Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The race is over. Thanks for fun.


I’ve had plenty of people asking me questions lately. Here are my answers:

[Note: You can tell all the old links on the right of screen need updating, but, well, nah, can't be bothered]

Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, Asian travel advocates and fine food purveyors. It is with great regret that I have to announce that I ain’t gonna be racing no more.

Why?
My knee is f^^ked. Knees are rather important to cycling. My right knee is f^^ked.

What, but how?
Last April I crashed and broke my neck of femur and collarbone. Bad.
I was not enthused

I was swiftly operated on and my bones healed tremendously well. Good.
Metalic additions
Never give up

But when I started training -initially just rehab and soon after proper riding- my knee (on the RHS, same side as hip and collarbone) proved to be very sore and swollen. Bad.

I had an MRI, it said everything was fine. Good.

But the problems persisted and I ended up getting an operation. Bad.

The operation was also used to clean up some junk in my ankle, from another crash back in china, that had been bothering me for a few years. Very good.

The outer side of my right ankle

The surgeon revealed I had torn the fat pad, and my knee was full of blood. Bad.


But he had fixed it, I could start easy spinning again the day after the operation, full training could recommence in a few weeks. Good. Really good!

But the fat pad remained swollen and sore, a classic case of Hoffa’s syndrome. Bad. So very, very bad.
That would be some blood from my knee

All I want for Christmas
All I wanted for Christmas was my two front knees. But all I got was another MRI. The MRI led me from to the specialist, to the surgeon and back to the specialist. He led me to an endocrinologist, and that led me to the chemist.
I would love a bit of Mt Wellington right now

I had lots of bad stuff happening behind my knee cap, something wrong with the bone. Now that is bad.

My osteoclasts -that normally get rid of old bone- had gone bezerk on my osteoblasts -that normally create new bone- and thus the disabling pain in my knee was explained. It had been going since last April.

A physiological condition that was eating my knee cap. Hmmm, that’s bad.

But from the chemist came some special drugs [WADA approved, believe me I checked], supposed to do the trick. The pain would be gone in two days as proclaimed by the endocrinologist. Good.

I’m here writing, though, because the knee remains rooted. So it’s time to be realistic. Sometimes shit just ain’t gonna go.
There's been a bit of this
And a bit of this

What does it all mean?
Don’t for one second think this is a bad thing. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been given a ridiculous amount of support throughout my career, initially by BikeNow, then the VIS and for a long time now by Avanti. 

Aerodynamics has never been my strong point
Most recently Andrew Christie-Johnston and Steve Price have looked after me whilst I attempted to sort my shit out. And the support they’ve shown obviously sends a message to me, but more so it tells the other guys on the Avanti team that they’re in safe hands. Just do your job, don’t worry about the rest. 

Donna Buang in the snow, a rite of passage

I’ve also got a medical team behind me to rival any professional sports team now, and I’ll thank them in person, because they require a blog post of their own, each. And my parents who’ve put up with me as I punish my body from pillar to post, thanks. I'm a lucky prick. I know that. 
SunTour with the national team

But what’s the point?
The point is this: I’ve literally pushed my body to the edge. Broken more bones than I’ve had hot meals, but loved every minute of it. The sport has given me new friends, taken me to new places and christ almighty, it’s a bit of a cliché, but I would not have it any other way. People do crazy shit just to ride a bike, and I like to think I'm one of them. I will continue to do crazy shit to ride my bike, but I can't expect ongoing support from a team I'm giving nothing to. Time for journalistic endeavours.

Lovin' the Marco Polo days
Once I sort my knee, I’ll be back cruising around, maybe doing the odd club race. Or maybe I'll enjoy the lazy bunch rides I eschewed whilst being uptight and addicted to my powermeter. 
An old favourite, Metro Road champs back in the day
Shit, maybe I’ll have another red-hot crack in a few years’ time. But for the time being, I can't even walk up a step and I would really like to be able to walk up a step. To even think about racing when you haven't been able to load your knee for nearly a year? 

Junior reppin' back in the day
Nah man. Get real. It’s over and out.

I'll always love the Northern Combine races


Let me eat cake


 It's been fun.

See ya.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bit of a Bingle

On saturday I got back from my training ride to get a call from Huon-Genesys team boss ACJ asking if I wanted to race the Battle on the Border the following week. Pat Shaw was sick and he figured I would be better for the hit out with Tour of Japan coming up. So yes, I said. Yes. Yes. Yes!

Let's race baby!

Then the next morning I trundled out to the 1/20 to do some hard 30 sec efforts whilst cruising away up the 1/20. So yeah, um, anyway, my gears slipped, I managed to kind of 'high side' it, and slap my right hand side onto the road. Hard.

There's lots to write about, and there's lots to say. But I'll keep it simple.

I broke my collarbone and I broke my neck of femur, both on the right hand side. Thankfully surgery was not necessary on the wing, and the leg has gone from screwed, to 'screwed' with 3 Ti additions such that a full recovery looks very probable.


CollarBump Right Hand Side




Either way, I am lucky because it could have been much worse. And I am forever grateful for the friendly passers by who helped me out. The lovely couple who took my bike and even hugged and kissed me whilst I sat in shock! The Ambos were brilliant, as always. My surgeon was great, the nurses were great. My parents are legends, my mates who've supported me are priceless and everyone involved with the Huon-Genesys are incredible.

ACJ running the team is full of nothing but support as are my team mates. I am just a LITTLE bit cut that I can't race with them at the moment... but shit happens.

Snapped like a chicken wing


Now onto the next chapter,

Well I'll keep you updated on my progress but its all hazy at this stage. It just depends how the bones heal. So I could be back training hard in 3 months. Or 6 months. No point getting caught up on arbitrary dates.

Neck of Femur, fractued, but well placed. At least.


Finally, and to be frank, I've kind of lost my blogging 'mojo' per se, in that, I think everyone gets to a point were they feel sick of telling everyone how great they are. I'll be here to fill you in if I have some hilarious stories and still the odd random update (basically what I've been doing for the last year), but for now I am going to focus my journalistic energy on some more formal pieces and just let my legs do the talking once they are back in the swing!

Best Wishes all,

See you on the road. Soon.

Jono


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Going to plan

I like it when things go to plan.

I got my bike ready last night. I filled my bottles. I got my food sorted for the ride. Even got my clothes lined out. Organised to meet my riding partner at 10am. All of this in order to allow a long, luxurious and glorious sleep in. Yet here I am, at 06:30am. Wide awake.

Screw you world!

On the road to Baw Baw

It's never any fun when things don't go to plan.

If you can chat whilst going up Baw Baw you know that you have ample gearing, and, something ain't right...


I had a shocker last weekend at Baw Baw when I woke up from the deepest, and most intense sleep I've had in a while.... at 03:30AM. Not good! Double not good! Still had an ace time on what is just such an awesome course. And thankfully Ben Dyball who was crashing with me from Sydney came home in 2nd so we still had some pocketmoney to add to the bank.

But that's all short term stuff. I am looking at the medium term plan here. And it looks exciting:

1) Tour of Japan
2) AIS Training Camp
3) Tour de Qinghai Lake National Team
4) Tour of Borneo

1) My first big race with the team for the year. Can't wait. Did it last year, it hurt. I wanted to cry. Multiple times. Yet again, this feast of agony and anguish should deliver some good life experiences and I can't wait to go and chase some results with  my Huon-Genesys team mates who've started the year off very well..

(c) The Wheeler http://thewheeler.com.au/  Nathan Elliot and I chopping off during a Northern Combine race
 2) I was lucky enough to get selected to be part of a Cycling Australia National Team to go to the Tour de Qinghai Lake in July. Part of the preparation will be a two week camp in Canberra involving a lot of training and some new altitude training techniues. As far as I am concerned, this is going to be awesome. I am an unashamed bike nerd and wannabe physiology geek. Give me the stats. Give me the data. Let's do it. Only the promise of proper winter weather in Canberra during winter scares me...(a lot)

3) Tour de Qinghai lake, well I written about it before, so have a read, I promise you'll laugh, or just sigh at all the pretty pictures

(c) The Wheeler http://thewheeler.com.au/   I attacked Nath, and we had a two man TT against each other, he caught back up but there was no sprint due to an earlier crash. So equal first it was for both of us at the first Northern Combine race of the year

4) Tour of Borneo. This was a late surprise. I was initially down to open my serious racing account for the season at the Battle on the Border in a couple of weeks but two of the teams upcoming Asian races (Tour of Borneo and Jelajah Malaysia) both had changes of dates. So with some re-jigging it was decided to let me save my bickies for Japan and Qinghai and then jump into Tour of Borneo which now comes in August. To say that this excites me is an understatement. I'm just hoping that everything goes to plan and this stays the case. One thing I learnt last year, however, is that within a busy season there are that many crashes, changes of race dates, people getting sick, etc etc that nothing ever goes exactly to plan. So I'll just play it by ear then!

I've been getting back to good old fashioned climbing weight, unlike, err, other times...


For the meantime, it's off to Mt Macedon to show some more roads to Jurgen . Yep, I too am a bit shocked that 3rd place getter from Tour of Flanders is now basing his build up to the Tour de France from Melbourne... but I think I understand.

You see he lives upstairs from his fathers bakery. The smell and consumption of fresh baked treats just doesn't seem compatible with his target race weight for the Tour. So Melbourne it is...

So if you spot someone decked out in full Lotto-Bellisol kit around Melbourne, give them a yell! But don't shake his right hand, he still has one big arse filthy blister from Paris-Roubaix.. looks like he tried to high five a screw driver... just another reminder that these buggers are tough.

Snowy times up Donna with GPLama should leave me well prepped for Canberra


But mind you, I reckon two weeks in Canberran winter is even tougher... we'll just have to find out.

Ciao!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Asian Persuasion

I was writing this elsewhere, and I thought, this needs some form of formal publication, it needs documenting. It needs sharing. Let's be succinct here:

Background: The Tour of Thailand is currently underway in Thailand and it breaks my heart I can't be there racing it. Back in 2009 when my mate Adam Semple rang me up and proposed I buy a plane ticket and come race with Plan B I was hesitant...

... for 3 tenths of a milisecond. And what a tour it was.

 Semp won a stage and the KOM and I snuck home with 3rd on GC. I got to meet Wayne Evans who is one of the men that make Plan B (now know as Satalyst Giant Racing) one of the best up and coming teams in the Australasian region. I raced with some great blokes including 'EJ' Wells, Doug 'Repa' Repacholi and Patty Gill. I also met my future Marco Polo team mate and asian stalwart Brad Hall who is back in Thailand as we speak.

Not to mention 15 people crammed into the tray of a ute at 2am trying to find a notorious night club by the name of "U Pop" in the jungle city of Udon-Thani. Ahh the memories. And the not-so memories.

We all took home many things from that tour. Depending on where the final night landed you, however, some folks may have taken home things more tangible than they originally bargained for!

But to the present; I am living vicariously through the twitter and instagram feeds of the lucky competitors who are over there now. Bastards.

Here's why I love racing in Asia;

You can take your snowy Milan San Remo
You can take your twice cooked flacid french pasta dredged in tomato sauce
You can take your dishwater french coffee
You can take your stunning Italian Podium girls (actually, they can stay)
You can take you 12 hours trips on the auto strada
You can take your sh*tty Ibis sweatbox motels

You can stick it!


#Thailand is just a gift that keeps on giving... #view from the #hotel balcony. #lovinglife :-) http://instagram.com/p/XmFzOlBkVz/
Because this is where I want to be.

In the jungle, at the street stalls, jumping potholes and fending off dengue fever. becuase it's awesome.

From the twitter feed of Paul van der Ploeg;

It's a jungle out there! #Thailand... Epic day doing just over 200k in some of the most beautiful… http://instagram.com/p/Xou-B1hkeu/



 And for me? Well I've been training hard. And I'll be back in Asia soon. Japan and China await, and plenty of exciting news coming up.

Hope everyone is well, and I'll see you on the road, or at the cafe, or on facebook, or on twitter, or instagram or .....

Postscipt: It is also, abso-freakin-sensational to see Mr Loh get a stage win in stage two. Loh is the stalwart of the Asian Peloton. The Patron. He has been around for a long time. He is always attacking, riddled with panache, and ripe with enthusiasm.

When I joined Marco Polo I couldn't believe how much easier life was, each day Loh would be sitting the 'gate' behind the leading team that was controling the front of the peloton. Now instead of fighting for wheels near the front people just let me slot in behind Loh. It was magic.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013

Howdy folks. Been a while.

What can I say? I've been busy don't you worry about that! I've been writing my fingers to death, just not here. So this is brief, and to the point, without the linguistic break dancing that I usually like to dot around the place like a stoned poet with a thesaurus (wait, I just did it again didn't I?)

NEW BIKES OH HELLS YEH !!!!!!!1111ONE!!! ELEVENTY BILLION AWESOME

The Lovelock househould now has an even greater array of carbon, steel and alloy triangles with wheels and all the trimmings. Thank you Avanti, the Corsa is going down a treat.

Our team had an official launch yesterday. It was a nice fun affair. We got to stand around feeling a bit akward in lycra whilst busy people in the AMP building shuffled past and looked on with curiousity.


Then we at salmon. Oh, so much salmon. I've seen enough anoying adds for fish and krill oil in my short life time. Let's just say, you can take your tablets and stick em'. I've got a new approach



And of course some more stuff that is new, shiney and great


I know it's a bit tiring at this time of year when new teams and new riders are bomboarding your social media accounts with a blitzkrieg of pictures and cheesy sponsor plugs. But here's the deal;

We LOVE what we do. We are so, so, so lucky to get the chance to live out our dreams and put off 'real' life for a while. So we are generally thankful and show our appreciation. So don't worry, it'll tone down. But we just want to support those who support us, and we sure as hell hope you want to support them too!

Back on the article front, I've jumped on board at The Roar sports website and have started posting regular articles here. So far there is

What does a cyclists Mad Monday look like?

The National Championships: it's all in the timing

New calendar postion heralds a new beginning for Suntour

I am also going to be doing some semi-regular articles for Wade at Cyclingtips. Here is round one;

Who's found a home, Who's left Hanging?


So it's nationals coming up, and the battle to regrow skin after a recent touchdown at the Williamstown support bay crits

Yet another brilliant pic from Fyxo, you'll have to click through to see the full size pic and remaining blood and gore

 And as the brilliant Paul Ambry (who does the sensational cartoon backrgounds for my blog) noted, I even got a chainring behind the ear. How does that happen?


 See you all at nationals!

Over, and out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blake's Manor


Situation: Genesys Training Camp; day 6

Weather: Filthy, bordering on horrendous

Motivation levels: Beginning to wane

The saving grace? Blake’s Manor

There were six of us out riding around the windy flats near Deloraine, Tasmania. Nearle, Dyball, Jai, Sammy D, Matt from Launie Homes and myself. About an hour into our ride we saw some pretty horrid looking black clouds coming in over the Tassie highlands. We pulled over and chucked on our rain jackets, extra gloves, head warmers, pretty much anything we could.

It was a smart move.

Five minutes later the scene had certainly changed. Ben Dyball was busy grovelling along in the gravel shoulder after being blown off the road by the increasingly strong wind (like seriously, seriously strong*)

*We are talking 170km/h wind gusts that ripped roofs off houses in Deloraine that night
Then came the hail. Oh the stinging hail. It hurt. A lot!

We cowered amongst a cluttering of trees trying to work out how best to ameliorate this truly shitful situation. The initial equation involved us riding up a climb to the Great Lakes which would see us gain another ~800-1000m of elevation. Given the temperature was hovering around the mid-single digits whilst we huddled, shivered and contemplated the crapulence of our situation; there was no doubt that tackling that climb would result in

1)      Snow
2)      Hypothermia
3)      Insanity
4)      A rather low level of satisfaction
5)      All of the above. And some.

So to Deloraine we soldiered.

Now on our training camps, and races, accommodation is always a highly variable theme. Given we end up staying in some tourist areas in ‘off peak’ season, or in other areas in ‘on peak’ season; for a given cost, we could be in a caravan park, or a chalet. Sometimes we score some really, really nice spots to stay.


Anyone on the team will happily regale you with tales of Toowoomba. Four people to a space so small it truly was a stretch of the truth to deem it a 'cabin'. All piled on top of each other. Only separated by our own sweat, dysentery and the dirt and sand that was just everywhere.

But fear not, because in stark contrast came our deluxe lodgings at San Remo. This stroke of good luck saw us start Tour of Gippsland in luxury villas with ceilings even higher than our enthusiasm to sleep beneath them.

Needless to say, we were all hoping to score a gem for the night. We were cold, miserable and hungry. Let’s be honest, caravan parks are fine. At that point in time, all we really needed was a warm shower. Heck, we’d have had one in the main street of Deloraine if that was our only option.

But then there came, Blake’s Manor. You. Little. Beauty.

Probably best not to wear our muddy shoes in here...


On arrival it appeared we’d slipped back into the days of ye Olde England. We had arrived in the palatial surrounds of something out of Downton Abbey. Certainly, no complaints here.

Certainly comfortable


But what’ that say you? Free food? Oh, well of course, many motels give you some tea bags and cookies!
Oh no, not just ordinary cookies!

Oh really, do tell?
We started with; fresh baked macadamia cookies. Brilliant. To which we then uncovered some local chocolate truffles. Oh how swell. Nevertheless the local cheese platter went divinely with the flagon of port. But only trumped by the delicious iced cupcakes. Truly satiating.

Anyone for cheese?


But wait, I know you want more;

Local Bacon, six rashers.
Local Eggs, times six.
And a fresh, baked, loaf of bread. And don’t you dare forget the fresh butter and Jam.
Yep. It was a feast. Of glorious proportions.

Here's hoping for warmer weather come Tour of Tasmania...

It equipped us with sufficient nutrients and motivation to tackle the dastardly climb we had avoided. Albeit in the car.

A good night’s sleep, surrounded by an abundance of pillows, teddy bears, tassels and all manner of opulent furnishings left us with the nobility of kings. Until we returned the next day, to our more customary abode of the Hobart Airport Caravan Hotel Caravan Park.

Accommodation on tour or training camp is about taking the ups with the downs. At the end of the day, we are lucky to have someone else organise and pay it all for us. And even luckier, to get to dot around the country and see places we’d never see. Even if it means rain, hail, snow and a lot of washing.

A clear and frosty day up on Mt Wellington, Hobart.


There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Sun on the other side of that grey cloud. And in this case, a hefty dose of fat, sugar with just a sprinkling of alcohol at the end of a despondent day in Deloraine.

Yep, I’ll take the good with the bad, because the good, is just that good.

Jono