from the little group we had going before. The three of us started rolling through and had a decent pace going. We continued in our little group for quite a while, until about the 20km to go mark, where we were joined by a another rider. He looked quite strong and he seemed to have a fair bit left in the tank.. the pace got a bit quicker.

The old legs starting getting a little weary as we rounded the last corner to go back up the false flat to the finish line. The girl and the guy with a bit left in the tank rode off the front with about 10km to go. My cycling buddy and I stuck together, we were both well knackered. A few kms from the line we noticed a largish group bearing down on us, so we gathered up what we had left for one last effort. We made it to the line in front of them and had a bit of a sprint between the two of us. It was really close and I'm not actually sure who got up in the end. And we will never know because they haven't released the results for those of us who came in way down the list. Someone got a photo of the sprint finish though, so maybe with some CSI computer analysis we could work it out.

Here's the ride data if anyone wants to have a little peak. 

Mt Kosciuszko

King of the world!.. err, continent!..!
I walked to the top of Mt Kosciuszko a few weeks ago with a couple of friends. We cheated a bit and took the chairlifts up from Thredbo, but it was a lovely walk from there, about 12km return. It was whited out all the way so I couldn't see more than 10m at any one time. Ah well, it's a good excuse to go back and check out the view.

My Polish friend that came with us on this walk made us learn the correct pronunciation of Kosciuszko, something along the lines of "Ko-shoo-sko", which I was happy with because it was one less syllable to say.

All in all, a nice walk. Take warm gear with you, I obviously didn't (maybe I was just seeing how far I can get in my shorts).

ACT: Bimberi Peak
NSW: Mount Kosciuszko
NT: Mount Zeil
Qld: Mount Bartle Frere
SA: Mount Woodroffe
Tas: Mount Ossa
WA: Mount Meharry
Vic: Mount Bogong