Friday, July 24, 2009

We Need A Different Point Of View.

I'm pretty picky about how I learn how to do things. Generally I read a lot, watch a few people do it, then attempt to figure it out from there. Occasionally I'll ask people for help, but the minute they get too didactic teenage Brendan steps in and stops listening altogether. I'm pretty picky, therefore, about who I ask for help. So trying to find a coach over the past few months has been difficult. I've come pretty far with my cycling over the past ten or so months - particularly on the track - and am keen to keep on improving at the same rate. But reading a lot, watching folks, then attempting to figure it out myself isn't going to cut it. I simply don't know enough, and the ridiculous deluge of information on the internet isn't specific enough to help. So I'm left in the situation I find myself in right now: still improving, but frustrated that I'm not improving faster. Thirty years of knee-jerk reaction, stubbornness and bloody-minded independence have brought me to this point. And I thought it would be my body that held me back.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Like Your Old Stuff.

From Picaresque #1:

"At times, I know, the community can seem cliquey, can be as isolating and alienating as it is embracing. But when you’re ten thousand miles from home, don’t know where to get vegan food, have had to explain straight edge to drunk kids a thousand times, and been faking enjoyment while dancing to some indiscriminate boy band for the past three weeks, to rock up at a show and feel a part of something seems to me to be exactly what punk rock is about. Eventually knowing half the people at the shows you go to, corresponding with the people who make the records you listen to, singing along to the same bands every week. It’s not everything, but it makes you feel, if only for a moment, that everything else – starbucks, the fashion industry, bus travel and seasickness, just to name a few – has fucked off to some other place and left you standing here, feeling alright."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Do What You Can Do With What You Got.

The thing about believing in things is that it's not enough. You have to act, and acting inevitably means sacrificing something. So maybe you shouldn't get married after all.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tonight In Jungleland.

The main reason I have so much fun track racing is not because I enjoy winning, although that doesn't hurt. No, for me the most fun nights are when there are different things going on, different strategies colliding together, and from the midst of that chaos a result is somehow produced. Different plans for different races succeed at different times, but the same plan can never be counted on to work every time. You have to mix it up, change it up, make it up as you go along. Last week, for example, I took off early in the scratch race, gained a couple of bike lengths and was able to hold off Stu Grimsey for the win. This week, however, the group was too fast, and that wasn't going to cut it. In the motorpace, after the motorbike had come off, I stuck to Josh Vicino's wheel until the last corner. I could hear Cuz Bro coming over the top of me - he breathes loudly - and knew that he'd outsprint me if he had a decent position. So I let myself veer out a little bit, edged him towards the fence and used the extra roll off the banking to pick up the extra speed I needed to get past Josh. It was totally different to what I'd managed the week before, and it worked out. I wouldn't have cared if it hadn't. The racing was sweet, and that's what keeps me coming back.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Who's Punk? What's The Score?

I don't know if you've noticed this, but I'm pretty cool. I listen to alternative music. I wear a lot of black. I have friends in successful underground bands. I ride a sweet fixie with suitably positioned stickers. I live in the inner city and spend a lot of time drinking coffee at totally hip cafes. I wrote a zine that was reviewed favourably in other zines. I occasionally attend parties and see B level Neighbours startlets getting drunk in the corner. I'm on the Three Thousand email list, and hell, even know some of the people who write it. I've been vegan since way before it was featured in partygirl diet plans. I read books that aren't about imaginary worlds, or, for that matter, fantasy child wizards. I have hundreds of friends on facebook. When I rock up to the velodrome, or to a road race out in the middle of butt fuck nowhere, I'm pretty certain that I'm the coolest person there.

But if this is the case, why do the jerks, douchebags, nerds and jocks and lame-os, internet dorks and dirty uncles, self-important pedants and angry narcissists who make up the majority of the cycling community keep fucking beating me? Could it be that I've entered some strange world where the values I've cultivated and held dear for years don't matter? Some weird world where success is determined by measures unknown to hipsters all across Brunswick? Where the fuck am I? What the fuck have I done? Do I have to find some red Sidis and click my heels three times to return everything to its rightful place? At some point am I going to wake up and discover it was all a dream?