25 June 2014


Dear Jodie,

I am finally sitting down to report back, to say hello, and to apologise for not having had the opportunity to share my tales from the tour bus before now.

We had a fantastic time at the RGR Gold Coast, as you have read in Stephens’ blog, which I believe summed up every RGR experience perfectly.  I always enjoy meeting other Baum riders, with Stephen, Lloyd and Maddison being no exception.  I don’t mind saying that I think Lloyd is the strongest character I’ve met.  At one point we were riding together when I heard him mutter “Houston, we have a problem”, next thing I know, he’s pulled to the grassy curb and just fell over (still clipped in) suffering from cramps in both legs.  That guy turned himself inside out and was still smiling!  I’m not sure I’m that strong.

Stephen also made a very true and important point about Darren and Ryan showing us that the bikes are not only beautiful, but machines to be ridden and enjoyed.  It reminded me of some great advice that Ryan gave me once when I was pondering selling all my bikes, and no longer having a “wet weather roadie”.  He said something to the affect of “she is a beautiful ride, live it, enjoy it, and give her the maintenance when she needs it”.  I have made progress on this front, having successfully rationalised my fleet to just Baums and “old rattles” for trips to the shop; and I have found the best mechanic in Melbourne!

*Sigh*…. my Extensa….. Who would have thought the pride of my fleet would be a MTB, with pink trim!!!! WhooHooo, I can’t wait, how many more sleeps is it now?  Oh, and I’m not silly, I’m pretty sure there are bets on at Baum about how long it will take for me to order a CX.  I’ve seen what’s been happening with all this gravel road riding and CX shenanigans.

I suspect the guys have already filled you in on the important and exciting parts of our recent tour.  The team is coming together, and we are showing off some obvious strength.

I feel like we traveled well together, and they say this is a test of friendship.  Darren and I have it all worked out, essentially, the more useless we act, the more Ryan steps in…. I wonder what will happen if he ever cracks it?

Anyway, he loves it and demonstrated proficient use of airport self check-in, including application of luggage tags and location of oversize baggage counters.  Darren and I demonstrated an ability to stand back and happily follow instruction and direction.  Oh, and did you know that he also served us a race breakfast of 2 poached eggs on toast  – the breakfast of champions, yum!

Ryan has proved his immense loyalty to the team, working hard to ensure we stay together.  Darren and I think that his performance may be being enhanced by an apparent excess of endorphins and hormones associated with the recently change in his personal circumstances;  however he has proven extremely valuable as a tireless and loyal Domestique.  He only mildly lost his cool at the very end, which was testament to his exhaustion rather than his character, and quite funny I might add.

Darren does appear to be getting stronger, despite a lack of training.  I’m not sure what his secret is, but I believe it has something to do with his recent weight loss, spending most of his days breathing argon, and pre-race nutrition which includes caffeine, tinned rice pudding, and family size blocks of chocolate.  On the bike, he has two very important skills honed….. Firstly his poker face is dialled; he fooled at least two event participants/organisers by maintaining pace and conversation when he was clearly putting in effort.   Secondly, he has the ability to relieve himself whilst riding – like a pro!

As for me, my single strength remains simply the fact that I’m a woman, essential for race rules.  I will seize every opportunity to speed through the descending pack (of men) whilst politely advising “on your right”.  I will not feel bad about burying myself just to make sure Ryan doesn’t catch me should I find myself in a situation where I’m “winning”.  I will always engage in the sneaky “school yard sprints”.

Improvements for the next tour:  May our tour be longer than three days? May I source a bike bag that does not require me to almost completely disassemble my bike?  May we order two meals each at the pub? And may I have the big bedroom?

Things we need clarified:  Is the double headed shower for washing our bikes?  What is the right way to eat a chocolate coated banana?  Did anyone ever find out where all the loose ball bearings in our apartment came from (I can vouch that they weren’t from my Cubano, which is still running smoothly)?

Thanks again for inviting me to attend a fantastic weekend away on the bikes.  I appreciate it more than I am able to express.  I think it would be awesome if you can join us next time.

Yours Sincerely,