Posted in The Post Card Collection

The Crow Eagle Vintage Postcard

Crow Eagle, a Piegan Chief, Canadian Northwest
Crow Eagle, a Piegan Chief, Canadian Northwest

Now this is a really unusual card from my Grandfather’s collection simply because it is the only card amongst the entire collection with any connection to Canada or America.  The card is from 1906 and has no postage stamp on the reverse, so I assume that it was sent in an envelope.  The card was sent to my Grandmother Ines Maude Bailey nee: Smith, but the name of the sender is illegible. 

I tried to research Crow Eagle and was able to find very little about the man on Google.  However, one site had a small amount of information on him.  It would appear that he was born in the early 1830’s and was the son of a Brule warrior named Big Warrior who was a Creek Indian Chief.  The Brule Sioux Tribe lived along the Missouri River in South Dakota from what I can research.  This literally sums up my lack of knowledge of Native American history, but as a rank outsider I have gone through life thinking that a Sioux tribe and a Creek tribe were two different people, but apparently not.  It would be fascinating to delve more into the history and connection between the Native American people.

During the 1850’s Crow Eagle married a Two Kettle Sioux woman  who appears to be a daughter of the headman named Fat.  Crow Eagle and his wife settled at the Cheyenne River Agency and they had at least two children: Paul Crow Eagle b. 1855 and George Crow Eagle b. 1858. 

Crow Eagle and his wife could not be identified in the 1886 Census and it is assumed that they had died by that time.  When asked if their father had ever been a headman, Crow Eagles sons had said no.

Crow Eagle Photo - 1900 - Taken by Edward S Curtis
Crow Eagle Photo – 1900 – Taken by Edward S. Curtis

The above picture of Crow Eagle was taken by E. S. Curtis and it is noted that he is a Blackfoot Indian and again, I don’t know if the Blackfoot people are separate from the Sioux people or the Brule, or even the Creek People.  Isn’t it fascinating that the face of a little known Native American/Canadian Indian found it’s way into the postcard collection of my grand parents living halfway around the world in Australia.  I would dearly love to learn more of the history behind these names.


Posted in Photo Gallery

Allsop Family Photo Albumn

I am very lucky to have in my possession some beautiful photographs of the Allsop family.   I don’t have stories for each of them though, and am working on that.  I hope that each of the people represented will eventually feature in the blog, but for the moment here are the faces of my husbands forebears.  In the first section are family members born prior to 1900:

The precious photograph below shows the daughters of Michael Allsop and his wife Ada – Left to Right:    Mabel(standing), Ada (on arm of chair), Rhoda (behind setee), Sophia (on small chair) and Lucy (on setee).  Their curly hair would have to be their common feature!

The Allsopp Women - Left to Right: Mabel Alice, Ada Ellen, Rhoda Margaret, Sophia Eliza and Lucy Elizabeth
The Allsopp Women – Left to Right: Mabel Alice, Ada Ellen, Rhoda Margaret, Sophia Eliza and Lucy Elizabeth

In the next section I have of have made a mosaic of photo’s of Allsop family members during the years since 1900:

Posted in Stories

During Julia Duncan’s Lifetime

The Young Julia Duncan
The Young Julia Duncan

After posting the story of Julia Duncan yesterday I began to wonder what events may have taken place during her lifetime so took a walk through those years, with the help of Google, and found items of little known detail, but that were still very interesting in their own right.  Julia lived through an extraordinary period of Australian history and below is a very brief snapshot of the events that Julia would no doubt have read about in the local paper.  In her life time she would have listened to a radio for the first time, seen the introduction of electric street and house lighting, suffered personal loss during 2 World Wars, and both read about and participated in air travel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. 1858 – the year of her birth – The Premier of NSW was Sir William Dennison
  2. 1863 – aged around 4-5 – South Sea Islanders were brought into Queensland as a cheap source of indentured labour by the sugar industry and over 2,400 volunteers were sent to New Zealand to fight in the New Zealand Land Wars
  3. 1868 – aged about 10 – The Hougomont was the last convict ship to arrive Western Australia which brought the end of penal transportation to Australia
  4. 1888 – aged about 30 – Centennial Park is opened in Sydney, Angus and Robertson publish their first book, Mentor wins the Melbourne Cup
  5. 1908 – aged around 50 – 44 are killed and 400 injured in the Sunshine Train Disaster, boys in Australia first participate in the Scout movement, the capital of Australia is chosen sparking a feud between rivals Melbourne and Sydney, the invalid and old age pension act is passed
  6. 1918 – aged about 60 – 30 people are killed in cyclone Mackay which hit Mackay in Queensland.  In the same year there was also a cyclone to hit Innisfail in Queensland and a tornado hit Brighton in Melbourn, Victoria.  The Darwin Rebellion took place in the Northern Territory and the Battle of Amiens took place
  7. 1930 – aged around 72 – The Shrine of Remembrance is dedicated in Brisbane, Don Bradman scores a record 452 not out in a cricket innings
  8. 1947 – aged about 89 – The Woomera Rocket Range is established in South Australia, the Australian Government assumes control of Qantas, the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration grants workers a 40 hour week, the Parramatta Rugby League Club is formed
  9. 1954 – aged about 95 – Elizabeth II arrives in Sydney on her first visit as Monarch (just 2 days after Julia’s death), Mawson Station is established in the Antarctic (within a fortnight of her death), and 26 people are killed when a cyclone hits the  Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales



Cenntenial Park:


Sunshine Train Disaster:

Brisband Shrine of Rememberance:

Elizabeth ll 1954:

Posted in Stories

Julia Duncan – Strong and Courageous

The Young Julia Duncan
The Young Julia Duncan

I have loved this picture of my great grandmother Julia Duncan for as long as I can remember.  It inspired in me a desire to find out more about her, and in fact was the catalyst for starting my journey into family history more than 37 years ago.  I have recorded what I know of this extraordinary woman and hope that  you enjoy getting to know her.

Julia Duncan was registered as Julia Dunker in Tamworth, New South Wales  in 1858, although she was actually born at Nundle which was a  gold fields village just 50 kilometres to the south east.  Her father and mother would have arrived  in Nundle at some time before her birth in October of 1858.  Reef gold had been found in Nundle in 1852 although alluvial gold had been found in the area as much as three years earlier ie: late 1840’s.  Julia’s father was listed as a mining warden in Nundle at the time of her birth, however it is thought that he went into the building trade, obtaining his timber  from along the edges of Duncan’s Creek.

Life in the area at the time was not easy although most of life’s necessities were available to Julia’s family.  Some basic vegetables such as potato, pumpkin and cabbage were essentially unavailable at any cost though, a situation whereby the greater population living in the area were existing on meat and bread alone. 

Julia would have spent her early years running and playing with children whose families had emigrated to the area from many different parts of the world.  We know that this little girl was living in the gold fields area until at least the middle of 1864, at which time her mother, whilst pregnant with her 5th child, left her father taking all the children with her.  Julia was just 5 1/2 years old.

Julia spent time growing up near the Bective Church which is situated on the hill at Bective, a property outside of Tamworth, and also on a property (Terrible Vale) at Uralla where her step father worked.  As Julia grew she  was known to have beautiful long, brown hair and she took particular care to wash it regularly.  She would use a solution of water and a small amount of honey to rinse her hair in.  This solution allowed Julia to style her hair into a bun or plait and feel confident that there would not be a hair out of place.  I’m wondering if this was a precursor to hairspray!!

On 5 Jun 1879 in Tamworth Julia married Henry Watts Bailey and by 1884 Julia, Henry and their 3 children – Sarah, Edward and Herbert were living in Singleton, New South Wales. The young family’s life in Singleton was very difficult with Henry unable to find work.  Julia’s feelings of love for her husband are documented in numerous newspaper reports relating to Henry’s suicide in 1885; she was heartbroken.  

L to R: Edward, Sarah & Herbert Bailey
L to R: Edward, Sarah & Herbert Bailey

Julia showed strength and courage in equal portions during this time, moving the children moved back to Tamworth after Henry’s death and taking up work as a boarding house keeper at the Temperance Hotel (boarding house) to support them all.  The boarding house appears to have consisted of two buildings joined by a common wall.  On the Bourke Street side is a wide frontage building with ridge capping parallel to Peel Street.  On the Darling Street side is a taller and narrow fronted building of greater depth than the former with ridge capping at right angels to Peel street.  The Temperance Hotel was built in 1877 but there is no record of it’s builder, owner or first proprietor.  Either at first, or through later additions, the Hotel had 21 rooms.  It is during this period of her life that she met a Salvation Army Minister and Farmer by the name of Franz Frederick Thomsen (known as Frank).  They married on 28 Oct 1889, going on to have 6 children together – Sophia, Florence, Frederick, Hans, Alice & Aubrey.  There is a  lithograph picture which shows the boarding house bearing Mrs Thomsen’s name, although they have her name wrong it should read J. Thomsen Proprietor, or J & F Thomsen at the very least!

Temperance Hotel
Temperance Hotel

Through my grandfather I know that whilst Julia was a strong woman, she was also a loving and devoted mother to all of her nine children.  She and her second husband Frank Thomsen shared both their faith and many happy times together, until his death in 1920.  After Frank’s death Julia lived for  while with my grandparents  Edward Thomas & Ines Maude Bailey in Broughton Street, Croydon and also her daughter Florence Edith McCabe nee: Thomsen.

Julia made headlines in newspapers at the age of 90 years, when she flew with her grand daughter, aviatrix Barbara Alice Hitchins, to Tasmania to visit family.  Even in her old age Julia displayed her courage, determination and adventurous spirit – qualities that shone at various times throughout her long life.

The Sydney Morning Herald. Saturday 6 Nov 1948, page 9
The Sydney Morning Herald. Saturday 6 Nov 1948, page 9

The following notice appeared in the funeral notices of a Sydney Newspaper

Mrs Julia Thomsen
formerly of Westdale

Mrs Julia Thomsen died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs McCabe, Kensington, at the age of 95 years. She is survived by her children Annie, Edward, Herbert, Sophia, Florence, James, Alice and Aubrey. William died some years ago, also her husband, Mr Frank Thomsen. Mrs Thomsen resided at Bective for many years, and later at Westdale, where she worked unceasingly for the Salvation Army. She spent her last years with her family in Sydney. She is buried at Rookwood Cemetery. Captain Lucas of the Salvation Army conducted the services.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Lyle Green Papers – Tamworth Historical Society

Tamworth Historical Society Archives

TROVE Digitised Newspapers – Australian Town and Country, Saturday 16 Apr 1892

NSW Dept. of Primary Industries

Personal Memories of Charlotte Beatson nee: Duncan (now deceased)

Posted in Stories

Ada Amelia Eliza Huff

Ada Amelia Eliza Huff
Ada Amelia Eliza Huff

What an absolutely gorgeous young woman!  Ada Amelia Eliza Huff was born in Melbourne, Victoria but moved to the Singleton area around the aged of 3 years.  You will note that the skirt that Ada is wearing shows that it has been mended.  I do not know the circumstances of the family but the mended skirt could imply that Ada’s family, whilst not destitute, were certainly not wealthy.

Ada met and married Michael Allsop, who was the son of convict Rowland Allsop at West Brook near Singleton, New South Wales on 1 Oct 1872.  There was no church at West Brook at the time so the marriage was most likely held at a private residence.

Ada and Michael had a small farm at Mitchells Flat and grew tobacco, potatoes, grapes and corn.  They would give the grandchildren a penny for every hundred grubs they caught on the tobacco plants as there was no insecticide back then.  The family tell stories of Ada sneaking away every now and again to smoke a clay pipe!

Ada and Michael had 12 children together:

  1. Sarah Jane b. 11 Apr 1874
  2. Arthur George b. 9 Nov 1875
  3. Lucy Elizabeth b. 19 Apr 1878
  4. Ada Ellen b. 23 Apr 1880
  5. Mary Louisa b. 24 Oct 1882
  6. Rowland Michael b. 14 Sept 1883
  7. Rhoda Margaret b. 11 Oct 1886
  8. Mabel Alice b. 29 May 1889
  9. Ethel b. 3 Nov 1891
  10. Amelia May b. 3 Nov 1891
  11. Sophia Eliza b. 10 Oct 1893
  12. Cyrus Clarence b. 17 Dec 1896
Ada and Michael Allsop - date unknown
Ada and Michael Allsop – date unknown

As you can imagine, having such a large family and helping on the farm kept Ada very busy!

Ada Allsop - 25 Dec 1933 just a month before her death
Ada Allsop – 25 Dec 1933 just a month before her death

Sadly little else is known of Ada.  She passed away  on 21 Jan 1934 in Singleton, New South Wales.

Posted in Stories

Please Meet Mr. and Mrs. Brett & Courtney Preston

Sometimes I have to pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming!  My family are truly blessed; Terry and I have two wonderful sons, both now married to amazing, strong and loving women.  Our youngest son Brett Marcus Preston married the love of his life Courtney Amber Stein in a beautiful civil service on Saturday 5 Mar 2016.  The setting for the service, (The Pavilion at Nemingha) was just stunning, and was only outdone by the beauty of the bride on the day. 

Brett and Courtney Reciting Their Vows
Brett and Courtney Reciting Their Vows

The heat on the day, some 38 degrees,  meant that the wedding guests sort any available shade whilst listening to these young people recite their vows, but it couldn’t wipe the smiles from the faces of the bride and groom as they committed their lives to each other. 

Brett and Courtney Preston
Brett and Courtney Preston

We love you both and can only hope that your life will be as loving and blessed as Terry’s and mine has been. 

Terry and Julie - Proud Parents of the Groom and new In-Laws to his Bride
Terry and Julie – Proud Parents of the Groom and new In-Laws to his Bride


Wedding Vows – Photograph by Stacy McHattan (Family Friend)

Brett and Courtney – photograph by Adena Davy (Brett’s Cousin) 

Julie and Terry Preston – Photograph by Stacy McHattan (Family Friend)

Posted in Photo Gallery

McGrath Family Photo’s

There are some families that just do not seem to have many photo’s, and the McGrath family is one of them.  Florence May McGrath is my husband’s grandmother and she was born on 31 Mar 1896, John Joseph (b. 1871) & Eva Eileen (b. 1875) McGrath nee: White being the parents of Florence, and my husbands great, great grandparents.

The family have predominantly come from the Forbes/West Wyalong area of New South Wales.  The family moved to the Tamworth area sometime after 1896 when Florence was born, and before 1913 when she was Confirmed in the area. At the time of her Confirmation Florence’s parents were living at Somerton, New south Wales which is not far from Tamworth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Interviews With Living Family Members

Glenn Di Salvia – Interview Part 3

18 Dec 2015
18 Dec 2015


Has being in your 40’s changed the way you ride, does it restrict what you can do, has it affected your training? 

I think as I get older I’m not as flexible as the younger people, or I have to work on it more. Injuries take longer to heal, for instance I tore my calf muscle last Christmas while running too far with tight calves, have rolled a few ankles running on rough trails and a few issues with my ITB which causes a lot of pain in the knee while trying to run. But stretching and some basic exercises helps to minimize these issues. With cycling I struggle, at times, to keep up with younger riders in short sharp efforts requiring a high heart rate, but then they usually struggle to stay with me on long efforts requiring a higher level of endurance.

How has your wife Jodi and the children supported your sport? 

Jodi travelled to the first few events with me but only saw me at the start and finish line with 4-6hrs to fill in between. The family came to a few local races but after several events found it difficult to fill in the hours between starting and finishing times. They were there to support me at the 8hr MTB enduro when I finished in 2nd place, each lap (10 laps) they had some food ready for me and a full water bottle to grab. The kids were excited about my position on the leader board so wouldn’t let me stop too long and gave me lots of encouragement.  At times I felt like stopping for a while but Jodi and the kids wouldn’t let me, so I owe my 2nd place to them.

My son Clayton has done a few Adventure Races with me, with us both even getting a bit of TV time on the TV program ‘Sydney Weekender’ at one of our races. We both travelled to Canberra early this year for a MTB race which he enjoyed and did well in.

Glenn and Family L to R: Abbie, Jodie, Glenn, Brierley and Clayton
Glenn and Family
L to R:
Abbie, Jodie, Glenn, Brierley and Clayton

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time in terms of sport? 

I currently race against men in their 50’s and 60’s, even getting beaten by them occasionally in local club cycling races and all the other events I do.  My hope is that I will still be doing what I am now, and if I’m lucky I will be just as fast or competitive.

One goal or event on my “bucket list” is a race called XPD and it is run in Australia every 18mths. They are run all around the world by different companies. This race will be held in the Shoalhaven region on the south coast of New South Wales in November 2016 and will be the Adventure Racing World Championships. XPD is Australia’s own expedition length adventure race. Teams of four competitors from around the globe trek, mountain bike, and kayak for five to ten days in this world renowned expedition. These adventure competitors race continuously day and night, over a 700km course pushing themselves to the ultimate limits of human endurance.

5. How do you think you have benefited from participating in sport at this level?

I believe there has been many benefits since starting to run, cycle and compete in various types of races.

I have learnt a lot about myself, my body and what I can achieve, or how far I can push myself. When I started contemplating my first Adventure Race I knew I could run, ride and kayak but putting them all together and racing for about 5hrs….. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But within a few years of my first race I was doing this for 24hrs non-stop. I’ve learnt how to think in a much more positive way. It’s easy for your mind to tell you that you can’t do something or it’s too hard; it’s all about changing your mindset and thinking positively – knowing that you can do it and nothing is too hard or impossible. When things get tough and you feel like stopping or quitting instead of focusing on the finish line many miles or several hours away I set short goals for instance, getting to the next checkpoint or the next corner on a long climb. One particularly tough ride in France was a 40km climb with nearly 3000m elevation, the last 5km got steeper and was very tough. I was setting goals to reach the next km sign and from the last 2km point I just kept trying to reach the next white guide post every 100m was a challenge.

I’ve even learnt a little about the anatomy of the body, how different muscles work, how certain muscle groups work together and ways of helping to relieve sore, tight muscles through stretching or using a foam roller – which is not fun!

Participating in these sports encourages a healthier lifestyle and diet. I find I have a much higher energy level. Once or twice a year I generally take a small group of fit and healthy teenagers aged between 15 and 18 years on a 2-3 day hike in remote bushland, carrying all our own gear. The teenagers tend to be surprised that I am always waiting for them at the top of a long steep climb, smiling & ready to push on. I try to motivate them and push them along towards the end of the day when they are getting tired and their energy levels are dropping.

Before I started racing the words calories, carbohydrates and protein didn’t mean much… I just ate food. I am now much more aware of what I eat day to day. During short events of up to 6hrs energy bars and sports gels supply enough fuel for the race but races of over 12hrs require much more planning with food.  Although you can survive on bars and gels eating real food is much better and easier on your stomach. My race partner used mostly bars and energy gels in our first 24hr event and regretted it, they left a bad taste in his mouth for days.

I use sandwiches, both wholemeal and white for low and high GI carbs, with fillings like banana, banana with honey, jam.  I found peanut butter sandwiches don’t work as it is too dry and took me around 2km to eat it while running plus, I needed to consume more water. Pre-made vegetarian pasta or rice meals like a chickpea curry for the later stages of the race work well. Some fruit like bananas & apples are always nice; mixed dried fruits and figs also work well. The Up & Go food drinks are good.  Drinking plenty of electrolyte is also important to replace salts and minerals lost during sweating, and to help prevent cramping. They also contain carbohydrates to help maintain energy levels. I always carry a few energy bars and sports gels as a backup if needed.  eating enough carbs during the race and even carb loading for a few days prior to  a long event can also take place. Carb loading generally involves eating quality pasta or rice meals.

I’ve learnt about glycogen (energy) stores in your body and how important it is to eat to replenish your carbohydrates during a ride of more than a few hrs. It is very unpleasant when you “hit the wall” or “bonk”, it comes on quite suddenly and is very demoralising. You might be happily cruising along at 35-40km/hr when you quickly drop to feeling totally exhausted and struggling to ride at 15km/hr. There is no choice but to stop, rest and eat something with a high sugar content.  It’s then a slow tough ride home or a pick up if my wife feels sorry enough for me.  After depleting your glycogen levels to this point there is no way you could ride or train again the next day.  It can take up to 2 days to recover and feel reasonably good again on the bike.

This is the final part of our interview with Glenn Roy Di Salvia. I want to say a special thanks to Glenn and Jodie for agreeing to the “interview”, as it was a lot of fun to work on together.


Lead Photo –

Posted in About Me

The Family History Writing Challenge – My Wedding Day part 2

Signing the Marriage Register
Signing the Marriage Register

Over the last week or so The Family History Writing Challenge has been discussing scene and summary, the difference between the two, and how to make the most of both.  We have also learned about the “story middle” and how to create tension and interest through the finding of obstacles, how to transition from a crisis point where the person in the story reaches their lowest point, to the climax where the person in the story regroups and finds the strength to overcome the obstacles and move forward.  I have tried to apply this format to the story of my wedding day by:

  • Using scene and summary to transition from one home to another
  • Using dialogue between major characters on the day to create the first obstacle
  • Using scene and dialogue to increase the tension of an additional obstacle

Here is what I have come up with for the “middle” of my story.  Although I am of the opinion that it still needs some work, I am wanting to move forward to the next phase, so will come back to this passage during the editing process.

As I walked into my in-laws house I was immediately struck by the chaotic racket and bustle within. There were people in every room, all talking at once in excited tones. Hairstyles were being created in the main bedroom, the lounge room was a meeting place for all manner of women having their makeup done, Noelene was lovingly pressing my bridal gown in the kitchen, and seated at the dining room table were four hefty groomsmen hungrily devouring a large tray of freshly made sandwiches. The rooms were filled with the heady scent of summer and feminine perfumes.

“Julie, I think we’ve got a problem with the bridesmaids hairstyles,” my sister Kellie said as she guided me into the bedroom.

“Gen, what have you done to your hair?” Words failed me as I stood in front of Gen, appalled at the sight of what she had done to herself.

“I told you I didn’t want to wear my hair that way, so I had it cut off!” Genevieve declared.

“But you’ve got a crew cut. Suzie won’t be able to do anything at all with that,” I wailed.

I turned and walked from the room just as the tears started to well. How could Gen cut her hair so short the morning of my wedding? All three other bridesmaids had shoulder length hair that had been prettily flicked from their faces in the Farrah Fawcett-Majors, devil-may-care style which was all the rage.

Genevieve had been a friend for the previous 10 months and we had shared funny moments and tears in that time.  Gen was a dressmaking and millinery teacher at the local TAFE College and she was to have made the bridesmaids dresses, but when there had been no calls for fittings I had started to worry.  Just four short weeks out from my wedding day she had let me know that she had changed her mind about making the dresses.  I had come face to face with the realisation that Gen had not been the friend that I had thought she was, and I was left with the mammoth task of finding four bridesmaids dresses in my favourite apricot tones that would be available for hire. 

I stood in the middle of the stuffy lounge room, shocked to the core that Gen would let me down yet again!

Terry watched helplessly as the tears trickle down my cheeks.  He gave me a cuddle and then quietly and gently said “Jules, someone’s stolen all the car decorations”.  I just stood in the lounge room, gaping at him.

“Who the hell would do something like that?” I howled. Tears flowed in earnest now, coursing their way over cheeks and chin. All I could think of in that split second was that my wedding day was disintegrating around me.  Firstly, a wayward bridesmaid that I was sure had managed to ruin my idea of how the wedding photos should look, and now there were five bridal cars  sitting outside the house with no decoration. I truly believed my wedding day was in chaos, and just an hour before we were due at the church. Tears flowed, and I was so panicked I could hardly breath, when my gorgeous sister Kellie put her arms around my shoulders and whispered “I think I can fix this.”

I stood gazing at her in disbelief as Kellie spent precious minutes telephoning her recently married friend to see if she still had the decorations from her wedding day. As luck would have it she not only had the ribbon, tulle and flowers, but also a tulle swan for the bridal car.

“Julie you have to finishing getting ready or you will be way to late to the church!  I’ll go with Terry to get the decorations and be back in no time at all”, Kellie promised.

Posted in Interviews With Living Family Members

Glenn Di Salvia – Interview Part 2

18 Dec 2015
The ….. Event 18 Dec 2015

In the second part of our interview with Glenn Di Salvia he talks about riding and white water rafting in some of the world’s most rugged, and yet spectacular places. Follow his journeys with me as he rides through France, and competes in Tasmania…. 

What are the two most interesting competitions that you have been entered in and did they involve travel either within or outside Australia?

Since deciding in 2008 that I wanted to get a bit fitter I never imagined where it would take me, or the things I would accomplish. I would have to say that 2012 has been the highlight of the last 7 years!

In July of 2012 I flew to France with my bike and about 16 other cyclists from my bike club, Sydney and Newcastle. We spent 8 days in the French Alps staying at Alpe d’Huez and riding every day. We rode down into the valley below us and up into a different area each day climbing different mountains. Our toughest day on the bike was when we rode up one mountain then another behind it to Col du Galibier, climbing nearly 3000m in 45km. It was the middle of summer with temperatures in the mid 30’s in the valley, but windy and freezing up the top of the mountain and with snow along the road. It was a fun and fast 50km ride back to the starting point which was mostly all downhill. We watched the Tour de France on television most afternoons and rode out to one of the mountains to watch the Tour and see the riders come up the mountain and past us – that was pretty awesome!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photograph Descriptions: 

1.  On our Way – On our way to see a stage of the Tour in the mountains. We rode up into the mountains then followed the river below us for maybe 10-15km then up this next climb, some stunning views along the way. 

2.  Finally at the top – We rode about 60km to get here, people getting their spots along the road waiting for the riders to come through in around 3hrs time.

3.  Team Sky Riders – Tasmanian Richie Porte leading Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, in yellow. 

4.  Villages – There is a village on the edge of the mountain just left of centre of the photo which we rode through a few times. Another small village across to the right just slightly higher, then another above that which is Alpe d’Huez where we stayed for 8 nights. You can see the road which zig zags 14km up the mountain from the valley below, we rode up this numerous times. 

5.  Finally – Finally at the top of one of the famous climbs in the French Pyrenees. 

6.  Rural France – A unique little village we rode though in the lower drier region of rural France. We spent 3 nights in Carpentras.

From the Alps we drove to a rural area for 3 days of riding, and then south to the Pyrenees for 10 days. More days spent riding different mountains with tough climbs and amazing scenery. Looking at the stunning scenery helps take your mind off the pain your legs are going through on the long climbs. The rides weren’t overly long, 80 to 120km, but with the amount of climbing done it was tough.  After 21 days of riding and 1,830km with 32,335metres of elevation my legs were pleased to pack the bike away.

Then in November of 2012 my team mates Christophe, Eric and I were sponsored by Rexona to compete in the 5 day Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge and our team name was “Rexona No Quit”. Our entry was paid ($9500) and flights to Launceston with return from Hobart. This challenge included a lot of training in the months leading up to the event.  Day1 which was 27th Nov 2012, was around Launceston starting with a run/rogaine followed by white water rafting, a mountain bike ride, a kayak paddle, another mountain bike leg, finishing in Launceston with another run.  This was done in 8hr and 40min.  All this was done whilst navigating our way around by map and collecting 67 Check Points!

Tasmania White Water
White Water Rafting Section of Day One in Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge

Day 2 was very long with just over 11hrs of racing which included a tough 22km climb on the mountain bike to the top of the mountain in Ben Lomond National Park, followed by a 25-30km run around the top of the mountain – which was much tougher than expected – followed by another long mountain bike leg, 12km kayak paddle down the river, then another 7km run to the finish. We covered around 90km again and moved up into 2nd position on this day.

Glenn On A Run
Glenn On A Run

The next 2 days were on the East Coast of Tasmania, around St Marys and Binnalong Bay.  There were a few ocean paddles and some snorkelling that was added at this point, which was on top of the normal legs. The final day – the 5th – was held at Hobart with a cold 4 degrees C start on top of Mt Wellington.  It was a great day of racing which we finished in only 7hrs to retain our position in 3rd place.  We were only 9min ahead of team “Qantas” from Singapore and around 5hrs behind team “Rexona” which had Olympic kayaker Ken Wallace and World Champion Triathlete Courtney Atkinson competing.

Ben Lomond Mountain Bike Track
Ben Lomond National Park Mountain Bike Track

It was a tough 5 days covering around 400km and with many highs and lows. We met a lot of great people, formed a few new friendships and enjoyed rubbing shoulders with various Olympic and World Champion athletes.

Of course, we were absolutely stoked with our achievement and surprised we did so well. There is a lot of tactics involved in these events though with marking out our route each night as the course is not marked, not taking a wrong turn or missing a Check Point which would incur a 3 hr penalty per Check Point missed.  We were presented with our trophy by Mark Webber at the presentation night.

Glen with Mark Webber
Presentation Night. l to R: Eric Charpentier, Glenn Di Salvia, Mark Webber (Formula 1 World Champ), Christophe Capel


Gary White Photography