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November 11, 2010
IF YOU see WGCDR Dominic
Sims out on his mountain-bike
in the Canberra sun or rain in the
next few months, there's no need
to feel sorry for him.
Chances are he will be training
for a return to one of the world's
most spectacular mountain bike
endurance events, the Transalps
event, in 2012.
WGCDR Sims, of the Defence
Materiel Organisation in Canberra,
was the envy of many of the ADF
mountain bike fraternity in July
when he participated in the 600km
eight-day race that followed the Alps
from Germany to Italy, via Austria
If you're into pleasure and pain,
this is the race for you.
This year it started in the
shadow of Neuschwanstein, Mad
King Ludwig's fairytale castle at
the very northern edge of the Alps
It finished with a 1000m
descent into Riva del Garda. In
the space of 15 minutes, the rid-
ers moved from cool, damp alpine
pine forest to olive groves and the
baking heat of the Mediterranean
In between, there were 19,500
metres of climbing.
"The climbing was lung-bust-
ing, the descents were astonishing,"
WGCDR Sims said. "The scenery
was spectacular and the hospitality
of the small alpine towns and vil-
lages absolutely wonderful."
There were almost 1200 riders
from 34 countries, among them a
friend from the Australian Army,
LTCOL Steve Salvestro.
"With the exception of a few
short sections of insanely technical
THE SCENIC ROUTE:
WGCDR Dominic Sims
follows the leader.
single-track, the majority of the rid-
ing was not technically demanding.
The route is mostly fire-trail, bike
paths and gravel and bitumen roads.
What the Transalps really tests is
your climbing fitness and courage
in descending at speed. Steve and I
both rode dual suspension bikes -- we
both cursed every extra gram on every
climb, and loved every bit of extra
travel on the descents."
And here's why WGCDR Sims
hasn't quite ticked off the race.
Still not back to full fitness after
ALPINE WAY: WGCDR Dominic Sims traverses the cool, damp alpine forest.
surgery, he had to sit out
days four and five of the
race this year.
"By the end of day
three I was pretty tired
-- the warm-up ride the
next morning let me
know in no uncertain
terms that my ride
that day was already
over. Everything hurt --
joints, muscles, the lot.
And I had no energy,
the legacy of not really
understanding just how
careful you need to be in replacing the
energy you burn each day.
"With a spot of help from the race
physio staff (and a couple of large pasta
meals) I managed to get back into the
saddle for day six and managed to ride
the last three days of the race."
So that's the thing. The motiva-
tion. He wants to go back and do
the whole thing next time. All eight
WGCDR Sims is leaving the
Air Force in March and plans to
settle in Glasgow with his British
Army wife in the middle of next
Until he reaches the Scottish
hills, you will most likely find
him checking out all the inclines
and declines Canberra has to
"I hate not finishing some-
thing I set out to do. I am, how-
ever, wise enough to realise the
Transalps is not just another
multi-day bike ride that I can sur-
vive on residual fitness -- there's a
lot of training to be done between
now and July 2012."
The hills are alive with the sound of whirring wheels and WGCDR Dominic Sims wants more. John Martin reports
THE SCENIC ROUTE:
SOUTH Australian basketballers are not let-
ting the grass grow under their feet with the
cancellation of this year's national titles.
On October 17, 11SQN, captained by CPL
Hong Le, challenged the South Australian
Defence Basketball (SADB) team to a friendly
game at RAAF Base Edinburgh.
SADB, drawing from the best Air Force,
Army and APS players, scored a 44-38 win.
LAC Scott Benyon (SADB) led all scorers
with 18 points, followed by CPL Adam Ingall
(11SQN) with 14 and CPL Scott Columbus
(11SQN) with 10.
11SQN throws down
Finding time to unwind in South Korea
Left, SQNLDR Roy
Philpott and LCDR Kim
determine who will bat
first during a softball
match between 11SQN
and 613SQN during
Endeavour last month.
The host South Korean
team won. Right, SGT
Michael Kowald pitches
Photo: LAC Glynn Jones
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