Monday, January 17, 2011

You Came To Me Like A Cancer.

About a week before I get sick and fall in a heap I start to have a lot of bad thoughts about cycling. Really, I should've picked up the pattern before now - or at least Casey should've. The first time I find myself longing for some time away from the bike, or saying that I'm only going to race road or track next year (inversely dependent on the season), or even entertaining the thought of quitting altogether, she should immediately confine me to bed and start intravenously dosing me with Floradix and Vitamin C. She never does, though - mostly because instead of actually saying these things, I tend to keep them in my head, pushing them down until *insert important event that I've been overtraining for* is done and I end up on the couch watching Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

Thanks to my sister for the sweet Christmas present - I still can't believe she couldn't find a DVD copy of Excellent Adventure.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Get The News I Need From The Weather Report.

I did three PBs at the State Omnium Championships yesterday and it still wasn't enough to win the damn thing. And you know when you're building up to something big, then get sick as soon as it's over? Yeah, well, here I am. Sneezing so much that it's getting tough to make out the letters on the screen.

The details aren't all that interesting. I did a 1.10.55 in the kilo, knocking a good second off my former PB, and an 11.42 in the flying 200, taking 0.3 off my former PB there. I also had a crack at my first ever 3km pursuit, and did a 3.39.something, which would've put me on track for a 4.52 4km, and I would've been happy with that. The first scratch race knocked me off my pedestal a bit though - I must've got a bit cocky after the first two PBs, and went into the race with a gear that was once again a bit too heavy. I ended up with a fourth there, which sent me down the rankings. Serves me right for thinking I was better than the heat, the humidity and my own tired legs. Still, I managed to salvage a second place in the second scratch race (held instead of a points race due to the small numbers), which put me back on the podium - if only just - and had Greg Brunt referring to me as "the 3rd place specialist". Eleven hours in a skinsuit and another bronze medal. I think I'll spend today in bed to make amends.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bottled Violence

Aside from attempting to describe the indescribable - like love, or music, or how it feels to ride your bike really, really fast down a really, really steep hill - it's the poet's job to magnify seemingly innocuous events from their own childhood into incredibly meaningful turning points in their lives. And sometimes yours too. And while I'm no poet - as the four uses of the word "really" in the previous sentence attests - I am fond of attaching meaning to events that probably don't have any. As such, today I'm going to talk about the scar in the middle of my forehead. No, it's not a wrinkle.

I've already written about this scar - and, more specifically, the person who gave it to me - once before, in my now defunct zine. So I won't retell the entire story. But I can't help but wonder, however, if somehow this significant knock to my head altered my brain, and that it alone explains how different I am from my siblings, parents, grandparents and other extended family. No real desire for career or stability, terrible tendency to nitpick current affairs, absolutely no interest in reading the Herald-Sun (apart from on Sunday, when it seems to solely consist of cute pictures of animals). I'm patently not like any of them.

Well, I wasn't. While I did spend my twenties roaming around the globe, writing stories about my exgirlfriends for publication and chasing the extremely poetic and not entirely mutually exclusive notions of punk rock and love wherever I found them, now that I'm in my thirties I find myself comparing my life to my dad's more and more. While he had sired four children by the age of 31 - and I, too my knowledge, have sired none - he was a teacher (check) and played a lot of competitive sport (check). That last bit is the clincher. My dad was involved with the Stawell Tennis Club for most of my childhood, either in a playing or official capacity. As his knees gave out this shifted to the Stawell Golf Club, where he has pretty much performed every role possible, including working the bar for a period of time. And as I get older, and more involved in the Brunswick Cycling Club, I'm starting to think more and more about giving something back, about getting involved in the club after I stop racing. The only thing stopping me, at this point, is that knock to the head. Brains are funny things, however, and it seems the older I get the more mine gives in to genetics.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's The Story, What's Up With.

The Same Hot Blood.

My current coach used to coach Leigh Howard, and a while back he came to speak to us. I listened pretty hard, and one thing in particular stuck in my brain: that your motivation ebbs and flows. Some days you're so stoked to be riding that you even smile through your efforts, but other days you don't even want to look at your bike. This has been painfully true for me over the past few days. I kinda came off the Christmas Carnivals on a high, and felt like my form was exactly where it should be. But then I did the Bay Crits, where I battled it out with national-level cyclists, and where I wasn't quite as successful. I've been doubting my fitness ever since.

Ah, well. This is where that faith comes in. Whether it's true or not, I believe that if I keep working my ass off - on the bike, in the gym and in the studio - then I'll improve. I'll get some runs on the board and the results will come.

You know who knows about faith (especially the non-religious kind, which is the only variety I endorse)? The Boss.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

If You Can Want, You Can Need.

I was under the impression - after a pretty successful Christmas Carnivals throughout regional Victoria, in which I came 2nd in a Wheelrace and was rarely off the B grade podium - that I was in some pretty good form. I was proven incorrect in no uncertain terms during today's Portarlington stage of the Bay Crits. And hell, I was just riding the support race.

When I entered these races I gave myself two goals: stay upright, and get in a breakaway. Now, having come to a few grim realizations, I have new goals: stay upright, and finish a race. Because if I do, Sean the Man has to buy me a Coke.