Monday, May 31, 2010

Living On A Little Too Much Information.

This is my second year of competitive cycling. Things are pretty different this time around. This time around I get up early in the morning in order to do a bunch of stretches and core strengthening exercises (some of which occur on a gigantic purple exercise ball). I barely go to shows. I've abandoned the brick-shaped breakfast cereal that served me well for over fifteen years in order to include more protein in my diet. I don't buy records. I go to bed early. When I go out for a ride I wear a heartrate monitor. I do ergo sessions on the indoor trainer on a Tuesday night, rather than race track. On Wednesday nights I go to pilates class, then get a massage.

Last year, when I was just learning the ropes, I was training hard, but it was like an addition to my regular life. This year I'm training smarter, and my regular life looks a bit different. I mean, that's ok. It's just different. And if it results in me going faster, well, that's pretty good. If not, well, I guess things are going to have to change yet again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Up On Scrap Metal Hill.

Yes, I know you're excited. More info here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Every Ache.

I was going to write about my new heart rate monitor tonight, and how this year my aim is to train smarter, but then this song came on the stereo and derailed everything.

Instead I started thinking about all the time I spent standing on the side of that highway, waiting for some car to stop and pick me up. Mostly thinking about the first time I lived in Canada, before I shacked up with Kim H. I was based in Kingston, which isn't really anywhere, but which is close enough to everywhere else to make you want to go there. Standing on the side of that road, heading through the rocks and scrub of the Great Canadian Shield, heading east to Montreal - or beyond that, even, all the way to Halifax - there was a sense of opening up, of possibilities that grew broader and broader with each passing kilometre. The country was vast and the people generous. I felt like I could travel into open space forever.

I told you that story so I could tell you another one. When I lived in Kingston I was friends with a bunch of people from all around the world. We'd been thrown together by our shared circumstances and were making a pretty good job of it. A few weeks in and I'd never had better friends. One night, however, a bunch of girls from the UK weren't present.

"Where's Maggie and KA and them?" I asked Texas Pete.
"They've gone to Toronto to pick up Gwyn."

(I'm not making these names up)

"What? How come? What happened?"
"I'm not sure. She called up, and they all went and hired a car then drove off."
"Yeah, right. Ok."

I often wonder about that drive. It was the middle of winter. As they set off they must've been nervous, driving that one straight line into a strange country, into a situation they weren't quite sure of. The quiet probably set in pretty early on. They would've looked at each other in the lights of passing trucks, watched as the condensation from their breath settled on the inside of the window, then turned to ice. But then I imagine some nervous chatter, some song they all know coming on the radio, some sense of purpose establishing itself with each truckstop and Tim Horton's. I wonder what they talked about, what stories they told each other in order to stay awake.

I don't remember any more of the story than this. I don't know what happened when they arrived, or even what happened when they returned. There's some stupid poem written about it in my journal, that's all. So I can tell you the date. It was the 30th of January, 2001.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Smell A Riot Goin On.

Sometimes, out riding on muddy trails, you look like you ate shit, even when you didn't. Damoh probably wouldn't get so much dirt in his teeth if he wasn't always smiling while riding.

The Woods Point ride HMC had been planning fell through - due in part to me being slightly under the weather - but this meant that I was supposed to ride a road race today. In anticipation of three days on the SSCX bike, however, I'd taken my road bike in for a service. Two strikes. So I figured that a decent blast on the Yarra Trails would do the trick. So the word went out - 8.30 meetup at the Guide Dogs, 4hrs minimum. Rolling over the Chandler Highway bridge I was happy to see that eight men had answered the call. This included four riders on CX bikes. Those four were going to have a hard day.

The extra time up our collective mud-caked sleeves meant that we were able to keep going into Westerfolds, which must be the raddest place I've ever ridden. Twisty tangly singletrack heaven. The four on CX bikes were now three, and those three were having a rough time of it - with the exception of Jeremy, who was totally schooling me up those hills. Dan's excellent advice had me bashing through the puddles with more confidence, however, and I was able to keep up with him most of the time. Huw, on the other hand, was destroying the trails, and as such spent a lot of time waiting for the rest of us muppets to catch up.

For the first time in recent memory I managed to stay upright on the dirt. Of course, this is a technicality - one time, fucking up my line through a puddle, I lost it altogether and fell on Dan. He didn't seem to mind, and I escaped the day crash free. No small part of me coming out of this ride unscathed was the bike I was riding - in anticipation of this next weekend, DC loaned me a sweet Specialized XC, with gears, fat tyres and suspension front and back. It fucking ruled. Sure, dualies have a reputation for being the bike most chosen by fat old dudes, but man, it made those trails so much easier. And, like DC said when I picked it up, if the technology exists, why not use it?