Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dirty philosophy

Singletrack. The word brings goosebumps to the skin of any mountainbiker. The thin strip of dirt that weaves through  trees or rocks with barely space for the handlebars and your shoulders. You can rail it fast or it can be sketchy and scary enough to make you go home and write your will. Near misses, perfect lines and that one moment of bliss as all the elements and the stars line up to give you the feeling of flying. But its just dirt.
Like alchemy though when the parts are added together, logs, rocks, ruts and roots, it is transformed into so much more than the separate parts. You see the vistas flash by and you may meet the local fauna. It turns to gold. Just like alchemy.

Even if it doesn't all fall into place and you bin it on the first corner you still have that moment of wonder. Potential. That strip of dirt holds all the potential to be great, or to make you feel great, or scared, or exhausted. To simply feel.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Slogging through the weeks.

Each year the company I work for seems to be overrun with work from November to January. It means long days, heaps of overnight shifts and a generally very unhealthy lifestyle. It's hard to get a reasonable meal at 3am so the fast food joints get a hammering as does my digestive tract. By the end of the 3 weeks of madness I feel pretty average. This last couple of days I have had a stomach virus and if thats not bad enough so have the kids.
I still have one more week of the really bad stuff to go but at least that means I am more than half way through it. I'm looking forward to Christmas in Melbourne with family and a side trip to Mount Beauty for a couple of days riding and relaxing. Whoa, I can hardly wait! Watching my kids and their cousins open presents is always a blast too. It resembles that cartoon character the Tassie devil and what happens as he enters a room. A cross between a tornado and a typhoon with a pinch of nuclear explosion thrown in for the carnage factor. Fun.
All this hassle will make the holiday feel even better. I'm looking forward to spending time with Alison and the boys and I haven't been to visit my inlaws in Melbourne for years. I just can't wait.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just an update, nothing dramatic.

I finally got to ride on Sunday. Just a short run out to Cedar Creek near Samford. But what a beautiful run it turned out to be. Perfect weather, my MP3 player and my old faithful road bike.
Its only about 46km round trip to Cedar Creek with a few small but steep climbs along the way. You pass over "the range" between Ferny Grove and Samford first up, descend down to Samford and turn onto Dayboro Road for a few K's of relatively flat but quite busy road. Once you manage that you hit Cedar Creek Road itself. Just beautiful. Open farm lands to start with a nice quiet road and a few friendly dogs (yep, they really are friendly!) to see you along. Theres horses and cattle and even a few sheep to break up the monotony until you hit the lush sub tropical forest in the foothills of Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious. You get up to the top of the road before turning around and are rewarded with the sound of running water, huge boulders and masses of birdsong. I sat there for half an hour.

The cool water on my feet was unreal and really refreshed me before I set off for the return trip home. A chocolate muesli bar, a couple of swigs on the water bottle and I was off again. Wow. I pumped it back home. Theres a really nasty little pinch climb back over the range to finish off the ride. Normally I would ease back into a rythm and grin and bear it till I made the top but this time, I nailed it. I sat at a high cadence and flew up past a guy half way up the hill. I still had heaps in the tank. I felt positive and strong, tired but refreshed and basically grounded.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It aint all lemonade and skittles....

As some of you may know, I have had a bit of a battle with depression for the last couple of years. Well with a build up of work stress, little time to spend with my family and a heap of commitments weighing me down the black dog has reared its ugly head again.
By no means is this the kind of deep seated sadness that slapped me down and made me beg for mercy 18 months ago. It's more the lethargic, couldn't give a rats kind of feeling that makes getting off the couch hard and for me, reduces my tolerance levels to the negatives. I feel guilty for being grumpy, the guilt takes so much energy that I feel tired and the lack of energy stops me feeling as though I can work through it to feel good again. I am pretty lucky though.
With the help of family, good friends and a good psychologist I can see that the feelings are only temporary and I can get through them and regain my balance. I write about the good stuff here. The stuff like the riding, my son getting better and the good times we have as a family because well, thats the stuff I want to talk about. But I don't want anyone to think I don't have bad days. Life isn't all lemonade and skittles. It can get you down and make a day seem like a year but the trick is to grab those skittles when they are there and gobble them up. Take a swig of the lemonade to wash it down. Repeat.