Steve, another medico cyclist, hails from Kurrajong which prides itself on a few good climbs, including an 8km Bellbird Hill, and the steeper but shorter Bowen Mountain which finishes with a 'killer' 840m up Warks Rd.
TravelDoc gained his label many moons ago working on International Medical Retrievals when expats and tourists get sick offshore.
Together 38 other Australians, TravelDoc completed in August '05 the pinnacle of endurance cycling endeavours, the gruelling 1,250km Paris Brest Paris on a Optima Baron lowracer. The recumbent, or Bent, is most popular in the US, but is gaining favour in OZ, not only for its comfort but its blistering speed due to less wind drag.
Below is Steve's snapshot of a surreal 2003 pilgrimage to Paris:
Steve Cooper, Kurrajong
If you want to pump yourself to follow in Ian Humphrey's, Glenn Drury's and Steve's footsteps and train for the 2007 PBP, take a squiz of Steve's full account at Obligatory post-ride report, PBP 2003.
TravelDoc was in Northern India for 4 weeks during June/July '06 riding his custom-built Reynolds steel expedition touring bike.
Himachal Pradesh, the old Punjab, in Northern India, provides some of the tallest mountains, and highest roads on the planet. Those peaks, or the passes thru 'em, are seriously steep.
Steve went on this epic adventure with his local buddy, Jean-Pierre. The intrepid duos' cycling followed a typical 2 day repeating pattern:
Get up at 6am. Ride about 2,000m up a precipitous pass for about 6 hours. Take pics at the summit, and recover, for about 30 min. Scoot down the other side about 1,500 to 1,800m until a good camping site was found. Next day a leisurely ride to the base of the next big pass. Camp again. Repeat the above.
Most of us have cycled memorable mountains. But this pic of TravelDoc amidst the base of the Himalayas, can't be beat.
Slowly but surely Steve and Jean-Pierre gained altitude in a far off wilderness.
The final pass was "Kardung La", the highest in the world at 5,600m. To quote TravelDoc's fleeting SMS updates, "Man, the air was thin up there. My fingers were blue. I took a swing out of water bottle and sealed it. When I got to the bottom that water bottle was crushed like one of Julius Sumner Miller's physics experiments."
Steve, who has completed a 1,250km PBP and has lived to recount escapades in the highest mountains in India, attests that his cycling batteries are charged for another challenge in far off places.
Steve's counts his trusty (single front chain-ring) off-road custom-built Reynolds steel expedition touring bike at far off _ _ _ DOG PHARKA amongst his most dependable allies. Not unsurprisingly, when you are out in the enema of the earth, your bike is a prized partner. It might be a heck of an adrenaline thrill, but _ _ _ DOG PHARKA is short on creature comforts.
Where the heck is PHARKA? The joint is called KHARDOG PHARKA, with the pair of shorts thrown over to cover the pre DOG letters. It is about 15km north of the Khardung La. The above road sign points to a small village on the other side of a deep ravine. Steve looked up a Ladahki dictionary subsequent to his visit and learnt that "pharka" literally means "the other side" and "dog" means "colour".
TravelDoc's next cycling "step over the edge" challenge is planned for Bolivia/Chile/Argentina around 2009. Steve welcomes e-mails from fellow cyclists with the balls for it. Scribe is better than 50% chance of joining Steve's contingent, 'cause by 2009 any jolly Phil manages to conjure from endless banking bullshit will have dissipated, and the far off mountains of Sth America will be like candy to a kid. Golly Gosh the above pic of Steve at the base of a panorama of the foyer of the Himalayas is priceless. TravelDoc wouldn't trade it for squillions, his visit to far off lands that can't be properly described unless you are there amongst 'em. So if you come across Steve, or is wilderness buddy, Jean Pierre, suss 'em out on joining the El Tour de Sth America in a couple of years.