Mediterranean Cycopaths

Badger on Board

A new Team member has joined us for the Montpellier – Barcelona leg of the trip: Rob ‘Badger’ Gourlay says we are doing it all wrong and has come over to show us the way whilst also re-living some of his own experiences from a Euro-cycling tour in 1999.  You can view Rob’s profile here.

Rob Gourlay

Veteran: I don’t know how we’ve got his far without Badger

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May 28, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dashboard – Week 18

  • Days Cycled – 4
  • Distance Covered – 454km
  • Cumulative Distance – 9277km
  • Price paid by Sean ‘High Roller’ Smee for a glass of Cola in Portofino – €7
  • Number of Countries / Kms between punctures for Sean and ‘Tahumi’ – 9 / 5342

May 26, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Italy: Cougar Country

Unlike many species that have recieved media attention in recent times, the Italian Cougar (Carnivorous Deludis) is in no danger of extinction. Indeed, on our recent Italian sojourn – cycling through vineyards and medieval towns enroute from Venice to Genoa – huge numbers of these creatures were observed.

Appearance

The Italian Cougar has a number of distinguishable markings. The skin – of which an unusually high ratio is on display – bears a deep ‘perma-tan’ shade which cannot be explained by Italy’s sunny weather alone. For the small tracts of skin which the Cougar does choose to cover, the unusual practice of adorning itself with the hides of other animals is adopted – the typically large wardrobe is characterised by leather jackets, mink coats, crocodile skin shoes and any number of fake leopard fur products, all of which are branded with the labels of international breeds to which it pledges loyalty (Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Coco Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Gucci).

The breast area commands particular attention: in an eery parallel to Venice, a well-known Cougar haunt, the sharpest engineering minds on the planet are employed to defy the ravages of age and gravity in an attempt to maintain original presentation. In this continual struggle the Cougar will inevitably resort to modern surgical techniques – a luxury ‘La Serenissma’ does not have. Finally, the hair alters colour in a chameleon-like manner according to the season and the fashion of the day. Unlike the chameleon, however, the aim of the Cougar is to garner attention rather than avoid it.

Habitat

Our recent expedition has confirmed a large prevalence of Cougars in the leafy avenues, chic shopping precincts, stylish bars and industrial solariums across the whole of Northern Italy. Of particular note were the following Cougar ‘hotspots’:

  • Utilising Gondola’s as an exclusive means of transport to cruise the canals of Venice
  • Sunning themselves in Padova’s grand Prato della Valle
  • Strutting about the boutiques of Verona’s cobbled alleys
  • Colonising the promenade cafes of Portofino and other upmarket resorts on the Ligurian Coast

Diet

The Cougar reserves dining for only the most renowned of Italian restaurants and is thus regularly presented with options for consuming exceptional pizza, pasta, bruschetta, risotto and wine. Despite this bounty of exquisite Italian cuisine – versions of which are usually being inhaled by members of Team Cycopath at nearby, slightly less prestigious establishments – the Cougar will usually just pick at her meal, seemingly preoccupied with her quest to satisfy another, less satiable, appetite…

Behaviour (Mating Habits)

The Cougar’s behaviour is distinguishable by it’s sole focus of attracting a mate. Although a typical target would be a similarly tanned, but silver-haired, corporate fatcat type with a sweater draped over his shoulders, the Cougar will prey upon pretty much anything that can be chased down over 10 yards of wet cobbles whilst wearing stillettos. A sophisticated hunting strategy along rural routes that was commonly encountered on our travels was the utilisation of roadsigns with completely inaccurate distance estimates or upon which towns would virtually dissapear at crucial intersections. This cunning ploy achieves the goal of disorientation, making a potential conquest that little bit easier.

The typical Cougar mate, for their part, rapidly tire of these unengaging beasts. In a similarly desperate attempt to hold onto past glories they can be seen cycling through the countryside with their disillusioned brethren, often finding comfort in the arms of sub-Saharan prostitutes (as much a part of the modern Italian landscape as vineyards) who wait in the bushes for this most-dependable source of clientele.

No Cougars were harmed in our research for this exposé – although several may have been handled

Jon & Sean

May 23, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Dashboard – Week 17

  • Days Cycled – 5
  • Distance Covered – 445km
  • Cumulative Distance – 8823km
  • Broken Chain – 1 (Jon)
  • Broken Wheel – 1 (Sean)
  • Broken Spokes – 4 (Michael)

May 15, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So over Hangovers

5th May 2007

Cycling with a hangover is not all bad.

As our bodies have difficulty distinguishing between 2 sources of pain, a bit of cycling superimposed on a severe hangover does little to exacerbate the discomfort already derived from the previous nights excesses. That is, if you’re hurting already, you might as well try and get yourself, your bike and your kit over a few undulations – or so the theory goes… The inevitable slower pace also gives you plenty of time to reflect upon (and regret) the wisdom of consuming all those G&T freepours. And of provoking bouncers whose door policy you disagree with.

But it (cycling with a hangover) is mostly bad.

Your head pounds; your stomach churns; your legs ache; your body sweats pure gin. Lifting your chin too fast causes giddy spells that threaten to knock you over.  Unlocking the bike has been tough this morning you think as you dread actually having to cycle the thing. You’re grateful at least that todays stage is a short one of 107km – less grateful however that it meanders over some pretty serious slabs of rock in the Croatian and Slovenian highlands. Less grateful as well that after 3 days of getting drenched in all variety of manners (rainstorm, thunderstorm, hailstorm), the day your body is screaming out for any kind of moisture the rains are holding off. Routine tasks such as replacing a slipped chain become highly complex procedures – similar in the challenge they pose to disarming a nuclear warhead with a paperclip. Or authoring a choose-your-own-adventure blog for that matter.

Anyhow, better get moving you think, as you raise your weary body from its contemplative perch – if you waste anymore time you’ll be in danger of missing the first round in Ljubljana!

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Sean

May 14, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Congratulations Ken

We would like to use this forum to congratulate Ken Gourlay (my uncle) on his extraordinary achievement in circumnavigating the globe solo, non-stop and unassisted on his yacht Spirit – becoming the fastest and oldest Australian to do so and raising over $90,000 for charity.

Ken - Nearing the Finish Line

We’ve followed Ken’s progress throughout his journey and have been constantly amazed at his endeavour and persistence, particularly when the chips were down.  We have also appreciated his notes of support to us as we undertake our little adventure which is dwarfed by comparison.  As I’m sure you’ll agree this is a brilliant effort and an inspiration to us all.  Ken – Well done and thank-you.

Jon

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snooze Control

The Team was joined for a stint of cycling in Northern Croatia by Hobart personality Richard ‘Snoozer’ Parker (click here for Profile). Snoozer, who was in Europe to watch his brother Mal compete in the America’s Cup sailing, showed admirable commitment to the cause by borrowing a bicycle, purchasing accessories and flying to Zadar to link up with us.

Richard `Sleepy´ Parker

Zany: Richard Parker

As it turned out his lack of preparation where it mattered most, in the saddle, was his undoing – not so much from a fitness perspective but a bung knee which saw him bow out three days later in Ljubljana. Although his first cycling day was a memorable stint up the coast from Zadar (via Pag Island), those three days were unfortunately characterised by torrential rain and the most sustained bad weather of the trip so far.

Nevertheless, it was fantastic to have him on board and, in addition to boosting spirits, he was able to assist in the endless task of keeping Sean out of trouble on the town.

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Dashboard – Week 16

  • Days Cycled – 5
  • Distance Covered – 566km
  • Cumulative Distance – 8378km
  • Cycopaths Website Hits – 10,000!
  • Number of Countries since last puncture for Sean and ‘Tahumi’ – 8
  • May 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Any Given Sun Day

    30th April 2007 

    The Adriatic coastline of Montenegro and Croatia has provided us with some of the most picturesque and enjoyable cycling of the trip so far. Far more important than that, however, it has provided us with the perfect opportunity to rest, relax and re-callibrate our mindset to Euro-holiday mode.  Ulcinj, Budva and Kotor (Montenegro) and Dubrovnik, Makarska, Bol, Hvar, Trogir (Croatia): Brilliant weather, delicious food and beautiful old towns in idyllic seaside settings, one and all.

    Our leisure options for each day were remarkably similar in each place, so much so that I was reminded of the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure‘ novels that I used to read over and over again as a kid… so I now present to you a Team Cycopath Adriatic version:

    1. You wake up with a slight hangover and get out of bed to have a quick shower. Sean wants you to ‘scramble’ up a nearby hill with him – Do you A) Go with him (proceed to #2); or B) Go for a swim off the walls of the old town (#3)?
    2. Grab your camera and put on your walking shoes! Take in the magnificent views from up the hill while Sean educates you on the architectural and cultural significance of the area. You’re a bit tired now though. Do you A) Go to the beach for a sunbake (#4); or B) Go relax at a cafe (#5)?
    3. Dive into the crystal clear water off the old town walls. The waters a bit cold (as you’re constantly reminded by blue haired passers by) but it’s good hydrotherapy for the legs and you splash around for 30 mins before getting out.  You spot Tombsy laying on the beach – Do you A) Go to the beach and join him (#4); or B) Go relax at a cafe (#5)?
    4. You arrive at the beach. Tombsy is lying there, pornstar style, listening to his iPod and wearing nothing but a pair of dark sunglasses and Budgie Smugglers (Speedos).  You reluctantly spread your towel out in the near vicinity and lay down.  Unsurprisingly, it isn’t long before a bronzed man wearing a G-String comes over to chat you both up. Time to move on – Do you A) Seek out some World Cup cricket to watch (#6); or B) Go and catch some Z’s back at the room (#8 )?
    5. As you sit down at the cafe and order a Latte’ you start to feel a little out of place (not sporting a mullet and all!).  Watch the world go by for half an hour anyway.  Now what? Do you A) Seek out some World Cup cricket to watch (#6); or B) Grab some lunch down at the harbour (#7)?
    6. You get to the a pub and receive a blank look from the Bar tender “What’s Cricket”? Do you A) Seek out another venue (#6); or B) Grab some lunch down at the harbour (#7)?
    7. Pick up some prosciutto, cheese, bread and a couple of beers from the mini-mart and head for the harbour. Consume all whilst dangling legs in the water and watching fishermen fold their nets. You try to ignore the 40 American tourists  behind you (all wearing name tags and following a guide holding an umbrella above her head – “oh, look Bob! 10 different flavours of ice-cream!”). Before you know it, 2 hours have passed, time to head back to the room (#8 )
    8. You get back to the room and interrupt an intimate moment between Sean and your elderly female host (“Beautiful boy” she is saying as she kisses him on the forehead). This deeply disturbs you, but you manage to have a quick snooze regardless.  Wake up, jump in the shower and throw on some jeans. Do you A) Liaise with the other boys and have a few drinks on the balcony (#9); or B) Liaise with the other boys and head straight to dinner (#10)?
    9. You grab a beer and sit down on the balcony to watch the sun set across the bay with the boys.  It doesn’t get much better. One or two more drinks each before it’s time to head to dinner (#10).
    10. Head to the seafood restaurant down the road. Peruse the extensive menu, before ignoring it completely and ordering the usual – Tuna pate, Fish Soup and Grilled Calamari. You eat every last crumb and wash it down with a shot of Šljivovica.  There’s still time for a night cap so you all move on to a nearby bar, where the highly recommended ‘Sexy Very Much’ band are playing their covers, before heading home to bed. It’s been a rough day.

    Jon

    May 4, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

    Dashboard – Week 15

  • Days Cycled – 4
  • Distance Covered – 390km
  • Cumulative Distance – 7812km
  • Conjugal Visits – 1
  • Non-Conjugal Visits – 2
  • May 2, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment