Monday, June 30, 2008

The Mountain came to Mohammed

My good mate Culden Kamea writes a Monday column in the Fiji Times. He came for a ride on Saturday (4 new cyclists that morning... Yea!) and I think we have a new obsessive cyclist.

By Culden Kamea

Bula Sports fans!

Last Saturday night, my perseverance paid off as I hung out home alone for the rugby Test match between my new favourite international team, (second to Fiji of course), the Wallabies, who were up against France.

There was no reference to the game being televised live by any of the local media, but like a prayer answered from heaven, there she was on my TV screen seconds before kick-off at 10.30pm.

I’ve switched allegiance to the Wallabies this year, because, like many disgruntled kiwi rugby fans, I think 2007 Rugby World Cup All Black Coach, Graham Henry, should have done the honourable thing after they lost to France in their quarterfinal and resigned. He should have fallen on his sword.

Instead, his ego got the better of him and Henry waited months for the heat of the loss to dissipate before re-applying for the position along with the likes of Super 14 Hurricanes Coach, Ross Cooper, Welsh and NPC Waikato Coach, Wayne Gatland and of course the man who should have got the job, Super 14 Canterbury Coach, Robbie Deans.

Kiwis are a forgiving lot, except when it comes to rugby and the All Blacks in particular of course and so Henry’s re-appointment by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union still cuts deep right across the country, particularly down south.

My view; sure Henry has a better than 90% winning track record as All Black Coach, but hell, with the cream of New Zealand’s rugby talent available to him, even my dear old mother-in-law could have won a few tests in his position, simply by threatening the players with a beating with her good old sasa broom if they lost!

Because of his refusal to go, in an honourable way, Henry has diminished the sacred mana and aura of invincibility of the All Blacks and believe me, that decision will ultimately come back to haunt him.

I apologise for this “Henry gripe”, but I just had to get it off my chest before letting it go and moving on – across the Tasman.

In only two Tests in charge now, the new kiwi Wallaby Coach has already been widely praised by Australia’s top players and rugby commentators for the refreshing change and confidence that he has brought to their squad. So much so, that he has been bestowed with the Aussie moniker “Dingo Deans”!

So far the 2008 Wallabies under the Dingo have scraped together a 100% winning record of 2 out of 2 wins with last Saturday night’s win over the gutsy French, a step up from their win over the Irish a couple of weeks ago. What’s obvious is the big improvement in their forward play, their Canterbury-like patience to set things up and pick and drive again and again and in the Dingo’s own words, “To play what’s in front of you” – something that was so obviously missing from the ABs when they lost to France last year in Cardiff.

Watch this space and go Dingo Deans and his Wallabies!

Before I tell you about my Saturday morning sweat session chasing hot chics in lycra, I must tell you about the mouth-watering ika miti, or fish with coconut cream, that my Tongan bride (who thankfully is not in lycra) is hustling up for Sunday lunch.

I must pause to explain here, because many, mainly young women, approach me to explain the difference between lolo and miti.

In a nut shell ladies, lolo is cooked coconut cream, while miti is uncooked coconut cream. Both should be freshly squeezed from (and by) mature coconuts like your better half! For any other coconut culinary advice, please don’t hesitate to ask.

The Tongan bride actually got two large fish for the pan – a Coral Trout and a Saqa, or Trivially, thanks to her sister Lydia and cousin Violet, who in true pacific family way, thought of me, (OK thought of my mother-in-law) and dropped fish around for Sunday lunch. I just love my Mother-in-law.

Now where was I? Right, early last Saturday morning, while most of you were still sleeping, I hit the Suva foreshore with the Velocity Cycling Club on their 10 kilometre ride from Esquires at Dolphin Court down to the National Stadium and back and I must say it was the best thing I’ve done since my wedding day!

Velocity Cycling Club founder and good friend, Dom Sansom and I plus a shoeshine boy (Noa’s brother) who Dom kindly loaned a bike to, were accompanied by local cycling babes - blonde Claire, dark-haired Jessie, sandy-haired Ann and French maiden Sandra with her shiny auburn curls – all in skin-tight lycra occasionally reflecting the early morning rising sun. Talk about heat! I was soon panting and sweating, my heart beating like a drum.

This being my first bike ride in over two decades was a revelation as to how aerobically unfit I am. I was soon left straggling way behind the bunch as they raced off in the crisp morning air.

Nearing Turner’s bridge, under the incredible strain and sustained pressure of 130Kg of prime Tongan beef bouncing around on the rough road, the seat of my titanium-framed bike, which was obviously made for and moulded on some skinny Italian guy’s Ferrari-like bum - collapsed and I narrowly avoided ending up in the tiri, or mangrove swamp, below!

I guess that’s just one of the many risks that us rare breed of Extreme Tongan Tri-athletes have to take chasing hot chics in lycra!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Aussie cyclists save Govt. $200 million a year

This from the ABC.

A new report has found the Australian Federal Government is saving more than $200 million a year in health costs through people riding bicycles.

The report was commissioned by the Federal Health Department and is aimed at encouraging state and territory governments to try to increase the popularity of cycling.

One of the report's co-authors, associate professor Chris Rissel, says the figure is a conservative estimate.

"Calculations like this always depend on what you include and don't include," he said.

"While we're talking here about direct health costs it doesn't include all the transport savings, and things like traffic congestion have been known to cause billions of dollars of lost earnings and income."

Click here for the story.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The road to Naqali

Sunday morning on the road to Naqali... two girls on the way to church stopped to have their picture taken with our motley crew. Mesake (5th from left) bonked after this pic was taken, no breakfast, no water,.... he couldn't stand up and had to be driven home. He's also been sick and probably hadn't recovered. " The lesson this Sunday is "No fuel, no go"

Rusi was VERY quick..."can I have your bike if you're not going to ride it"?

Lovely ride though, cycling past waterfalls fed by the recent rains (it's rained for nearly three weeks... non stop!), in fact the Naqali bridge was under water last week, though just waking villages, mist in the valleys, parrots screeching in the rainforest. And back for an espresso (or three) at Esquires.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Albums

I've posted links to our albums on the left

Here's a thumbnail slide show

...and here's a pic from the latest album - Fiji Games 2008