Monday, September 2, 2013

Going for Broke

It's been another long interval between updates, and the worst thing is, the longer you leave it, the more you have to tell, but so as not to bore you too much, and let's face it, the only one really that interested in these ramblings is the writer himself, here is a quick update.
- May - Returned from California a bit flat, I mean how do you return to a regular day job after that kind of experience, oh well you just get on with it and thank your creator (and your wife!) for such a privelege.
- June - easy riding
- July - Holiday to the Red Centre, I guess I'll get to publish that post one day.  Return fresh and fired up.  On track for a solid training block in the lead up to WEMBO.
- July 19 - first week of training and I get a little excited going down one of our regular descents which leads to a spectacular washout and my first ride in an ambo.  Broken collarbone and scapula, guess I'm a real cyclist now!
- August - Recovering.  3 weeks later I ditch the sling and 4 weeks I complete a 1 hour road climb feeling good.  After 6 weeks, the shoulder still needs more physio but we are back on and I sign up for WEMBO

Which leads to the week of the 26th August.  Back to training "proper" and after a fairly big week, I get a call from a 24 solo brother.  He says
"Hey Mike, how'd you like to come and ride 250km with us on Saturday around the Hunter Valley"

To which I answer

"Love to."

And this brings me to my central question for this post.


After reporting this ride, it created quite a stir in the cycling twitter-sphere.  Lot's of pats on the back and incredulous looks, but strangely alot of people questioning my mental stability!!  I know, I know it's all in a bit of fun, and I am a 45 year old male ripe for a middle age crisis, but it does perplex me that our society links something that's a bit different to "that's crazy"

Firstly 313km is a very long way to ride in anyone's books and we ended up achieving a pretty good avg speed, but you know I actually feel incredibly liberated by such a ride, and when you think about it, riding for a day with a few stops to take on water and food isn't really that crazy, is it?

The thing is you see so much more on a bike, and if you ride you know what I am talking about.  Highlights that come to mind include:
- the bellbirds down Emily Rd
- the lady in the cafe who had cold water for us and didnt expect us to buy anything
- ah yes the smells of the country
- the comeraderie that comes from riding with two of your best mates and the relief when you fall into a nice bunch ride for an hour or so and then share the world's best egg and bacon roll + coffee in the beer garden behind the Royal Oak Hotel, Cessnock.  That's GOLD!
- The dirty big mine on Putty Rd outside Singleton, gold of a different kind.  My goodness that is a bloody big hole in the ground.
- the viticulturalist tending his vines just outside Broke.
- The friendly waves you get from other road users and even the screaming cyclopaths (similar to a psychopath, but only vents their fury at cyclists)
- the sun on your back and the wind in your face
- the faint mist from the irrigation sprinklers as we road through farmland
- the one maggie swooping us (yes only one swooper in 300km!!)
- running into an old cycling mate near Wollemi (he was out for a lazy 140k, slacker!)
- waking up for your club ride the next morning and finding you can actually still push the pedals at a pretty fair rate
- the views through Polkolbin.

It's a funny old world and I wouldnt want to do it every weekend, but thanks to Pete and Phil for an awesome day out I will never forget.

Keep riding


Jill Ball said...

Pleased you're back in the saddle. Guess you won't need to play "Words with Friends" now.

Mike Israel said...

Was it that obvious? I'll still try and find the mental energy to play :)