Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Little Relief.

As I was leaving school today, to start two weeks holidays, my boss told me not to think too much. "I never do," I replied, which we both know is untrue. Well, usually untrue. What I was trying to write in this post is that when I'm training and racing a lot, I stop thinking so much, mostly due to exhaustion. Despite the side effects - poor conversational skills, annoyingly singular focus, egocentricism - it feels fucking good.

We Can Ride It Together.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's People Who've Been Through What You've Been Through.

I went down to the start of the Roobaix at the Hawthorn Velodrome yesterday, and it was totally, totally rad. Eight hundred people on all manner of bikes, all psyched to be spending a day riding around the city. The vibe was pretty damn positive. I checked in for myself and Casey, chatted to a few folks, then fucked off out to the Dandenongs for the next four hours, telling everyone I'd meet them at the end.

But I didn't go. Down in Hawthorn everyone was in a good mood, but I was kinda tetchy. With the four hours of thinking time that immediately followed, I had some time to figure out why. It was because I should've been training. Now that I'm no longer sick I'm getting fitter weekly, and my focus is beginning to sharpen in harmony with that. I'm looking forward to training sessions rather than dreading them, I'm slimming down, I'm feeling better and better. But within this I'm getting worse and worse at conversing, have less hours to hang out with people, and am tired most of the time. It's a trade-off that I do enjoy making, because I enjoy the way that I start thinking about cycling, but it's not without its downsides.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Here Comes The Tiger Versus Crane.

Hey Chaz, I'm not always sick. It's only that when I'm sick I can't train, so have a lot more time to write in this here blog. And I tend to complain about being sick a lot. Eitherway, everybody knows about it. When I'm training I just quietly go about my business, and nobody knows about it. Ah, well.

Today I went to train on some of the sweet stationary bikes that they have in the gym, and I was all ready to go, but neither Heavy Metal James nor I could get the pedals off the fucking things. I was pretty pissed for a while, but then let it go. One more missed session won't ruin my entire winter. Especially because during the coming school holidays shit is going to get very real. Five four hour sessions a week, three of them in the hills, with a few extra, smaller sessions thrown in for good measure. I gotta say, I'm a little nervous, but also pretty damn excited. I'm healthy, I'm in good order, I'm raring to go. Casey and I are going to head up into the home country for the first week of the break, and I'm going to do those hills sessions in my old stamping ground, the Grampians. It'll be just like when I was fifteen, and I'd borrow a mountainbike from somebody and roll around those firetrails and switchbacks for hours at a time. Perhaps I'll get a walkman and a Nine Inch Nails tape, just to make the picture complete.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tear The Whole Fucking Thing Down.

Today I got dropped. Again. Out at Footscray this time, which was a nice change. By guys who I've previously soundly beaten. And it wasn't what I'd been eating (or not eating), it wasn't my bike fit, it wasn't a lack of sleep, it wasn't the rain, it wasn't the wind, it wasn't god. It was just me, not being fit enough.

I came home a little bit bummed out. But when I walked in the door Casey was all excited. It seems the good people at OPSM had arranged Anna Meares to come hang out at their feature store in Hawthorn all day, and Casey and Nath were pretty much the only people to turn up. They sat there and chatted for a good 45 minutes. In that time Anna mentioned that her hard training cycle starts about now, 13 months away from London 2012. And in that time she'll go from a size 10 dress to a size 14 (I'm guessing mostly around her legs...). A thirteen month training cycle. And I'm bummed out because one month after being sick and unable to train, I can't finish A grade races. Van Dammit. What's the name of that virtue again?

Friday, June 17, 2011

All The Flowers That You Planted, Mama.

Luke from Sticky Zine Store wrote me the other day. Like most independently-run spaces, Sticky is in a bit of financial trouble. Instead of merely asking for money, however, Sticky is asking a bunch of zinesters to put out a benefit issue of their zines, with the proceeds going to the store. Despite the fact that the last issue of my zine came out about five years ago now, I was one of the writers they hit up. My initial reaction was to ask if I could just donate money instead. Luke, in his infinitely cheeky manner, suggested I could do both.

Funnily enough, I was thinking about the zine just the other day. Strange combinations trigger strange memories, and for me the mixture of wearing my old Doc Marten shoes, walking home through the drizzly winter twilight, and Modest Mouse in the headphones did the trick. All of a sudden I remembered wearing those same shoes one night in Glasgow, listening to the same record, walking alone back to Kirsty-Anne's flat after some dinner, because I didn't want to go out to some nightclub with the rest of the folks. I didn't quite know my way home, but knew enough to figure it out. I was thinking about how I'd been pretty funny at dinner that night, and that perhaps I was a pretty funny guy in general, and that if I wrote down some of my funny stories for people to read it could work out pretty cool. It kinda did.

As much as I like to think I'm pretty much the same as when I was six years old - another Modest Mouse reference for you - I'm barely even the same guy I was when I started writing those dumb stories of dumb kids doing dumb things ten years ago. Sure, some of the patterns are the same, but the inherent motivations are pretty different. When I look back at those old zines I see a twentytwo year old kid trying his best to grasp some kind of understanding of the world using the only tools he knows how, with vague pop-philosophical ramblings about "narrative" and "identity" as an instruction booklet. But now, while I still believe that our stories are our identity, I'm no longer fool enough to think that identity is something that can be grasped, or understood using tools, no matter how vague the instruction booklet. And, let's be honest, I'm too old to care.

Modest Mouse fans will tell you that the old stuff is better than the new stuff, and they'll be right. When the motivations change so too does the output, and when the reasons for sitting down to the computer become less about trying to figure out who the fuck we are and what the fuck we're doing in a far flung country in the middle of another shitty rainy night staring out into the street when everyone else is sleeping, and more about wondering if we can still do it, if we can pull it together for one more time, the output becomes less like Building Nothing Out Of Something and more like Good News For People Who Love Bad News. This is part of the reason why I stopped writing the zine. I don't know if I can pick it back up again. Even for a good cause. I just no longer have the angst.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tell Me This.

So, I finished the three day tour. 16 minutes down, dropped on the last day with thirty kilometres to go, definitely the last person to cross the line on Monday afternoon, boogers and spit and squashed dates and dried sweat all over my face. But I went there to finish, to ride myself into fitness, no matter how much it hurt. And that's what I did. Eat a dick, three day tour.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


From here.

It Appears To Me.

Hey, so I know I haven't been blogging much, but that's because I've been flat out busy over here. Instead of reading my blog posts, you should totally come down to HSV on Friday night and talk to me in person.