I figure I'm not great at writing race reports, and as we move through each day after sweltering day, I'm less and less inclined to write up what happened in each individual day of the Victorian Christmas Carnivals. So instead I'm going to outline what each day generally entails. There were, of course, variations, but none of them were particularly outstanding - usually just a battle to find coffee, or different issues with bike parts. I'll provide the outlines and you can use your imagination to fill in the details.
* Wake up, shower and have breakfast. It is hot, and everyone feels kinda gross, so that morning shower is vital. We've brought along our own cereal, and I smash a delicious protein shake made of protein powder and water. Yes, that was sarcasm.
* Two hours on the road. Generally this was just Hurley and I, but on different days we had different company. On day one I had some sprints on the program, which we both did, but for the other days Hurley did his sprints then waited for me to catch up.
* Find some food. Some days this was easy, like when Casey made us all salad rolls, but some days it was kinda difficult, like in Shepparton. At this point I'd like to make the claim that Shepparton is the worst town in Victoria. This realization hit Hurley the hardest, as he has to live there next year.
* Drive to the next town. The initial plan was for Hurley to drive, in order to rack up some L plate hours, but his driving had an odd effect on Casey, who suffered car sickness for the first time in years. Hurley claimed it was not the first time he had made a woman sick, but it was possibly the first time he had done it by driving.
* Find a place to stay. We stayed with my parents, with Hurley, and at this vegan bed and breakfast just outside of Shep. It was pretty easy, for the most part, and certainly better than driving around looking for a hotel.
* Find some dinner. I ate a lot of salads from the Coles deli, a lot of chips and dip, and a lot of mixed nuts. What I assumed were the local Iraqi community were catering at Shep, which would have been rad, but I was a bit skint by that point, so I missed out.
* Find the track. Again, mostly this was pretty simple, but I'd never been to the Wangaratta track, so it took some finding. With this was finding a place to sit. For the most part Jess Morgan had arrived before us, and had claimed an awesome spot (including the annual Brunswick location in Shep, on top of the hill), but by the end of the carnivals seating had become a political proposition - a feud was developing between the Bendigo riders and the riders from Croydon Cycleworks, and in order to appear non-partisan we Fitzroy Revolution riders were careful to sit in neutral spots.
* Fix broken parts. This was the first year I've had mechanical issues, and they came in droves. On Christmas Eve, before we even left, I broke a spoke on my rear road bike wheel, and had to borrow Hurely's. In Horsham I loaned my spare wheels to Gene, who had forgotten his, and by Bendigo he had broken a locknut on the rear one. After Horsham I put my track bike on the roof of Dave Morgan's car, and by the time we arrived in Bendigo the heat and the vibrations of the road had melted a whole in the tyre. I switched to Hurley's spare and promptly blew up one of his latex tubes. In Shepparton I discovered that the rear hub on my race wheels had almost seized up - Hurley and Neil attacked it with their cone wrenches and some chain lube, got it back on, and I promptly won a race. In Shep I also punctured the rear on my road bike, destroying another of Hurley's latex tubes. Have I mentioned recently that Shepparton is the worst town in Victoria? In Wangaratta I didn't break any bike parts, but my iPod did stop working on the way there, which was perhaps a greater loss.
* Get changed, get water, get warmed up. Sometimes we'd have a little time on the track, but mostly this was done on the rollers, which was never much fun. I took the road bike and it pretty much took me until Bendigo to realize that I'd be better off warming up in the big ring, to get the blood flowing to the legs, instead of just spinning for thirty minutes.
* Watch Hurley win some races. Apparently the usual handicapper was on holidays in the States, which meant there were some interesting decisions. As well as Sam Crome ending up in B grade, Hurley somehow ended up in D grade. He wasn't proud, and promptly went about getting bumped up to C. His finest effort was perhaps in Bendigo, where he hit the bunch with six laps to go - on a 4oo metre track - and stayed away. By Wangaratta they had moved him up, which didn't stop him winning. He must've come home with at least five hundred bucks. I made him pay for petrol.
* Suffer. After last year, when I had some really fun times in B grade, I was definitely going to be in A grade. I knew this was going to be hard work, especially given my lack of fitness, and compounded by the hard training week immediately previous (Tapering? Never heard of it). Despite lining up against a number of former and current Olympians, I managed to finish almost every race, and by Wangaratta was starting to feel ok, even managing to win my handicap heat and make it into the Keirin final. Still, it wasn't the most fun I've ever had, and not collecting money at the end of the night took some getting used to.
* Recover. Drink more delicious protein drink - there's that sarcasm again - and put on some wanker pants (aka compression garments). Pack up all the shit we'd managed to spread around and drive back to wherever we're staying. Wash some bottles, possibly do some laundry, probably shower, then try to sleep.