Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Off to France

Leaving tonight for France.

Follow the adventure on

Sunday, 21 March 2010

In his epic Roman Tragedy Julius Caesar, Shakespeare wrote ”The Ides of March are upon us”.

And the Ides of March 2010 have just passed and I wonder just where the year has gone and what the hell I have been up to. It just seems to have been so hectic.

It is Sunday afternoon and for what feels like the first time in a very long time, I have a few hours with no specific commitments and no where I have to be. I am taking some time out to catch up on a three month back log of Blogs I usually read and so much seems to have passed me by. Reading all the back log in such a concentrated way makes me realise there are two very specific threads at play – Cycling and Politics. Then again, if I look at the bookcase behind me, the themes of the books are the same. I really should expand my horizons

But what happened to January, February and March 2010?

Work has been hectic and challenging. In short, we have achieved ‘flat growth’ since 2000and need to do something to reverse the trend. Does anyone else think the term ‘flat growth’ is one of the silliest business expressions of the century? I guess however it does sound better than saying ‘we have been abject failures’ for the last 10 years.

Given I am responsible for ‘Strategy’ the ideas are expected to flow from me.

3rd March was the 2nd anniversary of my open heart surgery and the date for my annual comprehensive check up. I am not sure why, but in the weeks leading up to it I was becoming very apprehensive and agitated. The more agitated I become, the more annoyed I was getting with myself for being agitated. I knew there was absolutely no reason to be concerned but I was.

Fortunately, all my concern was without foundation. My blood figures were better than excellent and the results of the physical tests were outstanding. In addition, my exercise heart rate restrictions have been lifted.

An undisputed highlight of February was the AC/DC concert.

On several occasions in my teens I attended early AC/DC concerts with the best and most recent being at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl in 1976. Sometimes it is dangerous to re-visit experiences from youth. It can be disappointing and end up diminishing the original experience.

In this case, the intervening 34 years has not diminished the original experience. Mind you, the cost was somewhat more in 2010. We had premium tickets in the pit in the front section less than 50 metres from the main stage and literally 5 metres from the stage extension.

It rained heavily at times during the concert but these guys did not back off one bit. We experienced High Voltage Rock and Roll and for those who rocked and rolled ‘We Solute You’.

I usually find a guitar solo of more than a few minutes duration a little tedious. Angus Young performed an 18 minute solo and I did not want it to finish.

These photos were taken during his solo on a standard Nokia phone camera and indicate just how close we were to the Stage Extension.

On other matters..............

I have been cycling but not with any great consistency of intensity.

My concentration has been on trying to get the shoulder I busted in August back working with some degree of normality.

I have full movement but very little strength so 4 or 5 visits a week to the gym has become part of the weekly routine.

Finally, I have bought a new car (reluctantly). The problem with owning a SAAB is every time you need something done to it, it has a four figure price tag even for a relatively minor thing. With a few things needing attention, the first of the four figures was going to be an ‘8’ and simply not worth it.

I wrote some time ago about making sensible decisions with things like car purchases rather than decisions based to a large degree on ego and image. I guess this was my opportunity to let action reflect the words – and as hard as this was, I think I have done that. I do however have some change left over to also invest in a second car as a fun item so look out for something with a 7 or a 350 in the name during the next 12 months.

Then again, I could always buy that elusive new bike?

Going forward in 2010, I really need to return to circulation. I feel I have been somewhat unsociable and it is time to correct this.

Hockey season is back and the TV Broadcasts start again this coming week. There is also an extra show to be recorded in the studio so that will be challenging, time consuming and educational.

I have the objective of completing a half marathon in July and a triathlon in April so that provides a training purpose.

Notwithstanding, I do need to make a greater effort.

In the meantime, I am also in the market for a new house/unit. I like Spring Hill and West End but it is difficult to match desire and wants with needs and price. The hunt continues.

Stay well

Thursday, 14 January 2010

All About the Mind

As reported on various occasions, I became intimate with a couple of cars back in August 2009 and busted a number of bones.

While I am still experiencing some discomfort as a result of the injuries, day to day life is not far from normal including my cycling activities. In fact, I even managed to get back and do some races before the Christmas competition break.

From a physical perspective, getting back on the bike and performing the physical process of riding has been relatively easy. I still cannot throw a ball, carry a suitcase in my right hand and tend to swim more like a one armed person however I can ride and even go up hill now (slowly).

However the mental recovery in respect of cycling has been far more difficult.

Since getting back on the bike, I have been a very reluctant user of roads. I think every car is aiming for me. When looking behind to say change lanes, I look once, twice, a third time and sometimes again just to make sure and as such, my hesitation in making a decision and then executing it has made me dangerous and un-safe.

Virtually all my riding has been alone. I have been nervous when other cyclists are around. I also felt my tendency to be indecisive while riding made me not only dangerous to myself but to others as well.

Given the crash involved a parked car and its door, I tend to pass them leaving a space of about two car widths and on most roads, this puts me into the oncoming traffic. Again, not a good place to be and not a good place to be taking someone who may be on my wheel.

My inability to deal with the psychological recovery from the crash was really annoying me. I thought I should be stronger than that. It has also made me somewhat un sociable.

I confess to considering putting the bike in the rack for a few months and doing something else. E.g. Outrigger rowing has definite appeal and I have made some enquiries.

However, at the back of my mind were several thoughts including that if I do rack up the bike, I will do so only after I have dealt with my psychological demons.

As a competitive sportsman over many, many years, I guess I have endured my fair share of injuries. A double break to the fibula, a few occasions where I busted a finger, perforated medial meniscus, calf and hamstring injuries too many to mention and some ankle reconstructive surgery all come to mind.

On each occasion, there is the physical recovery and there is a mental recovery and on each previous occasion I dealt with both reasonably easily.

So why the problem now with the psychological recovery?

When you pull or strain a hamstring, the rehabilitation process is intense, persistent and painful. Competition pressure cannot be simulated in training so it is not until actually getting back into a pressure situation in competition that you know if the recovery is complete.

Until tested under full competition pressure, and this might take several games, there is a tendency to nurse the muscle. It is only when fully extended under pressure without the injury recurring do you fully regain confidence. That is, the psychological recovery is complete.

The same with a broken finger. My breaks have been playing cricket. You tend to subconsciously protect the area broken even after it is healed and it is only after you are struck on the same place without it breaking that you realise it is all ok and you regain your confidence.

So what does that mean when the injuries are the result of a cycling accident?

How was I to get over my psychological post crash cycling demons?

Does it mean I have to have a crash or a fall without injury to complete my recovery?

But how do you manufacture a crash and if you can, how do you do so while ensuring no injuries?

Something significant happened on Tuesday’s River Loop. First of all, I accepted a request from someone I have known for nearly 20 to go and ride with him. He is getting back into cycling so it was hard to refuse, even if it meant my plans to go to Mt Coot-tha were put on hold.

Just over half way through the ride we went into single file and I let him go through and took his wheel. As I did, it occurred to me that if I am ever going to get used to taking a wheel again (other than in a race) there is no wheel safer than his.

About 500 metres on, he hit a pothole and popped a water bottle form his cage. I not only hit the same pothole, but my front wheel went over the water bottle before also hitting my rear wheel.

Somehow I unclipped prevented a fall, and stopped.

To say I was badly shaken is an understatement. It was a very, very near thing.

My colleague stopped and apologised for the pothole. I took a few minutes to gain my composure before mounting again and riding very slowly to the start of Cemetery Hill.

My thoughts while riding slowly were many including giving up cycling. I had trouble getting my August crash out of my head and what I went through then and am still going through now.

However, it also occurred to me that I survived an incident successfully and this was the equivalent to stretching while at full pace for the hamstring injury

The rest of the ride I did as usual.

I also made the decision to join the regular Wednesday bunch the following morning. My bunch is usually the B grade group however as there were so few of us we joined the A grade bunch and went on to average nearly 36 kph before being dropped along with a few others on Highgate Hill.

I almost had a set back this morning though. When I arrived at the start of the ride, one of the cyclists (Ern) informed me the son of one of our regulars was hit by a car the previous afternoon. It was not what I needed to hear and momentarily I thought ‘what the hell am I doing here’.

I completed my first real bunch ride and enjoyed the coffee shop chat more than I have since before 19 August 2009.

I am not yet ‘fully back’ but I have made some significant progress.

Lets go biking