Monday, 23 January 2017

Winter Wonders ...

Zacopane
 It's that time of the year again when I put up with 43c+ temps and watch the Winter sports ... Alpine skiing, the Super G, the slalom, the ski jump.

I can sit in front of the TV at night and pretend that snow is outside my window and not the bloody heat.

Dave Ryding
I'm not a great one for watching sports but I do love watching the ski jumpers and the Super G. The only other sport I tend to watch is the Tour de France.

My favourite ski jumper is flying again this year - Noriaki Kasai - but he is being outdone by the younger guns. I have to say I love the style of Kamil Stoch, no wonder he's so popular. Last night's win on the Large Hill in Zacopane (Poland) shows he is on the rise.
Marcel Hirscher
Marcel Hirscher

The last two nights of slalom have been exciting to watch. The first night saw so may miss gates, many of the favourites. Then British skier Dave Ryding literally flew down the piste at an unbelievable speed.


He was leading after the first run but was beaten by Marcel Hirscher by 0.76 seconds. Marcel had a blinding run - he was 1.02 seconds behind going into the second run but stormed through to take first place.

Watching it you have you heart in your mouth as they leap out of the box and race down the mountain at breath-taking speeds. The hairpin turns, the close gates, the slick skis storming across the snow. Love it.

But in saying that I absolutely adore watching the skiers take off on the jumps  - to fly through the air for over a hundred metres. 

What must they think when they're sitting at the gate waiting for the green flag?

The way they soar, bodies stiff, almost parallel to the ground. The the landing - will they stay upright? 

Yep sure beats going outside in 43c heat ... lol

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Stupid Traffic ...

Last week I met up with a friend I'd met years ago through facebook. They live on the other side of Australia near Perth so it was exciting to finally meet up. A couple of my other FB friends joined us for lunch - we all belong to the same online photography group. The other two live locally and I've meet up with them a number of times through the past few years.

Anyway, the meeting was being held about 35-40 mins, just 28 kilometres (17 miles) away from me - at 11:30am. Just to be on the safe side and because I have to be early (lol) I left at 10:30 only to hit traffic on the M2 highway.

I sat in line with thousands of others moving a fraction of a metre forward every ten minutes or so and getting absolutely nowhere - rarely getting out of first gear!

After being in line for over thirty minutes and still having another 4 kilometres before the turn-off to Pennant Hills Road I figured enough was enough.

Pulled out of the line and continued through to the next turn off about at Christie Road Macquarie Park then drove around a half circle and came back onto the M2 going back the way I'd come. I'd noticed there was no traffic on the Pennant Hills exit coming from the city whereas the other way the build-up was almost 7 kilometres long.

So I breeze up the exit feeling rather smug until ... I turned onto Pennant Hills road and came to an abrupt stop.

The traffic was stationary. The same creeping a metre forward every minute or so and it continued all the way for 10 kilometres to the start of the M1. Thank goodness I wasn't going onto the M1 because I heard on the radio that the crawling traffic continued along the M1 for another 8 or so kilometres before it finally began to move ... albeit slowly but at least it was moving.

I really should have exited onto Ryde Road and onto the Pacific highway although I still would have been caught in the traffic - just not a much.

Anyway instead taking me 40 minutes at the most it took 2 hours and 10 minutes. Needless to say I was late but so were the other two coming from my direction. I was able to let my Perth friend know we'd be late as I actually played leap frog with one of my friends along the road ...  😳

Anyway the four of us had a lovely lunch - her husband joined us for a drink and a laugh then with nervous trepidation I began the trip home only to have no traffic and it took 35 minutes!

The moral of this tale is (and yes I was an idiot) -

Never try and go north from out Sydney's west during the Christmas break because every idiot and his dog are trying to do the same thing!