HACW09: Riding The Waves (RIDE DAY 1)

Distance covered: 88.6km
Headwind: yes goddamit
Temperature: 32-35 degrees Celsius
Number of falls in the group: 1
Number of pineapples I consumed along the ride: 3.5


After a long day of humid heat and sore muscles, our group of weary riders cycled into the Kuiburi Resort to the applause of those who finished before them.

I chose to see this as supportive rather than condescending (it should be noted the senior cultists… er… experienced riders nearly all finished ahead of us rookies) and even entered into the spirit of things as other riders came in behind me.

My initial feelings of elation have now given way to some fatigue but it’s great that we’re about 17% of the ride down. We saw some amazing scenery and it was surprising how serene it was out on the road.

To be honest I’m bloody exhausted so I’ll spare you a crafted narrative and replace it with some notes for the day.


FullSizeRenderThe difference between “what a nice breeze in my face, how refreshing” and “this bloody headwind is #%$&” is about two minutes.


At the end of day 1, the group was divided into two distinct divisions. There were those of who were ride rookies. We were equal parts fatigue and excitement. One day conquered.

The other group were those who’d done the ride before. They were less fatigued and more like cranky old men in their reminiscing of days gone past. Even if that was only a year ago. “The ride was tougher last year. We had a HUGE headwind. We rode more in the heat of the day. It was almost 40 degrees (this amount fluctuated – I was waiting for someone to claim a firetruck had to put them out). The mosquitoes were so big last year they actually swooped and plucked two riders and took them away. We never saw them again. ” And so on.


Being a bit of a boy scout I did some planning and preparation. I had listened to previous riders and planned ahead for whatever the ride could throw at us. Crashes? Check – I had antiseptic and bandages. Burns, sprains, bruising, cow problems, how to deal with chasing dogs, chafing, riding in the dark… I even read up on animal bites after hearing a rider from last year was attacked and bitten by a monkey.


I was prepared for anything.

Or so I thought.

Public masturbation was not on the radar.

On leg 2 some of the girls rode in with a story of a man flashing himself at them. Shortly after Nikki rode in looking pale but amused. Apparently by the time she got to him he’d abandoned the concept of merely flashing and gone into full self pleasuring on the side of the road looking at her.

I didn’t think to ask if she stopped for a selfie.

EDIT: Apparently not satisfied with Nikki he actually chased Deanna for awhile. #WTF?!?!


One of the most interesting things so far has been how people pass the time. There’s a lot more conversation than I would have expected with people two and sometimes three abreast chatting about everything and anything (and I mean everything – these girls don’t hold back).

Some listened to music (one earpiece only). Some just put their head down and disappeared into the distance. Some entertained themselves by going cross-country for short bursts parallel to the road.

At one point Darryl and I sang four songs from Les Mis and we didn’t hold back. I have no idea what the locals would have made of two middle-aged men in lycra cycling past musically wondering if they could hear the people sing.


At one point I tested the legs a bit and pushed during the second leg. Without noticing I suddenly found myself alone on a long stretch without a rider in sight. No one in front and no one behind.

For a moment I wondered if I was actually on the right track. Had I missed a turn? Why is there no one at all? This is a really long straight – surely I should be able to see someone at least one way.

Then I caught a glimpse of a rider ahead. Just a flash of blue a long way ahead going around the end of the straight. Relieved I pushed ahead and tried to close the gap but no matter how hard I worked I couldn’t seem to close the gap: she always was just a hint of blue on the road’s periphery.

Starting to feel the heat my inexperienced mind gave into my imagination and I had the sudden thought that this was a spectral rider luring me away from the path and into the mountains where they’ll never find me… She’s just a spirit appearing intermittently in a paranormal bread crumb trail that ends in disaster!

Man I shouldn’t have read so much Stephen King lately.


12805947_10153511539786448_2138962254121076605_n This morning before the ride my feelings of apprehension had almost disappeared. I was actually a little excited and keen to hit the road. To see how I could push myself especially when there was such an important cause on the line.

I donned lycra for the first time ever (with the chants of “one of us, one of us” echoing through my head mentally), went through some warm-ups and stretches and was ready to go at the ascribed time.

However my nervous energy was interrupted; first by a group photo and then by a motivational speech from the incredible Dale.

But we still weren’t ready to start. Next came the handing out of small photo cards of individual orphans and their stories for us to focus on.

This was almost too much for me. I was flooded with emotions. I knew most of these kids from my time at the orphanage last year and suddenly tears were in my eyes. I knew them. I knew their real stories (not just the brief description on the card). I’d hugged them, laughed with them, thrown them in the air and done silly dances with them.

For a moment my ride was in serious threat even before I began as I felt the energy drain out of me. Thankfully I was able to take a deep breath and channel the intensity internally, reminding myself that THEY were the reason I was doing this ride. For them I would ride for weeks.

I composed myself and set off with a smile on my face knowing their happy faces were a mere 500kms away.

Bring it on.



PLEASE NOTE: This blog does not conform to journalistic standards. Exaggeration may be used in lieu of strict facts. Read at your own risk. And with salt.





Friends don’t take friends for granted: 5 signs your mate’s a mooch

Image: Mariam Arcilla

It’s 2016 and while most of us are working towards becoming mature, independent individuals there are still those who couldn’t care less. I can’t help but feel that people are becoming more selfish when in reality they should be more kind. In the division of selfish people, today we point our undivided attention to the  ‘Mooch’.

A mooch, put lightly, is someone who never shouts their round at the bar, pays their share of food or always – conveniently enough – says they will shout next time.

Don’t be confused: a mooch isn’t someone simply trying to save a few bucks. A mooch is someone who is happy to spend YOUR money on themselves, regardless of their financial situation.

Usually a moocher’s lousy attitude towards money reflects other areas of their life, too.

The thing which gets me most is moochers think you don’t realise – it’s almost a little insulting. And funnily enough there are times when a mooch won’t even realise they’re mooching.

It’s a given that most of us will come into contact with a mooch – you’re either friendless or awfully lucky if you haven’t.

BEWARE: They’re not easy to spot; they don’t stand out in crowds, on public transport or in classrooms. Instead, they stand out at check-outs, when the bill arrives or anywhere where money they may – but usually don’t – spend is mentioned.

Here are five signs to help you identify whether or not your mate’s a  Mooch:

  1. They arrive empty-handed

In fact, this becomes a trend; the Mooch tends to visit you at your place more than you’d go to theirs for the obvious reason: your hospitality. A mooch is happy to enjoy the comforts and luxuries of your place and never usually says no to beer, food and wine.

Have you ever been to their place? Do you even know where they live? If you do ever make it over to their place don’t expect a place to sit let alone a glass of water.

  1. They cry poor post spend

I once covered a friend’s share of scotch as he had “no money”. A few scotches later, he brought up his recent three-week journey around Japan and how he stayed in a 6-star hotel which included his own private chef ($700 per night). SMH.

It’s almost as if moochers think they deserve some kind of reward for spending money; they spent their money so now thou shall be rewarded with free scotch? I guess they missed the part where what they bought was for them, and what they’re mooching from us is ALSO for them.

  1. They don’t respect anybody’s things.. except their own

I once lent a friend a flip phone only to have him return it as a two-piece. His logic: it’s fine because he was angry and I had another phone.

Why? Moochers don’t care for your money, so why would they care for what it’s spent on (especially if it doesn’t benefit them in anyway).

  1. They never forgot that one time they did something for you

That’s right, Mr (or Miss) Mooch finally bought you something. It comes as such a shock and you may begin to believe you were being too harsh to Mooch. You begin to believe that maybe they are alright and the friendship is worthwhile. Then suddenly, the next hangout involves Mooch bringing up how they bought you something, without realising, remembering or appreciating the times you bought things for them. You let it slide and shout this round. But hang on, the following hangout involves the Mooch bringing up that one time they shouted you, again. You realise Mooch still is and probably always will be a Mooch…

  1. The last and most blatantly obvious sign your mate’s a mooch: THEY STILL OWE YOU MONEY.

The hardest thing to come to terms with is the fact that your so called mate will most likely never pay you back. It’s sad, really, but there’s not that much you can do.

Now, if you’re anything like me you probably are the unfortunate friend who has to cover said mooch. While there are worse things, having to frequently pay for someone is tiring – it really is. In the end, there comes a point where it is just easier to go out without them.

After reading this you should be able to identify a mooch, possibly even confront them. Although I don’t think there’s an actual way to deal with moochers, the Art of Manliness provided a few small suggestions here. I guess you could always try and mooch the mooch but somehow I think they’d catch on quite soon..

HACW 02: A montage would have been good here

Jeff Probst starts off each week on his TV show with “Previously on (pause) Survivor…” In the case of this ride he would start with “Previously on (pause) Anthony’s preparation…. (longer pause) Seriously? Nothing? 500 kms of riding ahead and he hasn’t done a thing yet? I’m out of here…”

Yeah training might be good sometime… The problem is that it’s hard to find time. Sandra goes in the early morning (which is kind of fine as I would struggle with 4am) and I stay at home with the kids. But Sandra is a workaholic and her 70-80 hours a week doesn’t have set times. I can occasionally grab a ride if she gets home early but that’s a really big IF. And it’s school holidays so I can’t go when the kids aren’t around.

Because they’re always around. I admit there is a touch of procrastination in there (my lack of love for cycling doesn’t help) but I’m finding it hard to find anytime for exercise at all. Twins are unrelenting.

I often yell at people on Survivor. “How could you sign up for this show and NOT learn how to make fire beforehand? Are you that stupid? Lazy? Arrogant?”

I don’t want to be that person.

I know that 500km is a long way to ride anywhere let alone in the eat and humidity of Thailand. My past experience with fitness means I’m fully aware of just how much work I have ahead of me. So it’s time to find the time. Even if I don’t know how I’ll do it.

If life was like a movie I could just insert a montage here with a suitable pumping 80s motivational track. Alas it isn’t so I need to get on the bike and lift something other than a boombox above my head.

Or I run the risk of voting myself off the island.


15 reasons to NOT marry a real estate agent

I recently had this article – 10 reasons to marry a real estate agent – pointed out to me. Having been-there-done-that I thought I might present the counter argument.

So without further adieu I present 15 reasons why you should be wary about entering into an emotional transaction with a vampire real estate agent.

1. She is constantly going into other men’s houses.

2. You will end up with multiple investment properties. This is good because their ego is too large for just one house.

3. Under PAMDA a potential buyer is entitled to full disclosure from the real estate agent. Spouses of agents enjoy no such legal protection.

4. They see every price tag as just a starting offer. This is good in big ticket item stores but embarrassing in Coles (supermarkets).

5. If they are good agents you will never see them. They will work 70-90 hours a week and be on call pretty much 24-7. We are real estate widows. On the positive side – lots of time to yourself.

6. Which also means you will get stood up a lot.

7. Agents love settlements which will leave you wondering if they settled for you.

8. Saturdays are NOT available for family things. Ever. This is not negotiable.

9. Speaking of which, everything else IS a negotiation. You will find them attempting to use sales techniques on you constantly. And because they’re stubborn, relentless and impervious to empathy they will usually get their own way.

10. It’s not fun when they refer to their spouse as “got potential, needs some work”.

11. A date feels impersonal when they look for ways to make it a “business expense”. Holidays too.

12. If you’re not secure: There’s a fine line between lead generation and flirting.

13. They’re super competitive. It will annoy her no end that the original ‘pro’ list only had 10 and this ‘con’ one has 15.

14. I hope you’re open-minded because you will actually be in a polygamous relationship between you, them and their phone which is virtually surgically attached to their head.

15. The best agents work well because they’re focused on commissions. But this also means you often have to ensure they’re getting their “piece of the action” when it comes to motivation for family activities. They don’t need a reason, they need a cut.