Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Info Scout Activity

Since 9th Dec I have enjoyed a variety of skiing conditions . The first days were in limited areas since the snow available was manmade the result of the snow cannons which were able to operate when the temperature was cold enough .
Eventually the real snow arrived and the photo is of some tracks I made early Sunday morning whilst only a few snowboards were about and able to chop up the scene . Since the 17th December there have been a few more snowy nights but with the temperature being above zero the resulting snow has produced wet powder which takes great effort to get through . Memories of Utah Champagne Powder conditions on my visit in 1993 leaves me frustrated and hoping that eventually a day will come when I get amongst Powder snow that is worth the effort . Photo of 3 Para Skiers who chose to visit Mayrhofen with their friends , their annual visits have been jeopardised by the story related elsewhere .
Those of you that are with Facebook would do well to publish that story on your wall . My request for you to do so OR “ unfriend ” me appears at present to have fallen on deaf ears ! New year resolutions are difficult to keep but you can be sure that I am intent on succeeding ! Saddened to hear that the Northern Territory of Oz is suffering flooding once more , hopefully the series of disasters from early 2011 will not be repeated this year . Am surprised to see little coverage of the Sydney -Hobart yacht race to date but saw some photos of the stormy weather around the Sydney Eastern beaches .

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Facebook friend showed a fundraising photo recently and did not respond to my request for info on the current status of Karen with whom I had exchanged some emails as a result of her visit to the TDU last January . Those of you that visited my blog about that time will have seen those posts that many viewed . Personally I hate seeing smokers and their attitude towards others that do not smoke . As early as 1967 I remember tossing a party goer out of my house as he stepped on a cigarette butt on the carpet ! Could be that he had meant to toss it into the fire but was too lazy to pick it up . As an Aussie I am only too aware of the annual death toll in Bush fires as a result of the “ careless disposal of cigarette butts ” but even in the city the butt is tossed into private property due to insensitivity or a “ superior attitude that smokers have towards non smokers ! Could they think they are so much more because they choose to burn their money ? In 1966 I had the opportunity to smoke tax free on the Fairstar as I was sailing to Oz but chose that time to STOP ! All at some time suffer the temptation to sample smoking and giving up smoking or resisting “ Peer pressure” at a young age is a sign of maturity . Regrettably the majority of the world has only awoken to the dangers of passive smoking in recent years . So many by-standers have lost their life through the efforts of others ! Nobody intends to harm others when they smoke but research has shown that smoking effects ALL ! In my final years in Sydney I reached the stage where I did not date Ladies who smoked regardless of their attraction , who wants to kiss an ashtray ? Regardless of a person’s cleanliness smoke gets into the skin and elsewhere so no matter how much breathe freshener is used the taste lingers . Used to be the case where you arrived home from a night out and had to leave your clothes on the balcony to get rid of the smoke , occasionally you would wake in the morning with a headache from the effects of the smoke at the event . Thankfully this is no longer the case for me ! Here in Austria if you smoke in a Taxi you will pay a 100 Euro penalty , the driver or their Company/Employer will pay 1000 Euros for the first offence BUT subsequent convictions carry a 10000 Euros penalty ! Can remember the days I drove a cab and the passenger would insist on the windows being closed as they smoked to keep out the cold , as the driver you were bound by the Taxi Council Code to comply with the passengers wishes . Reg Kommode would have a lot to answer for theses days . YES you read it right Ten Thousand Euros Penalty for allowing others to risk their health ! Karen was a Non Smoker all her life and paid the price for others thoughtless behaviour ! Below is my email to Karen’s email address : From: Skippy McCarthy Sent: Wednesday, 7 December 2011 9:23 PM To: karen ridehardtobreatheeasy Subject: REPLY 7/12/11: REPLY 1/03/2011: checkout www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com Saw a Leongatha Fund raise item and wondered how you are faring ? Reply received today : “ Skippy, I am replying on behalf of my wife Karen because unfortunately she lost her battle with cancer in September. We are about to kick her website back into life and have a committee set up to run it so things will start to move in the future. She was an amazing women with a bucketload of spirit and we all miss her but will continue what she started to honour her memory. Regards, Steve Link to my Blog entries : www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com/Courageinthefaceoflungcancer!!revisited Karen lived life to the full and inspired many ! R I P Karen


Two years in a row the Tennessee County of Obion’s Fire Fighters have arrived on the scene of a fire and because the family did not pay a $US75 annual fee let their property burn ! Standing by displaying the resources they Could be using sends a message that is chilling to ALL ! Are the bean counters to pathetic that they allow the equipment to be used ONLY after they have checked their records to see if the unfortunate have paid the annual subscription ? Or was the Fire deliberately set because the unfortunates had refused to subscribe and thus these people were chosen to make an example and encourage others to meet their demands ? Getting a fire unit and the personnel to the scene of a Fire costs money and resources BUT to then sit on their hands and allow the people’s property to be consumed by fire shows the most selfish and heartless attitude . That the mayor of that area is “ Just Fine ” with these “ Adults ” behaving in this despicable manner sends a message far different than that intended ! Those living in or near this community must be disgusted by these actions and wonder if they will become the subject of this pathetic behaviour if they find themselves financially embarrassed in the future . One wonders if these firefighters attend any of the local churches and how their fellow worshippers feel about welcoming them at thses services ? Anywhere else in the world the firefighters would risk life and limb to save Life and Property and worry about “ membership dues ” after the event ! Normally those that join the Emergency services are a special kind of person , caring for their neighbours and dedicated to doing the best job they can . In many places that I have lived these Firefighters are Voluntary and thus give up their free time to train and leave their “ workplace ” when called out to attend any emergency where their skills can be used . Normally Fires and Road accidents are their province of operation but climbing trees to save cats and even waterborne events are some of the occasions of which one reads . About this time of year you will find many events in Austria which the Firefighters attend that prove to be fundraising efforts for additional equipment . So many of the “Oktoberfests ” have entry fees levied by the local volunteer ( willigend ) “ Feurwehr Personnel ” and there will usually be a refreshment service serving food and drink also run by them . AS Australia enters another “ Bush Fire Season ” there will be events caused by both those callous and thoughtless , that will result in destruction of property and even life . Many families will lose property and homes maybe even loved ones BUT you will hear of stories where neighbours have risked their own homes to go to the aid of other neighbours’ property . Could any Aussie imagine the situation that has taken place TWICE in this Tennessee County . International news reports frequently on Worldwide disasters that see “ Firefighters and Other Emergency Service personnel ” catching early flights to the disaster zone ! Some of these are Professional Rescue people on standby but frequently they are Volunteers travelling at their OWN Expense to assist “ Those in Need ” ! These fine examples of Humanity would even turn out to help those in Tennessee if they saw those in need to their help . SouthWestern Mexico has just been hit with an earthquake and there is a Drug War in progress there making it an extremely dangerous situation but this “ Band of Brothers ” will put OTHERS needs before their own safety ! One of the Events that I hear of from time to time are the “ FireFighter’s Games ” which are attended by Fire Services from all over the world . I remember the day I went riding with Richard Virenque the Monday after he rode to victory on the Mont Ventoux . I was staying in the Avignon Hostel and met a fellow Aussie who seeing me in my cycling uniform started a conversation that led to him telling me of the “ Firefighters Games ” that he had just attended . Being a keen cyclist he was interested in my exploits and had he not been heading off for his flight back to Oz would have unpacked his bike . Those in the Fire fighting Community both Professional and Volunteer should take a look at this story : http://thinkprogress.org/special/2011/12/06/383580/tennesee-fire-fighters-family-home-burn/ And get together and send a message that excludes them from participation in ANY Event that they hold because these “ peasants ” are unworthy of being treated with any respect . No person that fails to render assistance to another would be happy with themselves for their cowardly actions but to sit by and enjoy others distress when you have brought the means of assistance to the disaster scene is beyond contempt !

Saturday, November 26, 2011


George Christensen rides the world as www.georgethecyclist.blogspot.com and I refer to him in my Blog posts as Georgethecyclist ! Reading of his recent exploits I found in the comments that he also is on “ face book ” so having the page constantly open I inserted his name in the “ search window “ and came up with the picture of him with “ El Diablo ” now it was clear that this was him . When I clicked onto the option “ Friend ” I found that I was told that I was “ Spamming” and I was suspended for 48hrs ! Another occasion comes to mind when I clicked on “ Jani Brankovich ” having ridden with him on many occasion at a variety of Pro Tour events it is quite conceivable that he has told “ face book” to refuse my application ! Does anyone believe that ? No way ! Fact is “ Facebook ” when I had less than 100 followers was of no value to me and at 2300 + it still provides me with NOTHING ! OK so occasionally I see a photo that I can use or an article that I will visit , but essentially face book is a waste of MB’s and I will now tell you WHY ! As people “ Request ” and you confirm there are usually 4 friends offered which I click on thinking that this could help my purpose to “ Help ” Para Athletes ! In June I wanted to give away some Tyres to “ Para Athletes “ and so ran a competition with some inner tubes going to the winning proposer as an incentive . Nobody complied with the request although about a dozen clicked onto the post . After my birthday greetings from about a hundred of the “ friends ” I put up a post as a way of thanking those that did this and referred them back to the Competition post . Several took a look and nobody commented . Mark Telford’s photo caught my attention in the earlier times and like other “ Wheelchair ” Athletes I clicked on the “ Request ”button . Later after the failure to get a response to the “ Comp. ” I sent him a message asking for his assessment . Still awaiting a reply ! Now if those I am trying to assist are uninterested in helping their community , WHY should I bother ? Facebook has given me a “ WAKE UP “ call and so I will find better ways of spending my resources from here on . Those who wish to follow my future activities can follow @Skippydetour on twitter or can sign on or bookmark my Blogs which probably will be canned also . No doubt there are some who will wish to add their comment privately on email : Skippi@ausi.com NOBODY is going to be able to tell “ face book ” that they make mistakes BUT do I care ? NO !

Sunday, October 9, 2011


@PremierMikeRann’s tweet about Gough Whitlam triggered memories of the events of Nov 11th 1975 when Gough’s Government was sacked by Sir John Kerr , the then Governor General who was the Queen‘Representative in Australia ! At that time I was working for NCR in North Sydney and being driven north on the “ CoatHanger ” by one of my bosses after a meeting in the city . Just before midday the “ Breaking News ” announced the outcome of Gough’s meeting that morning at Government House in Canberra and of course there was the recording of his voice saying “ God Save the Queen because nothing will save the Governor General ” Naturally the Media went ballistic and even more so when Malcolm Fraser was asked to take over in interim Government whilst the House of Representatives was sent to the country in preparation for a general election . The Coalition of Liberals and Country Party went on to win the Election thus returning the country to Conservative Government and some would say stability . Later Bob Hawke would be elected leader of the Labour Party but that is a story for another time and place . In other blogs I have mentioned meeting Billy Mc Mahon on the Squash court in the late 60’s whilst he was treasurer in John Gorton’s cabinet . The guy I was waiting to play squash with was together with his brother the founders of a Rubbish Compacting business called “ Big Foot ” . Harvey was kind enough to loan me his Ben Lexen designed yacht , “ Big Foot ” , moored in Rose Bay on the Sydney Harbour during the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic period . Harvey sailed from Sydney with others to Scandinavia some years later , he advised that he was arriving but after several weeks of travelling around arrived in Brighton , UK whilst I was tied up with a tour in the North of England . I only discovered the day he was to fly out how short his visit was to be . His step daughter was living in Brighton at that time so of course family comes first and since returning to Sydney he has retired and moved down the South Coast to his farm . Regretfully I have lost contact as emails to his family seem to have failed either to reach him or he like another friend , that I remain in touch with by occasional phone call has no internet access . Brian Brown was the veritable personification of “ Mr NCR ” and I had the pleasure of being entertained and welcomed by his family on many occasions through the years . It was always a pleasure to welcome him and his wife into my homes over the years . Lately Dee has been the victim of Cancer so their retirement in Scone has not been as happy as they could have wished . Those remembering the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games will recall the Quarter Horses which Brian together with his committee were responsible for supplying . Somewhere in my Computer photo records I have kept copies of that event and having turned over every stone I am still unable to locate them to liven up this post . Brian like myself has made investments for retirement that failed to return the success that was hoped for . In the mid seventies he worked as Chairman for the Liberal Premier of New South Wales and would occasionally get the “ nod ” from mates about Shares that were likely to go for a run . Most likely whoever was passing the info had already taken a position and left the “ herd ” to make them richer ! From these flutters I got the “ Share trading Bug ” for a decade or so and did quite well as the market moved higher but I guess in the long term I could have been much wiser to follow other investment avenues and opportunities . Looking back over the years I recall many people that I wish I was still in touch with , but when Guys marry you are dealing with a new situation , and the new partnership comes first , which can mean that those friends that you enjoyed being “ Jack the Lad ” with , will not risk trawling over memories of “ Single life in the City ” . The Sixties had a certain reputation and Sydney , Melbourne and Perth were right up there as places to be single . Recent times I tried renewing contact with a fellow socialiser from the mid 60’s , now a retired solicitor that had just returned from a European trip . So far he has not found the time to put me in touch with the other member of our occasional Friday night social group of those times . The Peter G. I was seeking out was a barrister not the Doctor recently honoured in Oz . Not being interested in Cycling or Cycle Races until 1998 meant that most of my time in Oz was such that living in the shadow of Camperdown Velodrome for several years , I was unaware of the Sport and those participating . Occasionally people say to me “ you must know…” and regrettably unless I have met them here in Europe I am at a loss as to their input to the cycling world . Having stated a desire to ride Perth to Sydney and thence Adelaide for the Tour Down Under should I find the backing , I am yet to hear from anyone offering any kind of encouragement or even support . I have most of the equipment and the fitness level needed but financially the project would require support and would attract huge publicity for the Organisation being promoted . Whilst in Oz I was always happy to help fundraising for Legacy and enjoyed some success whilst working for NCR but that is a story for another time .

Monday, October 3, 2011


Moving around the European scene these past 15 years has meant that I have had to cut corners with my living expenses since there have been very few earning opportunities . Certainly in the winter months in past years I have worked as a Ski Instructor which as you may know is “ Basic Wage “ with the Ski Schools finding every which way to avoid paying you a living wage for any longer than it suits their purposes . Usually as a client you will pay the ski school an hourly fee or join a ski group class which in many cases for the beginner are led by a “ Student ” , recently having passed the “ two week training course” . Get lucky , you might get someone with an idea of what the beginner is suffering and is able to accommodate their needs and fears . You still pay the same hourly fee regardless of the competence of the instructor provided . No one likes complaining but when they do they perhaps get a change of class or instructor but rarely a refund ! With riding the “ Pro Tour Cycle Races ” I would put all my possessions in storage in March or April of each year and head off with a two kilo sack sitting on the tri bars of the bike ! Yes , that’s right a sack I was given at the 2001 Vuelta , and still use sits in my room fully loaded for the next outing . In 1998 when I first did the Tour de France I was supposed to be travelling with a camper Van but the owner broke down in Pau and expected me to pedal back to the van and give up the TDF because he did some faulty work on the wheel bearings before leaving the UK ! Apparently just replacing the outside bearings was good enough for him , but it was not good enough for the full trip . Suffice to say I continued riding the TDF by buying a tooth brush and soap and other items on a daily basis . Caught up with this thief at has home in Sheffield , UK , with the Police in order to recover my possessions that he had claimed to have left in France . Had to give him money for the petrol used whilst not with the heap he called a camper but still did not get all my possessions , could not prove the missing items were ever in the camper . Since the season of 1999 I have relied on what the bike will carry in the bag on the hadle bars and if I got the odd lift from “ Ville Arrivee “ to “ Ville Depart ” it was by hitch hiking . So many of the Pro Tour Racers have seen me by the side of the road as they have been transported to their Hotel after the race has finished over the years that they must wonder how I survive when the weather turns foul . On the Giro d’Italia one year I was heading towards Rimini about 1900hrs and a team car passed heading south to their hotel . Well you can imagine the shouted conversation as they waited for the lights to change . Two hours later I found the YHA closed so eventually found another place for the night . Certainly there have been places where I have pitched up at a hotel that was accommodating a team or two , which has offered me cheaper prices for the accommodation than the price the teams were paying but even then I have had to eat elsewhere because the dining prices were beyond my budget . In the mountains there are many Hotels which have “ staff accom. ” for which I have negotiated a reduction , walk in a 4star hotel and find the staff rooms are one star , but I am not buying “ ambiance ” , just a bed for the night ! Whilst on the road until 2009 I would have only storage from March/ April until October each year and this suited me fine since getting back to any room / flat for a few days was just not worthwhile and filling in between the Giro Trentino and Giro d’Italia usually was easy enough and in the past there were several options available between the Tour de France and the Vuelta Espana . Madrid in” 2005 had the Vuelta finish and the World Road races follow on as an example . 2004 was a particularly busy year since I was at the Tour de France then in Athens for the Olympic Games and got talked into making a visit to the Vuelta before returning to the Paralympic Games . After the Tour de France of 2009 I suffered Pneumonia which caused the Embolisms to be discovered and so I have had to revise my accommodation situation and keep a room all year . The 2010 tours started with me using a car but I abandoned that car in Belgium at the start of the Tour de France from Rotterdam returning to collect it after Paris . Seemed like it was the best decision since there were so many problems with using the car this year . So many Etappes I had to drive the car down that day’s course and ride back to the Ville Depart , ride most of the course and then ride back to where the car was parked . In 2009 I had the car with drivers but in the last week one of the drivers left the car in Martigny and I discovered this when I finished that day’s Etappe in Bourg St Maurice , that meant another 180km via Albertville and Chamonix to arrive at 2200hrs and then drive it towards Grand Bornand so as to ride the next day’s Etappe . Luckily I still made the connection with Nico Sarkozy that night ! Next day was the Time trial in Annecy so there was a slight chance to recover with only riding about a metric ton that day .
Accommodation these days is as cheap as I can find and thus a “ shoe box ” with cooking facilities is the current situation . The two photos are views over thehouses to the west and over the garden to the south so on a fine day such as this morning i can't complain ! Beats living in the centre of a city looking at bricks and mortar ! Not speaking " dialect Austrian " makes communication difficult but since I am into fitness , with rides twice a day and the internet to amuse me at night , there is really not much I have in common with people who stagger around looking for a “ ciggie ” , as they swallow the next can of the local beverage that helps solve their problems . Lets say that not needing to have a girl friend in my life means that I don’t have to keep up appearances ! Over the years I have enjoyed being “ Jack the Lad ” and those who knew me as a Single in Sydney and London would be amazed with the “ Monk like ” existence I now lead . Guess it is the price I have to pay since there is no income these days and wine at a euro a litre mixed with soda water tastes almost as good as the St Honore , Chateau Tablik and other Aussie Wines I used to savour . Regrettably the only time I get a decent wine these days are when a Sponsor is kind enough to pass me a bottle to share with the Household who offer me accommodation during that particular day of the Cycle Tour .
Food for me is as varied as I can make it since I shop far and wide when out on my bike each day , it is simply a matter of picking up the 50% priced items which go in the fridge and get used as and when I get to them . Chicken Ratatouille is a favourite since a whole chicken can be stored in the fridge and mixed up with other dishes in the course of the week . Currently I will add cheese , Greek yogurt and a rice pudding to the main course and starter of Corn on the cob before coffee , cake and grapes later tonight . Beer is not something I drink often as it bulks up the waistline meaning more time on the bike to stay in the 80kg region with which I feel most comfortable . Past years I have had the rowing machine set up in the room but this shoebox has a balcony with mountain views but I can’t imagine using the rowing machine out there in the winter . Well all of the above is a far cry from the life I was leading in Sydney which during the early nineties included several years in Longueville with a rented five bed roomed house shared with others . Facilities included a Tennis court , swimming pool and lawns running down to the bay frontage where my 7m yacht was moored . Each day was up at 5.30 to go swimming summer and winter , over the “ Coat Hanger before 7.15 or otherwise it would be a parking station situation and return to the house several afternoons each week to either play Tennis or go sailing out into the harbour . Wind would generally dictate choice unless a tennis game was already organised . Who can say what is the best lifestyle but at least with the bike I do not have to rely on others to get on with enjoying the available time . When using a larger Yacht than I had you would invariably have to rely on others as you would with Tennis , so whilst I have fond memories of those times , I am content with my current situation .

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM ! Missed the Presentation !

Saturday at the World Masters Cycling Federation Event was a disaster after the earlier fine weather of the week ! Last year also followed the same pattern of warm sunny conditions until the last day when temperatures plummeted and the rain lashed St Johann in Tyrol . This was the day of the " Elite Racers " and thus those taking part were mostly prepared for rain but not for the near freezing conditions at about 800m . Going uphill was not so bad but the descents were reported as abomnible . When the weather cleared after the race , wouldn't you believe there was a glimmer of sun and snow on the mountains down to about 1100m although no depth and gone in the morning ! Franz from Perth , WA arrived back at the " Permanence " expecting to find the masseur so as to warm up . Instead he found me , and because of Hyperthermia setting in he was on the point of collapse . Holding onto a pillar after he had stripped i rubbed him down to get him dry and get the blood circulating once again . Dressed in dry gear i drove him back to his pension and arranged to meet later . All was OK at 2000hrs except the Organisation called a delay of 15 mins so we went for a Hot Chocolate and wandered back . As we neared the Festivities Franz spotted the winner strolling down the street carrying his trophy , you guessed it , the expected order was overturned and because the crowd was disgruntled there was a game of catch up .
Franz had phoned his Mum that morning to wish her a " Happy 70th Birthday " and promised a trophy as her present . Just that thought alone had kept him in the race despite the dire conditions . He had finished 6th which was within the placings he had aimed to achieve . When we reached the stage area the presentation was starting into the next grouping so Franz went back stage to arrange matters . After the presentations had finished we were able to stage our own as you can see from the photos .

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


COuld this be one of the "Mindless thugs" running riot in LOndon ? http://twitpic.com/63g82n/full WELL you mug , what are you going to do with the TV in the cell that is reserved for you ? Some of the " Looters " obviously do not think or consider the result of their behaviour . The following item shows that a child will be with it's Grandmother whilst the culprit enjoys her visit to a " Holiday Camp " : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8692448/London-riots-daughter-filmed-looting-trainers-has-shamed-us-says-mother.html This item is despicable : http://twitpic.com/63lcjg he deserves to be in a padded cell or alone in the Falklands breaking rocks ! On a more positive note , this item explores some of the reasons for what is happening in London : http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-london.html Another opinion blogged by an Aussie who lived in London for 6 years but now in Australia : http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/08/10/kernot-the-bleakness-of-contemporary-britain/

Thursday, July 14, 2011


NOT AGAIN ! The road of the TDF is blockaded by the "spivs" as i arrive in " La Barthe " heading south for the Tourmalet . Getting past the queue i called into the first bar and they obliged by calling "17" for the Gendarmerie ! Told to call back the patron gave me a coffee then went back to work on his preparations but promised to call once again after 9am !

Taking the route to Bagnoles i found another gang wearing a semblence of " Accreditation and flouricent jackets standing in the middle of the road . It is " organised crime " as the next village a repeat performance and finally in Capvern the round point was blocaded so that i took the first available exit which took me away from my planned route to Tournay .

At the Piege i explained all and then having explained all to a variety of people and then i was asked to drive to the Gendarmerie at Tarbes West . By the time i explained all to the english speaking " Major " it was nearly 10am and as far as i know nothing has been done to apprehend these " vermin " !

LOst the chance to ride the Tourmalet once again so will follow the " dog collar route " to the last " HC " climb of today !

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cadel beats Contador once again !

Thankfully Cadel did not take the " Maillot Jeune " today ! Whilst i am glad to see Cadel doing well i am pleased that the TEAM do not carry the burden of defending the Yellow so early in this Campaign !

Being the leader so many times in past years and the team working their heart out only to lose must be dispiriting for the other team members . There will be many more opportunities in the last week of the TDF and the team are in better shape than the Garmin guys will be from all their efforts .

Wearing the " Maillot Jeune " in Paris is the only result that counts for the record books ! Can most people remember who came second to Lance each of the Seven years or even on one occasion ?

Friday, July 8, 2011


The TDF caters to all and today i came across a newly wed couple out of Randwick , Sydney , Australia . Hopefully they follow my advice and watch the big screen then move down to the team pullmans before the racers pass thus getting an up close look at the Aussies as they saunter to their team pullman , perhaps showing the Oz flag may result in a bidon or even a chat ; been there , done that !

Maybe it's me but i don't seem to see as many Aussies this year , perhaps those i give the "google "skippydetour " will leave a comment and let me know .

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cadel holds off Contador for the WIN !

All day the pundits were predicting a clash between Cadel and Gilbert but it became a " cat and mouse " episode where Contador tried repeatedly to slip through on the line but failed as Cadel threw his bike more strongly than "el pistolero" !

Never learnt how this throwing the bike on the line is done but then i don't race so never had the need , but it is a skill that was needed today . Cadel at 20km had a problem which meant a change of bike but my french was not good enough to follow the explanation and as 3 or 4 of the team waited to pace Cadel back into the Peloton we saw the spectacle of two of his team struggling to catch him because of his determination to get back into the fray .

Cyclingnews pointed out that Cadel's chain became an issue and so with the change of bike causing a lot of extra effort to get back to the front of the race it shows how powerful and assertive Cadel has become ! Looks like he will be initiating attacks at this year's tour instead of responding to others efforts .

Turned out to be a clear day at the " Arrivee "but i was fortunate to find a bar as the racers passed through 30km and the screen was about 10ft by 6ft and funnily enough i was the sole patron so i was able to see detail that usually is lost on the smaller screen . The numbers on the " Mur " looked a lot less than i had anticipated so there were many others like myself enjoying the action in front of a TV .

Evening is falling and the sun is out so it should bev a nice day tomorrow even though the prediction is changeable weather . With luck i will find a campsite that is dry by the time the tent goes up .

Friday, July 1, 2011

Presentation of Teams

Cadel refers to Lucien in the middle of us , as his No 1 fan .

Chris Horner enjoys meeting fans and was in good spirits after the performance in the Roman Circus scenario .

Rolf Aldag and Eric Zabel contribute to the success of KIng Cav and the troops .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sheep Shearing

Dumb , Dumber and totally lazy that i did not think to take photos in the shearing shed on the farm with the Camping Barn i stayed at last night .

WELL after this post i headed out of Ashbourne and found my way back to the shearing shed where i got 3 photos before the battery gave out ! All the while the weather was gloomy but cheered by meeting up with a Melbourne-ite cyclist , Oliver , who happens to be back in the UK for an Engineering course . Luckily for me he was in no hurry as the wind in the face drags uphill were easier for him , i on the other hand am running short on desire to explode up these short sharp gradients .

My thanks to the staff at Ashbourne Library for their help in finding the weay to load these photos during the p[asst two days .

Each county library has it's own system so i will probably be in the same difficult situation next time i want to illustrate a blog posting . At sopme time in the future i will turn the photos but that is a trick to be learnt .

Uploading the photos has robbed me of the best parts of the day but time marches on and so i can only hope that when i ride past they will let me have a go on the gun as i recall a skill aquired in my 20's in Oz .

Recently i was Walking the dales with some friends and the photos are from the area of Bollington south of Manchester.

The lady in the white T shirt is my younger sister and her husband was celebrating the 55th birthday .

Anyone who enjoys tapas can add "The Bulls Head" of Bollington to their food destinations .

Saturday, June 18, 2011


WEDNESDAY at Hutwill was a warm and sunny day and i had the chance to catch up with the Tour de Suisse racers on the start line .

Photos of some of the racers attached now that i am on a Computer that works .

Note the photo of Cunego which has come out backwards/mirror image ! How do i solve this , please advise ?

Interestingly to me was Cav's comment that he and Gossy had taken a look at my blogs but other than a reply of "interesting" i am unsure of their real views , so asked them to post a comment . Asked "king cav" to put me up on Twitter as one he follows but his reply was " contractual requirements,etc!"

Will post him a link to this post as whilst joshing around and having taken the photos i said i expected him to win that day and the photos would be uploaded . Some wag suggested thast if he didn't win i should use the photos for darts ! Can't do it here without the host's wall getting damaged so that idea is a non starter

When i got down the course past Frick i watched the peloton pass and collected a Team LeOpard water bottle as i took video of the racers passing .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

GiRO 2011 musings

Matt Lloyd , Aussie talent extraordinaire is not at the Giro which is greatly disappointing for me since today he would have shone brightly as he did last year to win the Mountain Jersey .

Getting hit by two cars is not a career enhancing choice and that Lotto did not support him is to their detriment .

Link here for the Cyclingnews article .

Decided that the journey south from Orvieto was pointless with such long transfers and as i watched the action the past days on TV i recognised many towns and vistas that i have travelled past in previous Giros . Approached by a young lady in Orvieto asking after Richie Porte in English reminded me that i had met up with a bunch of Aussies in Rapallo finish area where i was reluctant to voice my concerns about the Boco crash .

In my 20's i used to take ocean voyages with the possibility of a romance or two along the way as a bonus , seems that the Cycle Tour of Europe now fills that function . Amongst those i spoke with were guys and gals from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney . .No doubt with eyes wide open they will see that their next visits will be far less expensive when they club together to arrange their own facilities via the internet . As singles there are many disadvantages that an organised trip will overcome provided you do not have to hang around to long or too often for those that stretch the envelope

As i write this blog i am hearing a wierd mix of news on the radio with it being the Israely Founding Anniversary and the IMF chief in strife and watching the Eurosport timeline of the day's racing up Mt Etna . Curiously my comment of over an hour ago has not been published . Doubt they want a prediction that Contador will try not to put the Maglia Rosa on today .

RAI TV has just started so with that being the case "See you later"!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


AUSTRALIANS were dominant in Tennis until people decided that they could build on their tennis courts . What happened then was a steady decline to the point where a Swiss and Spaniard own Men’s Tennis and a Dane or Russian currently dominate the women’s rankings . Some like Sam and Leyton try to compete for the podium but following them there is a lack of talent unlike the years when Newcombe and Court were household names .

Early 90’s I was fortunate to share a rental property in Longueville , one of Sydney’s Northern suburbs which had it’s own tennis court . Squash had been my game in earlier years and I had played at a variety of venues and occasionally joined others as they warmed up whilst awaiting their partner’s arrival . One such occasion I found myself on court at the Bellevue Hill courts with Billy Mc Mahon who was quite a bit older than me but dominated the court with his talent . No I didn’t get to meet Sonya or an autograph as he was just another bloke playing his sport as Aussies tend to do . Thus with a tennis court I learned the measurements of the court and set about bringing the surface back to a condition where some were able to play competitively . Along the way my game improved but after 18 months the property was sold and 3 Villa style houses now stand there with their play pools and the owner pocketed a profit from their investment .

Robbie Mc Ewen tweeted
( @Mcewenrobbie "Help save a "grass roots" cycling facility in Sydney. www.cyclingnews.com/news/a-century-of-australian-cycling-history-under-threat )
about Hurstville Velodrome today as the Local Council is attempting to destroy one of Australia’s Sporting Venues . . Anyone in Cycling worldwide will tell you that they know the importance of the Hurstville Velodrome in Australia’s Cycling Heritage . One of it’s earlier users became so famous that the 2000 Sydney Olympic Velodrome is named for him . Can you imagine where the youngsters of that area are going to go to entertain themselves if that source of endeavour is removed ? Too often we hear Youth complain of “nothing to do” as they stand on street corners . Fact is Cycling is a minority sport in the mind of too many including the media who compete with one another to score a junket trip to the Tour de France or the Olympics but overlook attending local or Paralympic Events as of no interest to them and thus their audience did not see or hear of the event‘s participants or results .

Councillors always have their constituents best interests at heart or that is why you the electorate vote for them ? Who is kidding who ? Compulsory voting means we ALL vote for the best of the worst , hoping that things will not get any worse ! Right ? Not being a voter living in the area or paying the taxes that the council are responsible for distributing I have little right to add my voice to the decisions being made BUT are we not ALL Australians and in times of need , pull together for the benefit of the country let alone the neighbourhood ? Look at the recent floods in Queensland if you doubt that Aussies are willing to help each other overcome adversity . TOGETHER we the Aussie public can overturn this proposed vandalism .

Being an Expat Aussie in Europe I make it my business to get to as many ProCycle Events as my limited resources allow . Meeting and greeting Aussie Racers at these events I learn a little of what is going on in the Cycling Sport back home and some of these racers think of me with disdain particularly when their team colleagues pull their leg . El Diablo jumps about on the side of the road attracting publicity for his sponsor “LUK” but I pedal about the whole route and get to meet and greet some amazing people WHO I ask to do more for “Para Sport” ! Varese was where I met a Councillor from Geelong who was there to see that the World Road Race Championships who go to Geelong in 2009 and whether he listened to my request that he support Para Athletes being invited to compete in front of that Event’s audience I cannot say , Embolisms kept me in Europe .

London’s 1948 Velodrome was treated to just the same neglect and until recently was in danger of disappearing through the Self Interest of the owners , Dulwich College !

Temporarily the College has granted a 15 year extention of the lease and with some luck the track can be put in order to allow it to be used for training for next years’ Olympic & Paralympic events ! Many years of effort went into saving this venue and it was a “one minute before midnight” outcome !

CAN WE please work on making “Hurstville Velodrome” safe before the proposal to demolish becomes FACT ? Plans are one thing , but overturning a decision becomes another matter ! Once a plan is approved , “Vested Interests” have something to lose and thus something to fight to preserve .
As I get around Europe I see local councils proving facilities for their electorate and it does not come as a surprise to see the Velodrome of Cles in the Non Valley Italy is state of the art . Maurizio Fondriest is resident nearby and he was the World Road Race Champion in 1989 as well as victor in many other Cycle Events .

So many other venues come about because of Sporting Success around the world and lately Australians have been dominant in Aerial Skiing so the Queensland Government together with others have planned to build a new centre of Excellence so that our aspiring athletes can train ! Could not the NSW Government combine with others to renovate Hurstville Velodrome so that it becomes World Class and a destination for World Events as well as the youth setting out to participate in the Cycling Sport .

Email address for the Hurstville Mayor : psansom@hurstville.nsw.gov.au


Thursday, February 17, 2011


AUTOMATIC FLOOD COVER is part of the Suncorp policy and that message was sent out Loud & Clear at a conference today by CEO Patrick Snowball !

People retired to Queensland whilst i worked in Sydney for the relaxed way of life and weather. Lots heard of the weather extremes but rarely would it have registered to the extent that anyone refused to buy a property because of the flood contingency.

Too often Real Estate Agents knew of the possible risks but would have fudged the facts so as not to lose the sale. Those days it was rare to live in a property for more than a few years since all but the retired were upwardly mobile. Newcomers to the property market would before this year give little thought to Flooding and the possible outcomes thus reading the "House Insurance Policies" closely would have given no warning of what has now been an onerous burden to many. "Live now, pay later" is a marketing ploy many retailers use, so there are many Flood victims with possessions, part paid, but destroyed by the flooding . Receiving Government assistance welcome or not goes very little of the pay to meeting the down payments let alone replacement costs.

Patrick Snowball's speech link here: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/insurers-have-no-excuses-suncorp-boss-20110217-1axz6.html?from=smh_ft.

"Premier Mike Rann " Tweeted today about the flood water runoff from Queensland being below earlier estimates but still will affect the Murray Bridge area about the 24th feb. Those living in flood areas or campsites will no doubt have made arrangements to have their property on higher ground. His tweets can be found on www.twitter.com/premiermikerann

Would like to know how many householders are arguing the outcomes with their insurers and agents considering the extent of the disaster befell Queensland. Insurance companies were never my favourite people and when i dropped a box of Crystal Glass on the doorstep at a Bondi residence in 1980 as i prepared for a dinner party away from home i discovered the shortcomings of an "All Risks policy" ! Smashed Glass and empty promises were that result .

Whilst watching the TV coverage of the flooding i wondered about the ability of the "Adaptive/Disabled community " to cope with the additional burdens imposed on them. Certainly the Media and authorities would have covered their plight in their ongoing operations.

Having offered assistance back in December 2010 i now see that had i travelled to Queensland by air i could have triggered an even more severe case of Embolisms than i am currently enduring. Crashing the bike on Friday last in Carnoux area near Toulon shook me up and on Sunday a slight dose of the symptoms similar to those in august 2009 aroused my anxiety. Repeat appearances on Sunday evening and Monday morning caused further misgivings.

Being in South France i rode around Nice in the morning and Ventimiglia area in the afternoon.After a visit to UCMonaco HQ during the early evening i suffered a severe attack of pain and decided a fast return to Schwaz was essential. As i drove i had the heater on the feet and after a half hour of difficulty with short breathing, relief starts to kick in as i relaxed .

Piacenza is the home of Pierangelo Vignati the Paralympic Gold Medalist of Sydney 2000 and the Vivo Sport Store whose Cycle uniform i am seen wearing as i ride the route of the Pro Tour Grand Tours. Both parties received me kindly and i enjoyed their hospitality before continuing on the route through to Austria.

Stopped in Cles and Clos in the Valley Non but some of the people i should like to have seen were unavailable , Bruno the Apple Farmer being on holiday in Canada .

Schwaz Hospital at 2300hrs Tuesday was able to run blood tests and have me in residence very quickly and now after MRI scans yesterday and the Ultrasonic Examination this afternoon i am now told that i have a clear left leg but the right lower leg has several thombosi afloat. There was a long winded term for this Thromboembolism condition but i failed to register it in my dismay. Suffice to say i will be wearing compression stockings( do they only come in White?) the next several weeks as the Sinstrom works on thinning the blood. DR Wanke turns out to be a keen cyclist who spends a lot of time cycling in France also so we enjoyed reminiscing about the area.

Lack of snow through mild conditions meant cycling began earlier this year and now in good condition i have to step back whilst the body heals so that i have a reasonable chance of arriving in Torino for the Giro d'Italia .

THIS IS ONLY ONE OF 6 BLOGS , checkout the "profile / about me" and enjoy some of the others!

visit @skippydetour or facebook Skippy Mc Carthy if you choose not to add yourself as a follower on the blogs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Australia is receiving a battering lately ! Beat the recession and now copping a few "knockout blows":

Hope this is only a temporary situation but the Queensland floods will send some excess water through to Murray Bridge, Sth Australia.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Controversy was created by SI article this week whilst Lance was in Adelaide ! Does anyone remember how many times these same accusations have done the rounds ?

SSDD(same shit, different day) certainly applies when the media get going . Do the hacks get paid by the word or article?

Below is a link to an article i saw this week and i think it is worth a read :


Books have already been written but more are certainly in the works.

Much is made of flandis who having concocted his version of past events is hoping that paying out a few bucks to start a furore thinks he is now on easy street . Retirement from the Peleton was long overdue but i would caution him not to think about let alone spend any money he thinks is coming from the US Treasury.

Addition from Cyclocosm 9/2/2011

This item regarding USPostal Team ownership came to my attention :



Hope you will take the time to read Fatcyclist.com & Cyclocosm.com for their views and the commentary of their followers .

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


"It's breaking our hearts but it will not break our will", the words of Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier as reported on Austria Radio today !

Watching CNN , BBC World , etc , i have seen in the past fortnight reports of the Police demanding people not to drive into flood waters and yet daily i see this activity shown. What is it with these people that decide they know better ?

Awoke to the news of Flash Floods in Toowoomba and flooding in Brisbane and the possibility that they will reach the same level as 1974 .

That there were lessons to be learnt then is a certainty but that there was no application of this knowledge is a crime that current residents will pay the price and unfortunately it will be a heavy burden to many. When this flood is over will the building codes be changed to avoid a repeat in the next flood which Mother Nature will send as surely as night follows day.Vested interests have obviously been in play and of course "She'll be right mate" got in on the act also.

Just watched BBC World News report of the devastation in Toowoomba which included a live interview with a resident that shot video of the little creek behind his office . Anyone thinking that they can defeat the power of nature are out of their mind .

Seeing the creek flowing like a torrent reminded me of the Boxing Day Tsunami which took in excess of 250000 lives several years ago. Doubtlessly the authorities were unaware and certainly ill prepared for an event such as this but Mother Nature (Anna Bligh's description) behaves as she chooses and overwhelms man's puny defences at will. David Jutson's video demonstrated this as the creek rose and flushed cars and vans downstream and parked the vehicles like toys that a petulent child had finished playing with , littering the area where they came to rest stacked on their noses or rears like dominoes . Insurance companies will have nightmares sorting out the claims from this incident alone , would not like to be a "Name" at Lloyds currently.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Queensland floods are reaching the point where Mass Evacuations should be considered, Helicopters should be ferrying in supplies and taking out Elderly and Women & children certainly those who have relatives that are able to take them in and give them some quality of life whilst away from home.

Whilst flood levels were projected at 9.5m there was an expectation that the community could cope with being cut off for 10 days or so. But now there are thoughts and concerns being voiced in the media of 14m which if the images we are seeing at 8m levels will mean that so many more houses will be submerged. Brad Carter , Rockhampton's Mayor, is saying that a 9.4m flood will go over the floorboards of 400 houses, so how many more houses will be ruined if the flood / river levels rise further ? Presently the authorities say that 10 days of impassable roads will be the result at 9.4m but should the levels go higher then how much longer will this crisis take to be resolved and how many more homes inundated.

Already we are seeing residents saying they are unwilling to leave their homes for fear of looting and this is the same reaction to leaving home during bush fire emergencies. The authorities have already moved to reinforce the Police contingent but the legislature needs to draft Draconian Penalties for those caught with Loot during emergencies. That people can stoop so low as to behave like this is unthinkable, Australia is not a third world country as are Haiti or Pakistan. Miscreants can be found in any walk of life or country but Life on a Penal colony for Looters would be too good for them.

Not being an Engineer i wonder about the current building codes since the media are showing modern single story brick built homes awash but the older wooden homes where you have to walk up the external staircase are in many cases well clear of the flood waters, seems that modern life styles overlooked the dangers posed by nature. Those currently building homes enjoy the convenience of walking out the door getting into their vehicle but in earlier days they built knowing the risks that nature posed to their way of life. How many of the modern homes are insured for Flood Risk ?

Each of the Broadcasters that i have access to , CNN , BBC World , Al Jazeera and RT.com take their feed from Australian Networks which deliver "Sound Bites" but to date i have not seen any stories of Wheelchair Users difficulties. Each of use value our independence so it would be difficult to understand their additional difficulties posed by the current situation.

Being in Europe I wonder how I could assist, should Qantas offer a return seat and there were facilities to provide bed, board and reasonable facilities for a three month period I would be happy to offer help. There must be plenty of tasks that could be handled not requiring qualifications. Naturally my preference would be to assist those “Wheelchair Bound” but given the scale of the disaster I would willingly pitch in where needed. One thing I am certain of , is that there are many like myself who given the opportunity would consider lending a helping hand. I have “Tweeted” and added requests to my “Comments on SBS/cycling central” to find a suitable contact point but so far to no avail.

Doubt that the physical work will match the several hours of “Ski touring “ that I do most days , but would be a change to the rowing mce and tacx trainer.

Any offers of contact points to help ,please email skippi@ausi.com

Thursday 6/1/2011

There are reports of the flood cresting at 9.2m which could be good news, however the weather for the next week sounds bad. What i had not realised is that the flood waters from S/W Queensland will flow through to Sth Australia arriving in 4 to 6 weeks time and does this mean flooding there also. Can the experts find a way to create dams along the way to save water for later use. All that empty area and some of the water can't be diverted into empty terrain ? Who thinks about water conservation outside the River Murray Agreement ? How long has there been this disagreement among the states that the focus has only been on this supply system ?

Premier Mike Rann tweeting today reminded me of this ongoing saga but the locals surely have plans that could be turned into reality.

Railway facilities in Queensland have been destroyed in the past by flooding and yet we are back there again. No doubt the Ore has to be dried out before shipment but will the rest of the world allow "Force Majeure" to be invoked continually, "Just in Time" is practised in the factories as a way to save money but not upgrading the infrastructure after previous floods could mean billions of dollars lost to the economy. Many other nations must be dusting off their plans with the view to either competing or taking away the captive market that Queensland has again let down.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


ADDITION ON WED 1700gmt 5/1/2011

Having made a comment on CyclingNews Forum i see that LIVESTRONG has "ORG" & "COM" branches and this is something i was not aware of before, certainly that there were ownership issues !

Posting to CNF is a nightmare as i wsh to reply to "Bighog" as i used his entry to offer my ideas and he is due the courtesy of a reply since he has already answered my entry.


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Being a junior member allows "post reply" facility but i fail to see it attached to "Member" or "Senior Member". The Administrator also weighed in and is due the courtesy also. Should a "senior Member" read this "Item" please convey my email to either of these two so that i can reply to their postings : email address skippi@ausi.com

Doug a commenter at fatcyclist.com offered a site worth visiting, and in time i will


The statistics he offered sound favourable to Livestrong (Org or Com , i have yet to check).

Remember Toyota last year had problems with recall of product ? Well Livestrong also had a recall problem with their "Spinning Machines", out of 500 i am led to believe some have issues. However some wag has asked how the Head of Toyota can be compared to the Head of Livestrong ? Each offers a product and that was the only point i was trying to make. Should the Head of Toyota have a Charitable trust then i apologise for others bringing it into the discussion as i had no idea of that taking place.

Flandis is aware of a US Government Treasury procedure where you collect 10% of ANY recovery of funds either by your or the Government efforts. Any Us citizen can question how US Taxes are expended and get an investigation underway then the Government treasury can step in and take over and you still benefit if there are grounds for recovery of funds paid out in any fashion. Flandis initiated this procedure last year and there are reports that Government Officials are flying hither and thither and some of these involved have "Reputations" for kicking over anthills.

Who knows where the story will end but i have met flandis on bike several times and really did not take a liking to his personality. He more than likely felt the same way about yours truly, for many riding with a 65yo aussie is not the best way to pass time. There are others who call for me to join them even if only for the entertainment. Still others recognise my efforts to help "Adaptive/Physically Challenged/Para Sports Athletes"

This story has grown legs so more will follow.