CHOOSING RIGHT ON THE BIG DAY!!! #XMAS
THE festive season might only last for a couple of weeks, but the average person gains between 0.8 and 1.5 kilos over Christmas each year and many people never shed this excess weight.
So how can you indulge your inner ham monster and enjoy the festive treats without popping the button on your pants?
Leading Sydney naturopath Victoria O’Sullivan says it’s okay to occasionally give in during the festive season, so long as you learn how to compensate for unhealthy choices.
To help you do this here are seven ways to ensure you enjoy Christmas without having to play catch-up in the new year.
1. DON’T STARVE YOURSELF
With a huge day of eating on the horizon, there is a tendency to be overly restrictive with your diet in the lead up. This is a no-no.
“When you’re in energy-restriction mode and eating fewer calories than you’re burning, you’ll lose weight for a while, but you’ll hit a point where the ‘famine reaction’ is triggered and that primes the body for fat regain,” says associate professor Amanda Sainsbury-Salis, of the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders.
“Your metabolism will be down, your hormones will be altered and the body will be geared to store each little thing you eat.”
Instead, follow a balanced, healthy diet in the lead-up to Christmas and make sure you have something small for breakfast on the day so you’re not hungry and ready to binge on the very foods you were trying to avoid at lunch.
2. IF YOU FALL OFF THE WAGON, GET BACK ON IT QUICKLY
One of the key skills of individuals who keep their weight stable is being able to adequately compensate when they have overeaten says nutritionist and author of The Monday to Friday Diet Susie Burrell.
This may mean having a light salad or soup for dinner on Boxing Day or doing some extra exercise the following day.
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOODS TO INDULGE IN
Try to keep the sugary and starchy foods to a minimum and go light on the sweets, pastries, biscuits, milky chocolates, chips and breads.
“When we eat sugary or starchy foods, we trigger a pro-inflammatory release of sugar into our bloodstream, which causes our body to store fat,” explains O’Sullivan.
“Eating sugary foods also triggers a spike in insulin levels, which in turn increases our appetite setting up a vicious cycle of overeating.”
Instead load up on delicious but healthier choices such as blueberries, green leafy vegetables, beans, whole grains. horseradish, garlic, onions and spices such as cinnamon and turmeric. These foods are high in folate and foods with antioxidants which assist cell-regeneration.
“Foods with a high alkaline content, such as avocados, leafy greens, soya beans, radish and broccoli also work to help regulate the pH of our blood cells,” says O’Sullivan.
“When we eat too much acid the body is forced to draw on its alkaline stores to balance the surplus acid. The acid then creates nasty things like yeast, harmful microforms, mycotoxins and bacteria.”
4. DON’T STRESS
Between trying not to burn the potatoes and keeping your relatives from throwing dishes at each other, Christmas can be a stressful time of year. But stress and lack of sleep raise the hormone cortisol in our bodies, which sends us into panic mode making it harder to digest our food.
5. GET SOME SLEEP
Try to get eight hours of undisturbed sleep each night, breathe deeply, stay away from too much caffeine and most of all remember Christmas is supposed to be about family and friends not how crunchy your crackling is.
6. SWAP THIS, FOR THAT
Making a few simple tweaks to your food choices means you can indulge in festive fare without fear.
The following measurements are provided as an estimate per 100g courtesy of www.weightloss.com.au and suggest suitable alternatives for your Christmas pleasures without denying you or your guests the Christmas indulgence:
- Swap beef sausages (1093kJ) for turkey breast (648kJ, .09g of saturated fat)
- Swap hollandaise sauce (1793kJ, 14.3g of saturated fat) for apple sauce (352kJ, 0g of saturated fat)
- Swap chicken liver pate (1328kJ, 9.1g of saturated fat) for guacamole (577kJ, 4.3g of saturated fat)
- Swap cabanossi (1167kJ, 10.1g of saturated fat) for smoked salmon (561kJ, 0.9g of saturated fat)
- Swap cream-filled Pavlova (1522kJ, 8.6g of saturated fat) for an apple and date crumble (1320kJ, 3g of saturated fat)
7. BURN OFF THOSE CHRISTMAS KILOJOULES
Undo the damage of your festive excesses with some fun exercise:
• 375ml beer (570kJ) = 27 minutes of fast walking
• 190g of ham off the bone (837kJ) = 30 minutes of medium-pace jogging
• A mince pie (921kJ) = 62 minutes of power walking Christmas shopping
• Five sugared almonds (419kJ) = 55 minutes wrapping presents
• Portion of salted mixed nuts (1017kJ) = 34 minutes of bike riding
• Portion of Christmas pudding and custard (2374kJ) = 1 hour 37 minutes of dancing
• A slice of chocolate log (423kJ) = 53 minutes putting up decorations and lights
• Three chocolates (557kJ) = 1 hour 7 minutes playing board games
• 30g piece of crackling (684kJ) = 30-minute walk
PROSPORT DO #PEAKS15 IN TASSIE
The Peaks Challenge is somewhat the cyclists version of a marathon, arguably a little more...
Usually the idea of competing in an event like this comes from moments of weakness, where we have temporarily forgotten about the punishment, pain and sacrifice we have put our bodies through from previous events. Regardless, this was another one of those moments. Generally speaking, it has just been Tim and I driving for hours on end, only to go for a bike ride, climb mountains and witness views that only a cyclist knows about. When it was confirmed Andrew Lowther (Fit at 40) would join us, it provided us a fresh voice and committed us to the event.
Leading up to Peaks Challenge, we trundled our way to Bright for a training weekend. Bally, Wors, Drewy, Haze and myself ventured to the alpine country and climbed some of the Victorian Alps most brutal terrain, I was confident this would condition us for what Tassie could throw.
It’s the Spring Carnival long weekend. ProSport is glittering with fascinators, frocks and high heals. While heading to the races is something I have done in the past, suiting up was the furthest thing from my mind. Not that I didn’t like the idea of it, however riding my bike along the outskirts of my homeland was a lot more appealing, or so I thought.
Peaks Challenge provided much excitement for the coastal town of Devonport, perhaps a town that doesn’t see all that much. Over 800 riders converged on the epicentre to attack, what everyone knew was going to be a long and tough day. The highlight was provided early when Haze left with the ‘elite’ riders, he had a long 12 minutes riding solo for the ‘rest of the us’ to catch up. His childhood behaviour of skipping the cue at the canteen clearly didn’t work on this occasion.
Having not ridden this area at all, it did bring up a lot of past rowing memories while we rode around Lake Barrington and that big hill our coach use to make us run up and down! Through the undulations and battling gradients, we made our way through the fog and sleet to sit at lunch following a long climb at Cathana Rd, having already battled climbs over Union Bridge and Echo Valley. Sitting in one piece was an accomplishment in itself, we had ridden past many accidents derived from the slippery surfaces and conditions, this included one man who snapped his femur.
Following lunch, our argues journey continued along the open roads up to Cradle Mountain, which rolled in to the beautiful Dove Lake. The scenery was simply stunning. Rolling meadows and undulating hills provided the perfect time to reflect on the past few months while the low lying cloud made for a picturesque drink stop. 150km were down and we had 100km to go, and one of the hardest climbs one can expect. Following a steep descent, where speeds of over 90km/h were reached, we faced Spellmens Rd. I like to think I know most of the tough climbs around Tassie, but this was something different. With 198km in the legs at this stage, a cheeky look in the distance saw a dropped chin with the abbreviation of OMG echoing out my mouth. For close to 1km we battled inclines between 18% and 24% before settling in to for the following few kilometres at 12%. “Close your eyes and get angry” is what I say in spin, about time I listened to my own words. With fellow riders choosing to get off their bikes and walk, this was never really an option as the competitive nature of Haze and I came out, however I’m sure if one of us got off their bikes the other wouldn’t have been far behind.
Knowing that the final 30km’s would pass as the time went, we knew we had all but made it! While there was that sick feeling of 10 gels and a few bars sitting in your stomach, crossing the finish line was something, which couldn’t come soon enough. We made a pact to cross together!!
These types of events, marathons and adventures create a bond between people, which I find very difficult to explain. It’s a bond, which no one can take away and something, which can’t ever be revisited. It needs to be cherished in the moment, when the jubilation of victory overcomes all else, which brings us back time and time again. I think Drewy and Wors learnt that today and have caught the bug, which seemingly it impossible to get rid of. Welcome to the club boys!!!!!
CHLOE SHINNERS - IRONMAN ARTICLE
CARLY HEADS TO BALI
This Sunday, the ProSport Team head to the luxurious Sharing Bali where they will indulge in the masses of healthy foods, exercise and detox their bodies through all things health and fitness. This trip is not about bashing your bodies up, it is about respecting our body. Pushing them when they need to be pushed but also understanding when you need some downtime, some sleep and some time for yourself as you reflect amongst nature and its beauty. Carly and the crew from Sharing Bali will undergo fitness camps, jungle trekking, meditation, massages and much more as they escape the harsh Australian winter, to the warmth of the Bali sun.
If you feel like you want to join our 2016 Bali Bootcamp, please contact the team today
TOUR DE FRANCE - BLOG
TIM HAZELL goes wild with the boys in the epic 2015 premier cycling event!
11th of July was just a normal Saturday for most people, except Stevie K, Wors and myself who had highlighted this date in our diary 12 months ago, it was a long time coming. The dreams of testing ourselves up the famous Cols, relaxing in the European heat and being amongst the worlds biggest cycling race was our motivation over the past 8 months. Finally, the day had come and it was time to head to France
Melbourne to Dubai / Dubai to Paris and finally Paris to Pau – we had arrived. Waiting for us at Hotel Beau (which is situated in the beautiful village Argeles Gazost) was our captain, Andy and our domestique, Rob (who had been tanning up in Italy on his own private training camp), our photographer and friend from Bali Bootcamp Karen (who has a heart bigger than Phar Lap) and our support crew for the next week - Steve and Cathy.
DAY 1 (written by Tim Hazell)
After spending some time putting together our bikes and taking in the beautiful surrounds, it was time to put our bodies to the test. Heading out, sometimes I had to pinch myself that I was actually here (I kept thinking how jealous Tommy would be).
We started in Argeles Gazost and headed towards Pierrefitte-Nestalas, a tiny town with tight, twisting roads, which somehow worked. It was the perfect warm up for us, but our Captain, Andy kept saying ‘the best is yet to come’, I soon fund out why. With enough time for a drink and nature stop, we headed to Cauterets. The roads started to get steeper with the inclines sitting around 8% our tired legs from all the travel started to wear. Some more breath-taing views, punishing moments and we were finally at the top, well so we thought. It leads straight on to Pont d’Espagne (1459m), which was just as tough. Steve, Cathy and Karen pulled up beside us taking photos and cheering us. I knew we had a big 30 minutes ahead. Suddenly the inclines were around 10 – 12% the legs and heart were pumping. Continuous were the switchbacks, we are only half way through day 1 and already have a greater appreciation of the pros.
Close to home was a bike shop, 5 euros for a quick service by one of the best bike mechanics ever (Sth Yarra Giant need to recruit this guy) we all decided we still had a bit left in the tank so we went for a light ride towards Col de Couraduque (1367m) we decided we wouldn’t ride to the top but thought we would have a look at it. We all decided we need to come back and ride this hill – it looks pretty amazing.
Back to the hotel around 6pm and it was time for showers, beers and a 5 course dinner. Bed around 10pm saw my head hit the pillow and I was out.
What a first day in the saddle in France!!
DAY 2 (written by Tim Hazell)
After a top night sleep, we were sitting at breakfast. I think everyone really started to understand the significance of what this whole trips is all about, and if they didn’t, they were about to. Argeles-Gazost to Aucun (which was tough) quick break and then it was Aucun to Col du Soulor (1474m) this was a solid hour in the saddle climbing an average incline of 8 – 10%. Rolling in our own time with customary celebrations, all I could think about was my current surroundings. Situated amongst the most amazing rolling meadows, I’d forgotten all the work it had taken for me to get here, to me that means it’s worth it.. I’d do it all again! It honestly was breathtaking sitting back looking around. Fortunately for us, we got to do it all again because next was Col d’Aubisque (1709m). This Col is featured quite frequently in the TDF courses, we knew it was going to be tough but for some reasons we were acting like kids in a candy store, we couldn’t wait! Stevie K had his game face on, Bally had been preparing like a pro, Wors was smiling under that frown and Andy was in second gear.
The road we started riding along was like something out of a movie, the road ran along the cliff with these unbelievable tunnels. This was amazing!! As the k’s ticked off the incline started to kick in again, we started to climb and it was game on again. As per usual the group started to split (this is the best way to climb – get in your own rhythm and focus on solving all the problems of the world). As the road continued to wind and climb we could see the end point, this beautiful little village situated at the top of the hill with amazing rolling mountains all around us. We all made it that was tough! Lunch, coffees and a few bars for some extra energy, it was home time. Another tough day in the saddle! One beer, 5 course dinner again and bed – tomorrow will test us out. We have the grueling and challenging Col du Tourmalet (2115m) to climb and finally get to watch the TDF go past our doorstep.
DAY 3 (written by Stephen Worsley)
Starting to get our climbing legs on now and just as well, massive day ahead as Andy laid out the plan for the Tourmalet, out early before the masses got up there and the gendarmes started blocking the roads for Le Tour! Pack enough gear for the ride and extras to keep us comfortable for the long wait 5hrs plus till the stars of the show turned up! I offered to take one for the team and carry the backpack for at least a good portion of the climb. What was I thinking? Looking back now I clearly wasn’t, so we pumped out from Argeles nice and early, me with a pack chock full of thongs, jackets and anything else the boys thought would be good to slow me down? Ha just joking, they wouldn’t do that to me! We rolled along the valley next to the river, sensational views all the way. Stopped for a couple of photos and then the climb was on. It was hot and the grind was tough as we rolled along, plenty of encouragement from the locals as they picked their spots out for later in the day. I had little idea how hard this would be, how hard to go on, so picked a good heart rate and stuck to a back wheel when I could with Andy encouraging as he performed the role of sweeper. Did I say it was hot? Out into the open now and the goal in sight, few more campers and plenty of other cyclists now heading up. Thankfully the boys held up for me and Tim took over the backpack with about 6 kms to go. Didn’t realize how hard that was but I was away now as we charged on, we ground on and then unbelievably we were there on top of the Tourmalet. It was crazy, bikes everywhere and Andy and I rode across the top and 50 metres down the other side and didn’t even see Rob, Steve K and Tim waiting on the summit. Team re-group, a drink and a hot dog baguette and we clambered up the bank side of the road to find a spot to kick back and wait for the publicity caravan and the race to arrive .Before we knew it the sponsor floats were there ,gear being thrown out and Tim in the thick of it on the hunt for some goodies !Choppers flew by and down in the valley at La Mongie we could see the action heading our way and then they were there ,fans crazy, horns blowing, gendarmes waving everyone back as they flew past ,the peleton was split up with just the descent and up into Cauterets for the finish and the pain on the faces of those who had given all and fallen away was visible. Then just like that it was over and the masses waited to head back down, another 15 minutes until we were let loose for a steady but safe descent into the valley below, last thing we need after such a great day was a touch of wheels but all safe back to Argeles even though we lost Steve K for a bit as the gendarmes ruled the roundabout with a iron fist ,Andy turned back and he and Steve found a way round and all was good as Tim ,Rob and I headed back home as the team buses, cars and caravan rolled along next to us .A most wonderful day and one I will never forget with the enduring image of the huge Credit Lyonnais Lion on sitting on Robs back wheel burned forever into my memory.
DAY 4 (written by Tim Hazell)
After another early night, we were all ready to tackle our last climb before we head off to the Alps. The legs and bodies were pretty tired but we knew tomorrow was a rest day so we had to dig deep and do this. Rob’s back was playing up but he’s tough and said don’t worry about me. Stevie K was excited. Stevie W decided to have a day off jumping in the van with Andy, Karen, Steve and Cathy. Breakfast has been spot on – cereal, eggs, toast, coffee and some orange juice, which has been hitting the spot perfectly each morning. Todays ride was the challenging Hautacam (1615m). We rolled out of the village for our usual warm up ride, which led us straight to the base of the Hautacam. The support crew drove past taking photos while wishing us luck as we all got our gears into the little ring ready to climb. An hour later, we had made it – this climb had some challenging 10 - 12% inclines in it that makes it pretty tough. As always, coming down does 2 things to me. 1 – makes me appreciate how hard that climb was. 2. My brakes cop the biggest work out ever – descending at speeds of 60 – 70ks is pretty scary.
The afternoon we decided to park the bikes for a quick road trip to Lourdes and be tourists, (we all felt we needed to get blessed with some holy water). I took the keys and managed to get back unscathed (even Stevie K gave my driving the thumbs up). Tonight we had our standard pre dinner drinks and our 5-course meal. Another day done and dusted. This trip so far has been amazing!
DAY 5 (written by Tim Hazell)
Today was our first big road trip (551ks). Bikes and bags were packed in the van and our team skipper, Andy was ready to go. We said our good byes to our new friends (amazing support crew Steve and Cathy). We were on the way to Hotel La Garance in Bedion (we were situated at the bottom of Ventoux – what a scary sight). We arrived around 3ish and unpacked. We headed out for a ride around the villages which was great, a coffee, muffin and a chat to the locals we were ready to head back for dinner and of course, an early night. Tomorrow we were heading up Mont Ventoux (one of France’s famous climbs).
DAY 6 (written by Stevie K)
The time had come to leave Argeles-Gazost early Saturday morning for the 550 Km drive to the base of Mt. Ventoux, otherwise known at the ‘evil mountain’. The challenge of climbing 22 Km up an average gradient of about 9% was the talk of the group. We had all read the stories in the cycling magazines and we also had Marino tell us stories over the last 12 months of the difficulty that lay ahead having conquered it himself with Tommy last year. Marino obviously enjoyed the experience so much he thought he would take the impromptu last minute trip from Melb to the base of Ventoux. What a surprise it was to see his bike bag in the hotel foyer. Well it was a surprise for me as Tim and the others kept it a secret all along.
Our hotel was 3 Km from the town centre and part way up the incline to the evil mountain. After having put our bikes together we thought we would roll the 3 Km down the hill and get a coffee in town. We then thought it would be great to get a taste of the path up to the evil mountain and we decided to ride up the hill. I am not sure if it was the trip from Gazost or the sun, but lets just say that 6 km into the ride we all felt somewhat defeated and decided to roll back home. Doing that ride was a bad idea. Hesitation and doubt set in. Marino had a grin from ear to ear. He knew what was facing us in the morning. Dinner was great, but our thoughts were focussed on the climb to that evil place. We set out plan for an early breakfast and we took off at 7.45 am. Just pre departure, Andy our guide showed me a photo of himself at the pinnacle of Mt. Ventoux. I thought it was a photo from a previous trip. When I saw he was wearing the same outfit, I realised that the crazy cat had climbed that evil mountain earlier that morning. His smile was bigger than Marino’s. What staggered me was the fact that he was smiling and able to stomach breakfast. By 8 am we were at the base and decided to take off. The dry reaching had started before the first kilometre was reached. We were all more pumped than our tyres and started the steady climb. The first few km’s are actually quite enjoyable. The landscape is breathtaking. There are grape vines and olive trees along the path as well as a spattering of local restaurants. After 3 km, I wanted to stop off at the restaurant we had dinner the night before and wait for the boys do descent. However we all pushed on to the evil place. There was a steady procession of fellow cyclists following the road to Ventoux in the same way that you would see religious pilgrims going to a famous church. The landscape changes from grape vines to a dense and lush forest. I couldn’t help but notice that the Ventoux City Council attended to the wild box hedges by the side of the road as they appeared very well manicured for wild scrub. The gradient suddenly changes and punches you in the guts as you enter the forest. There are some parts of 12-13% that keep on going and going without any reprieve in site. Just as it flattens off to a comfortable 9%, there is a switchback and another rise. Shall I say that we were all feeling winded and dry in the mouth by this stage. I remember Andy saying that the road flattened out after the forest, but it seemed to go on for an eternity. Gradually you notice that the trees become less dense and before you know it about 16 Km into the ride you come to a turn in the road and there is a humble kiosk (Chalet Reynard) that is a resting spot for many. By this stage the landscape has rapidly changed. The mountain has taken a moon like landscape and you think that you are in natures sand pit or quarry. At the top you can clearly see the weather station. Its so close you feel you can touch it. Its deceptive. Actually the weather station is visible from 100km away. Two more climbs to go and 6 Km to go. No stopping at Chalet Reynard for us. Onwards and upwards. I have gone asleep and I can feel Marino yelling out his normal banter “ I’ve got ya Stevie. I told you to climb more hills back home”. By this stage we are breathing in so much warm air that are mouths are as dry and cracked as the surrounding moonscape. The climb is relentless. Just as you take in the rugged beauty and forget the pain, the next gradient turns the fire up in the quads. This is an evil mountain. Eventually your pedal strokes grind down the mountain and the weather station is less than 2 km away. Once you pass the tombstone of Todd Simpson who tragically died in the 1967 TDF, you know you are almost there. One more turn and a punishing 11 % gradient and you finally make it to the top. This is what you have come here for. As always, Tim and Andy were there at the top to greet you and cheer you on. There is so much relief when you see that sign “ Sommet Mt. Ventoux 1911m”. We all start filing in one by one without too much separation in our times. However, for me, the ride of the day was from Stephen Worsley. I’m not going to say anything else. Ask Tim Hazell for the video footage of Mr. W climbing the last 150m to the summit. You’ll want to come.
Day 7 (written by Tim Hazell)
Stevie K, Andy and myself were game enough to climb Ventoux, again. 21km’s of more punishment, yippee. This time I really took the time to take in the scenery and appreciate where I was, it’s not every weekend you get the opportunity to climb in these surrounds. 6am, and time to go.. it was time to start climbing and put our game faces on. The first 10ks of this climb was hard; once we came out of the forest… it wasn’t to bad! 1.40hr later, we were standing on the top of Ventoux again – this was seriously an amazing feeling. We descended quickly, 25 minutes and we were back home for breakfast with the other boys. Another road trip was ahead of us – 331k this time to the Alps. We arrived around 2ish and met our hosts Kirsten and Leigh. An afternoon ride around the village was exactly what we all needed. Tomorrow was going to be another huge day – Alpe d’Huez (maybe twice). Dinner, a few beers… perfect day or what!?!
After 5 days in Pyrenees Alps and 2 in Provence, it was time for the tour to roll on to the French Alps. 4 hours of driving and we arrived at the quaint village of Venosc, some 13 km’s from the base do Alpe d'Huez and Bourg D'Oisans. We were greeted at our amazing Chalet accommodation, operated by two English hosts, and served afternoon tea before setting up our bikes and rolling out for a "bit of a spin" – this spin ended up having just under 1000m of vertical climbing. It was pretty obvious that the Alps were going to be no different to any of our other riding locations – all roads lead up!
Day 8 (written by Rob Ball)
That's exactly what we did on Monday and there is no better way to be introduced to the Alps than to tackle the famous Alpe d'Huez.
There are steeper, longer and more feared climbs in the Alps than d'Huez, but none quite as famous or recognizable with its 21 corkscrewing bends.
It has been dubbed the "Hollywood" climb of the tour and its summit finishers have had the most notoriety in the modern era.
The day started with a respectable 8.45am rollout, downhill from Venosc for 8 km’s and then a warm up of 5 km’s on the flat before you turn the corner, up we go!
There was much anticipation amongst the group as all except myself had climbed it before. There was also a bit more competitiveness with the inclusion of our newly arrived member Merino "Pantani". His dual with Stevie K "the Greek God" up Alpe d’Huez is now inscribed in folklore and was reminiscent of many head-to-head duals of the Tour. We will speak about this one for years to come!
We regrouped at the base and I do recall our consensus that everyone would work into the 13.1 km’s climb at their own pace and rhythm. We were 100m in and everyone had forgotten everything I had just said. I think there were a few in the group that thought they could beat Armstrongs drug fuelled 2004 time! We were, as we had been all tour; lead up the climb by our esteemed team leader Timmy Haze. He has had mechanically issues and his bike making noises all week has not deterred him from powering up our climbs.
The 1073m climb certainty hits you front on, from the beginning. The 1st 5-6 km’s rarely gets below 10% and gets you having to dig deep early. There was many moments early that I thought this would not be fun. Fortunately from the 6 to the 10km mark there were moments of relieve, however that was short lived as the last 3km’s once again ramped up right through to the village. The weather was once again hot and all the squad worked really well to reach the top. As has been the case for entire trip the camaraderie has been great and all of us were greeted at the top with great encouragement. It was once again a great celebration!
The climb had a lot of atmosphere on the way up, as there were vans camped by the road in readiness for the final climb stage of the tour on Saturday. As usual the top was full of activity as we enjoy a cold drink, coffee and even indulged in some cycling retail therapy.
We then returned back down the climb and turned off at about 2/3 way down Alpe d'Huez at la Garde turnoff. Andy our tour logistic organiser lead us there and said it was a nice ride along a ridge of some sort. We had no idea what to expect. Initially we descended which meant at some stage we are going to have to start going up. Up again we did and steady 7 - 10%. The road was spectacular, narrow, alongside the cliffs with huge drop offs to the valley below. It was no place for someone with fear of heights. The views through the valley and down to Bourg were spectacular. We proceeded up the climb down into villages and continued on with some nasty hills to a small village La Freney for a nice outdoor lunch.
We finished lunch refilled water from a an adjoining nice cold drinking fountain and rolled predominantly downhill on the Les 2 Alpes road to the turnoff back to our village. The road back to the village of Venosc is a steady 8km climb. The road back up to Chalet is about 1km at 8 to 9 %. Just what you need after a long day climbing!
In summary a great first full day in the Alps which will set us up for many more throughout the week. My Garmin showed 1916 meters of ascended so another solid day!
DAY 9 (written by Marino Mustica – the birthday boy!)
Today we climbed the famous Col du Galibier... We approached the massive climb with a fair amount of trepidation due to its reputation as one off the most difficult climbs in the French alps! We rode off from the base of the Col Le Tele'graph, warm conditions had set in early and we were immediately confronted with a 9% gradient, Tim, Rob, Steve W and Steve K immediately pulled away and by the half way point had built up quite a considerable gap, SK sensing my anguish dropped back to pull me up, and not a moment too soon, not only was I grateful for the gesture but having someone sing happy birthday to you on the remaining switchbacks made the climb somewhat more pleasant, Col Le Tele'graph was finished, now with a three kilometre decent down to the base of the Galibier.
The first 4 kilometres are on average 6-7%, but that's where things quickly change, in an instant you are confronted with a road that immediately jumps to 14% gradient, your heart rate lifts some twenty to thirty beats in a matter of moments and that's where it stays for over 2 hours of intense climbing, the gradients were changing every Kilometre and it was relentless, that's the beauty of the Galibier, it levels out momentarily and gives you a false sense of flatness and before you've caught your breath back the climb has once again intensified, luckily by this stage I had found my rhythm, Rob and Tim had what can only be described as great legs, and had pulled away, I had both Steven K and Steve W on my rear wheel and we were all involved in a game of 'cat and mouse', no one willing to concede an inch... everyone taking turns up front and nobody looking like slowing, with Rob and Tim already at the summit the three off us were rounding the final few kilometres, the air was quite thin due to the high altitude and our legs were hurting, there wasn't a nutrition bar or gel amongst us, and it was now just a matter of finishing, the thirty five degree temperature wasn't helping and with drink bottles low we had no choice we powered ahead and crossed the finish line together. Climb completed.
DAY 10 (written by Tim Hazell)
Today was a planned rest day, no big climbs today, which was the legs (and back side) appreciated. We went out for a great ride up through the valley to St Chrispho. The afternoon was spent having a look around the village, Vensoc. Storms were threating all afternoon to come in, so we decided to have an early dinner in the village and watch Anchorman. A good chance for an early night, plenty more big days to come.
DAY 11 (written by Tim Hazell)
Today was going to be tough, because of the storms the roads had been damaged (lot’s of debris on the ground), so we headed up the road and caught the cable car over the mountain and descended down Les 2 Alpes, which was a very quick descend. We decided to head back up Alpe d’Huez again, as a group because Steve Worsley wanted to film it on his Go Pro. The TDF race was due to come through in 48 hours, the place was pumping. People outside their camper vans, drinking, dancing and enjoying all the festivity this exciting road race brings, I can’t wait to see the footage.
Rob was again demanding us to take photos of him. Marino was up to his old tricks playing jokes on everyone. Stevie K had his game face on again - this man is unstoppable, when he cracks a joke we all have to laugh. If we crank him up, he cracks the shits… it’s the way the tour worked. Fair to say Stevey Worsley was doing justice to his facial muscles, we couldn’t wipe his smile.
The afternoon had us riding back to our chalet for 30 min massages, which we all needed. A BBQ was prepared overlooking the mountains while we enjoyed a nice Pinot and reflected on what again, was a great day!
DAY 12 (written by Tim Hazell)
Headed up to Allenont for a coffee and cookie, roughly 20km’s before climbing up Villard Reculas, which was a tough 11k climb. At the top we stopped at Pas de la Confession and could look down Alpe d’Heuz and see about 11 of the 21 hairpin switchbacks. Amazing!!! We rolled back to Alpe d’Heuz and soaked up the atmosphere, the TDF was coming our way tomorrow.
Then we headed up Les Deux Alpes via the forest road, which was a really challenging end to the day…15km’s up and we made it to the ski village for some well deserved hamburgers, beers and crepes (this treat was discussed at breakfast, so we were excited for it.)
After a few hours we jumped on the cable car and headed back to Venosc.
What another ripping day had in the Alpes with a cracking crew.
DAY 13 (written but Tim Hazell)
It was to be our last ride, and we had mixed emotions about it. Our legs were tired, but we were craving more. We headed down to the main village for a quick coffee, which was pumping – its tour day and the TDF was coming past our doorstep. Picture AFL GF morning and that’s what the villages are like everyday. We took in the vibe and then headed out for our last climb – Col d’Ornon (1615m). Again it was tough, but the winding roads and picturesque scenes were breathtaking. A couple of hours later and we were at the top, Stevie K and Marino had headed back to Paris so it was just me, Rob and Steve Worsley. We were pumped! Another climb ticked and we were feeling amazing. We headed back to village, which was a 40k ride (more hills), we made it back safely and hugged it out (weird feeling doing that in lyrca). Showers and a quick feed and we headed back down to the main village with Andy to get involved with the TDF. We situated ourselves in this great little café right on the corner before the pros attack Alpe d’Heuz. We had burgers, beers and a tv, we were set. Around 4.13pm they came past and they all attention was on the TV watching them smash out the famous Alpe d’Heuz.. We had ridden up this twice so it was pretty amazing watching them do it. Chris Froome had a gusty ride, which assured him to win the 2015 TDF.
We headed home for our last night in the Alpes, packed our bikes and bags before settling in to dinner, a few last drinks with our hosts and then bed.
Day 14 (written by Tim Hazell)
Last day of the TDF, we jumped on the train and headed to Paris to watch the final stage. They were predicting 1 million people to be standing along the final 107k leg cheering the riders to the finish line on the Champs-Elysees. We found a place a couple hundred meters from the finish and got amongst it. Picture AFL GF day times 10 – that’s what the crowd was like! What a great way to end the trip! We headed out the Band-C club for a well-deserved steak and beer.
DAY 15 (written by Tim Hazell)
A knock on the door from Stevie K at 6am saying lets go for a run before we headed off turned out to be another highlight. Apart from my legs being dead, we ran for 10 minutes before finding the Champs Elysees and running up and around the Arc de Triumph. What an awesome sight! We all had departing flights to different parts of the world – it was time to say our good byes…
We left saying Italy in 2 years is our next trip (more mountains and more km’s.. but if its going to be anything like this trip – I’m in)
FUN FACTS: (Tim Hazell)
3 x flats (all me)
Lyrca – daily for 14 days (didn’t wash any of my 3 sets)
Coffees (at least 3 a day)
Drivers V Riders – the 1.5m rule in France is amazing, (take note Australia)
Red wine – daily
Beers - daily
Cycling ethics - riding on the other side of the road was weird
Average day of food:
Breakfast – bowl of cereal, 2 pieces of toast, fruit, coffee and some hydration drink
Snack – coffee, muffins and energy bar
Lunch – hamburger, soft drink (or soda water) and bread
Snack – coffee, some sort of pastry, water and a bar (or some fruit)
Pre dinner drinks – beers or red wine
Entrée – some sort of cheese, soup or salad
Dinner – chicken or lamb, veggies, cous cous (or pasta), bread
Desert – ice cream, apple pie (or something I wouldn’t eat at home)
The food was amazing – although we ate a lot we did ride around 5 – 6 hours of cycling everyday and we have needed every bit of it..
The ProSport team:
Steve ‘Muchacho’ Kastrinakis
The best thing about Steve is he continues to get the best out of himself. Every time we needed to dig deep and ride harder he was the one to step up and take the lead. A great team player on and off the bike – well done on great two weeks SK, also, great effort smashing out Vantoux twice.
Steve ‘Diesel’ Worsley
The boy from Tassie (I cant talk) Had a permitted smile on his face the whole time. The nickname came from the way he rode – he was our diesel truck that kept going – he never once gave up which shows what kind of character he is. He was also a pretty good roommate. Well-done mate – great trip!
Rob ‘Grange’ Ball
Grange means ‘getting better every day’, that’s exactly what Rob bought to the table (that included his jokes as well) Was BOG the day we climbed Col du Galibier. Was a great addition to the team on and off the bike. Also was awarded most photogenic for the trip (knew exactly where the camera was at all times – priceless)
Marino ‘Le Shark’ Mustica
MM was our surprise rider on day. Everyone except his old buddy SK knew he was coming. Was badly injured in March this year, the way you have bounced back has been amazing mate. So glad you came and enjoyed the trip with us. The nickname LeShark came from the chase you put on SK up Vantoux (you were so close). Thanks for all the laughs mate.
Tim ‘The Kid’ Hazell – me
I was the youngest on the trip hence the nickname. Apart from getting picked on everyday I had a ball. What an amazing trip filled with so many highlight’s. Out of all the trips I’ve been on – this one sits right up the top.
Andy ‘Tour guy and mate’ Willis
What a tour guy you were. Full of energy and knowledge, thanks for all the hard work you put in for us AW. Next time, you are to put a 20kg weight plate in your backpack so we can keep up with you. Thank you
Karen ‘Phar lap’ Willis
This nickname was given to you when I met you 10 years ago.. You have a huge heart KW – thanks for coming and being apart of trip.. The photos you took were amazing, thank you. We look forward to seeing you at the next Bali Bootcamp.
Steve, Cathy, Buzz, Helen, Liz, Kirsten and Leigh
Thanks guys for all the support over the past 2 weeks.. The moments we all shared with you guys were terrific. Thank you for everything.
That’s it!! TDF 2015, over and out. If you love cycling, country side, red wine, cheese, laughing and mountains. This trip is for you. It’s been an unbelievable 2 weeks. Thanks everyone for following us – we all really appreciated the messages along the way.
As Andy always said – Carpe Diem (seize the day) that’s exactly what we did!