Monday, August 6, 2012

Just Like Push Can Come To Shove.

Again, I find myself rushed to write something, jammed as this blog is between work, riding, social life and sleep. Also, Jamesy is sick on the couch, suffering a bad one at the hands of what was apparently Footscray's worst Indian restaurant. So here we go.

I'm a terrible photographer, and so the bloke I attempted to capture for Instagram posterity is the guy just poking his head into the frame (although the main guy, in the Brunswick kit, is also something of a rad guy, who was into a lot of the same music I was into back in the day - when I first met him he was wearing an Orchid shirt. Not bad, even if his name does escape me). Roly had his wisdom teeth out today, and is currently at home looking ridiculous, sipping soup and resting up easy. This is going to be his life for the next few days, so if you have some surplus sympathy, send it his way.

Sometimes I think it's important to notice things, small things, and make explicit comment about them. The people in our lives are there so temporarily, and I'm so paranoid about forgetting, that I sometimes feel like writing them down is the only way I'll remember. And this is what I noticed yesterday at the Sunday Roast, that I think is important enough to write down and not forget.

Roly got popped pretty early in the race above. He looked spent, but found a couple of guys to roll turns with, and together they tapped it out. After a sprint lap the bunch looked like they'd catch them, but they didn't, and when they slowed up to recover Roly and his mate held their tempo, eventually riding their way back into the race. It was impressive to watch, more impressive still to think that Roly doesn't really train, doesn't really buy into the whole bike racer myth, is seemingly content to balance his work, riding, social life and sleep. He races at Brunswick, does a long ride or two on the weekends, commutes to work. And from that, with a little bit of race smarts, a lot of listening to folks, and a whole shitload of grim determination, he's made it as far as B grade on a Tuesday night.

I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that if Roly stepped up his training, did a couple of sessions in the gym each week, plus a couple of sessions on the ergo, plus a crit or road race or hard tempo ride on the weekend, Roly would get to A grade, and even be competitive. But that's a big commitment, a lot of sacrifices, and they seem like sacrifices he doesn't want to make. I really admire that. It's hard, when you start winning races, hurting yourself to finish first across a line, to avoid getting sucked into that endless competition, the need to keep winning, no matter what you lose in order to do so. But at some point, Roly has said no, that he wants his life to be quality, not quantity. That he's not prepared to lose the things that are important - the way I guess I did for a bit there.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that he has the perspective that a lot of us lack. Here's an example. A few of us were sitting in The Fox last night. It was cozy, warm, and occasionally No Doubt would come on over the PA. "I really like this pub," Roly said. I looked around and realized that he was right, that it was a really nice pub, but that in the ebb and flow of conversation I hadn't paid attention. Roly had.

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