GREAT OCEAN ROAD RIDE

Hi all, Mr Lucas Lifestyle here! A few years ago I would have scoffed at people riding down the highway as we whizzed past in air conditioned comfort. The idea of riding long distance was absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. All that changed after riding in my first Gibb River mountain bike challenge. I started to wonder if it was possible for me to complete an epic journey that I could bore my grandkids with one day! I still have the dream of riding from Darwin to Adelaide sometime in the future but I thought I’d better test my abilities with something a bit smaller. A nice three day journey along the iconic Great Ocean Road seemed perfect! After a bit of planning and booking of caravan parks we lobbed into Warrnambool. I had fit my Giant Anthem 29’er with slick tyres and a mirror for this ride so all I had to do was give it a quick service and I was all set.

DAY 1 – WARRNAMBOOL TO PORT CAMPBELL – 67KM

With Lyrics Born singing “I changed my mind” (prophetic maybe?) in my single earpiece I set out from Surfside Caravan Park. It was a steep climb up to the main road but my fresh legs were up to the task. The first fifty kilometres of the journey winds through farmland, mainly Dairy farms with a few sheep here and there. A few blogs I’ve read about this ride call it boring but the country boy in me quite enjoyed it! The only thing bothering me was a vicious headwind that I figured I’d have as a constant companion over the next few days. This was more or less correct; sometimes it switched to a vicious side wind that would blow me further out into the traffic!                                                                                                               I caught up with my pit crew about 5km from the coast, topped up my camelback and had a bite to eat. Once I hit the coast things were a bit more interesting, it’s hard to keep attention on the road when the sea and the cliffs are so spectacular. I felt like a bit of a tool riding past all the attractions but I figured once I got off my bike we could drive back and have a proper look which is exactly what we did.                                                                          The descent into Pt Campbell was great! Big sweeping downhill runs nearly all the way. I tried to catch a couple in their giant fifth wheeler but just as I was about to sneak past we reached the flats and they pulled away, bummer! Once I had a shower and some lunch we drove back and had a look at the Grotto, London Bridge and then drove further on and visited the Twelve Apostles. Very inspiring coastline and i got a sneak peek at the first twelve kilometres of tomorrows ride.

DAY 2 – PORT CAMPBELL TO APOLLO BAY – 97KM

I woke up early this morning expecting a bit of soreness in the legs but nothing!! I was stoked, must have been all of the walking we did in the afternoon and the stretching I did when I got in. I was starving so I had a huge omelette washed down with a black coffee and a heap of water. The blogs I’ve read say this is the hardest day by far so I was a bit nervous to say the least. The climb out of town is very steep but that is just a warning of things to come. For the first eighteen kilometres the ride is very pleasant, I got some good footage from my Contour HD camera  as I breezed along the coast thinking “this isn’t so bad, the other guys must be weak”. I was soon bought back to earth with a shattering thud when all of a sudden the road left the coast and started heading into the hills. For the next few hours I just climbed and climbed. I thought about writing to the Victorian tourist bureau and suggesting the change the roads name to “The great stinking pile of crap, where’s the friggin ocean road” Many a time I had to unclip and get my breath back and have a break from the constant grind uphill.                                                                                                                            By the time I reached Lavers Hill for lunch I was a shattered man. My pit crew met me there for lunch with the exciting news that it was only forty five kilometres to Apollo Bay! They might as well have said four hundred, my legs were jelly and I was seriously questioning my sanity.

After a good feed and half a bottle of Coke I was feeling halfway human again so before I chickened out I hopped back on the bike and pushed on. As I left Lavers Hill the road shot down the other side so I was soon rocketing along, pushing a top speed of 59.1 kph. Was I happy? NO!! Why? All I could think while descending was “please stop going downhill because I knew that at some stage I am going to have to climb out of here”.                       Once I reached the bottom the scenery was beautiful, not that it hadn’t been all day but I got a chance to take it all in. I rolled through the countryside thoroughly enjoying myself but before long I was ascending again. It wasn’t as bad this time for some reason. I was really getting into it, just pacing myself and getting into a good rhythm with a low gear.

The last five kilometres into Apollo Bay was a steep one, I could smell the cold beer in my Engel and nothing was going to stop me, well except for the crazy woman in the 4WD that nearly wiped me out in the main street! Another day down, the hardest riding I have ever done. I’ve ridden the 147km Bay in a Day ride from Darwin to Mandorah twice before but this was far harder for me. I’m too heavy for hill climbs like that. Good incentive to strip another 10kg from my frame.

 

DAY 3 – APOLLO BAY TO TORQUAY – 92KM

Woke up early again feeling pretty good!  Amazed at my recovering ability, I rolled out my aching muscles yesterday arvo and spent a good amount of time  in the pool walking up and down and stretching.

Today was exactly how I imagined the Great Ocean Road to be, winding roads along the great coastline. Watching waves rolling in and crashing onto the rocks, flying downhill into small townships, climbing up to the next headland then doing it all again into the next township. I met the pit crew in Lorne and decided I deserved a pie! We were meeting up at Anglesea for lunch so I didn’t stay long. I don’t know if it was the pie or what but by the time I pulled into the park by the water in Anglesea I was feeling very ordinary. I had a bit of a mix up with my crew so they weren’t there so I had a small camp on a park bench and finished off all of my water. I had read in various blogs that there is one last big climb before descending into Torquay and for some reason it was freaking me out! Kylie and the kids had already dropped the caravan off and they told me it wasn’t too bad but I had convinced myself they were sparing me the gory details.

When I finally could put it off no longer I remounted and got on with it. I was surprised that in no time I was at the top of the range and soon my GPS told me I was only ten kilometres from my destination. All of a sudden I had a huge burst of energy. I was ploughing down the descents then absolutely smashing the hills. I felt great! As I hit the outskirts of Torquay I came upon a roadworks area with a 40km speed limit. I couldn’t help myself and clocked 47kph through there, what a rebel! I was going so fast I beat my pit crew to the Caravan park and had to ride around in circles trying to find our caravan before they rocked up and saved me. FINISHED!!!!!

Well that was it, two hundred and fifty odd kilometres with no real damage done. A bit of a sore butt and shoulders but what an experience! Very proud of myself and keen for the next big adventure.

CHOCOLATE & PHILLIP ISLAND

What can I say we have just driven through some of the prettiest countryside the past few days. We have travelled from Shoalhaven Heads in NSW to Phillip Island in VIC, along the Princes Highway. I loved travelling along the road and seeing all the different wild flowers out in bloom, they were so lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So back on task we are now in Phillip Island and enjoying some of the sights, but the one place that really took my fancy was the Chocolate factory. Who doesn’t love chocolate, but if you are like me and can’t tolerate the dairy that they put into a lot of chocolate you will like this place, for there dark chocolate does not contain dairy. (guess who was now in chocolate heaven)

Processes to get chocolate

The process starts right back at the cocoa tree, where the cocoa pods are harvested. Harvest takes place every 6 months and the pods need to sound hollow and have a pale yellow through to deep red colour about them. Now that the pods are harvested they are cut open ever so carefully as not to damage the beans inside. The beans are then removed from the pod and left to ferment for around five to seven days. After this time the beans are spread out and left to dry in the sun for about six more days. Now we are starting to get down to the tasty part of this process, the roasting. The dried beans are then roasted; this brings out their flavour and also removes the remaining water content that they have. Roasting temperatures and times affect the taste of the cocoa. This is the point at which some people will recognise cocoa. After being roasted they are then put through a crusher to remove the shell and reveal the nibs that are inside. The nibs are what chocolate is made from. Nibs are also very nice to eat just the way they are. Grinding the nibs together produces a paste like consistency called cocoa liquor. The reason the roasted nuts turn to a paste is due to their high oil content which is then pressed out of the liquor, forming 2 parts to the original nib. Cocoa butter (oil) and cocoa cake (ground into cocoa powder). Not long now till we have sweet sweet Chocolate. Cocoa butter is then mixed with some cocoa liquor, sugar, lecithin and other ingredients to form chocolate.

So there you have it in short that is how chocolate is made. :)

HAIR CHALLENGE PART 6

4th December 2012

 

OK it’s been just over a month since my last hair challenge post and all is going well. I am using a bi-carb wash once a week to 10 days to get rid of the extra oil, and I am loving the results. I have tried using an apple cider vinegar to condition my hair as well but that just resulted in having oily hair within a couple of days. So in conclusion to my hair challenge, I will be sticking to washing my hair with bi-carb soda. My husband as mentioned in the last hair challenge post has also taken on the challenge and is finding it is working well. I will mention that he isn’t using bi-carb soda as a shampoo like myself he is just using water. Both of our hair is looking shinny, clean and healthy. I don’t think either of us will be reverting back to using commercially made hair products. I would love to hear your thoughts about the whole no poo challenge.

GLASS JUICER

I just adore school fetes, lawn sales and op shops. There is always so much to see and plenty of bargains to be found. So while we are here in Goolgowi NSW we attended my nephews’ school fete. As I was pushing my other little nephew I came across a White Elephant stall (like a lawn sale) that had lots of little bargains the thing that caught my eye was a glass juicer which I ended up getting.  50 cents and it was still in the packet what a bargain.

So what I would like to know is what would be your best kitchenware bargain that you have ever picked up second-hand?

HAIR CHALLANGE PART 5

31st October 2012

 

Not much to report back about this week, everything is coming along nicely. I am noticing that my hair isn’t getting as oily as it had been. So I think my body is adapting to not using any harsh chemicals. I do want to announce though that I have a convert for the ‘no poo’ in my house. I haven’t pressured anyone to come on board with what I’m doing, but my husband thought he would give it a go and from what I can gather he likes it. Its only early days for him (2 weeks in) but all is going well. The next step is to see if our 3 girls would like to give it a try, not going to be holding my breath for this to happen, but maybe once they see how good my hair looks they might give it a crack. :)

PRESENT IDEAS

Do you get stuck for present ideas for your family and friends?

Maybe this will help you out a little!!!

Presents don’t have to expensive or mass produced, sometimes we just need to give that special someone something from the heart. What better way to do it than with something that you have made yourself.

OK let’s get down to why I’m writing this post in October instead of December when everyone is looking for Christmas present ideas. It really is quite simple…. I have a special friend who is turning the BIG 40. What do you get a friend who has most things and loves everything pink? Yes of course pink BPA free containers filled with Lucas Lifestyle treats. :)  Sterilised glass jars would also be great containers to put you treats in.

In the photo below I have made Almond butter, Cashew butter, Coconut butter and mayo.

I’m also testing out some natural body products and if they work well I will post them.

Happy birthday my dear friend I hope you like your Lucas Lifestyle treats xxx

HAIR CHALLENGE PART 4

24th October 2012

 

I have a little confession to make…. Just a little one, nothing big or bad……. I WASHED MY HAIR!!! Yep you read correctly I washed my hair but not with Shampoo which makes this only a little confession. I washed my hair with Bi – Carb soda and gee am I impressed with the results. My hair wasn’t moving forward in this challenge and it wasn’t going backwards either, I just needed something to get rid of the extra oil. While reading a lot of peoples blogs about the ‘no – poo’ a lot of them used Bi – carb soda as their shampoo and Apple cider vinegar as their conditioner. So last night of I went to the shower with 1 tablespoon of bi – carb in hand and washed my hair. Any excess oil is now gone. I have to admit that Bi – carb is the best shampoo that I have ever used, my hair still has a natural shine and isn’t all blow away ish. It also didn’t get knotty which is one of the best points about this challenge. I hate having knotty hair and it hurts when you brush it but since undertaking this challenge I haven’t been getting knotty hair which in turn would mean less breakage. Sounding like a win, win situation to me. :)

HAIR CHALLENGE PART 3

16th October 2012

 

Well the last 10 days have been a little stagnant for any moving forward of my hair status.  There have been no real improvements in the look and quality of my hair, which is a little flattening but on the bright side things haven’t gone backwards either :) . I’m still washing my hair in warm water and massaging my scalp as I do.  I have read that it can take up to at least 6 weeks for your hair to adjust to not having chemicals washed over it every few days, so I will plug on with it and see where we end up after 6 weeks.  If any of you have any suggestions or have tried the No – Poo please leave your thought. Till next report in, take care.

HAIR CHALLENGE PART 2

6th October 2012

Well since my last post 6 days ago I’ve had the thought, am I doing the right thing, what do people think of me, and then a light bulb went off I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.  So since last post I have been washing (scrubbing) my hair with lukewarm water every second day, and brushing it every morning and every night (I use to do this part anyway). A few things that I have noticed this week is that my hair has way less knots in it than it use to get, that’s always a good  point because knots hurt. Another noticeable point is that part of my hair is starting to look and feel less oily. I really do recommend the washing your hair with lukewarm water every couple of days. This seems to wash away the excess oil and sweat and every time that I do it my hair seems to perform and feel better than ever before.

HAIR CHALLENGE

1st October 2012

Ok I’ve been thinking about doing a challenge of not using any hair products and today is the day that I will start. It’s been about 5 days since I last washed my hair and to be truthful I should have washed it yesterday, but since I was just relaxing around home I didn’t.  For the past month I’ve been only using a natural shampoo and no conditioner. The reason for using this natural shampoo is, I noticed that after using some brands of shampoo and conditioner my head would become really itchy.  On my search for a natural product with low chemicals and no wheat based products I found the one that I was using but the conditioner contained wheat products so I chose to just use the shampoo.  This is working just fine my hair isn’t getting to dry or to oily, which got me thinking could I use no product and have lovely looking hair. After a little research I decided that I reckon I could.  I’m going to use some of the knowledge in this article (http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2007/04/30/1887681.htm) to get my hair challenge underway.  At the moment my hair is looking and feeling oily, so the first thing that I’m going to do after putting up this post is to go and have a shower and wash my hair with lukewarm water and give my scalp a real good rub and then rinse with cool water.