First Love

One bad chapter doesn’t mean the end of the book. Having survived a really tough week, I decided a new chapter in life equals a new blog. It will take a little while to get my blog looking super primo – rest assured it will be worth the wait as version 2.0’s are always better – but in the interim, I thought I’d get all deep and meaningful reflecting on life and cycling before returning to my slightly more gritty roots (pardon the ‘cross pun) and whack up a race report.

For the rich there is therapy, for everyone else there is cycling

Ain’t that the truth. Cycling has always given me a sense of freedom. Time to de-stress. Time to think. Time to reflect. And when that’s too complicated time to just pedal, disengage brain and make my legs hurt a bit. On reflection, my affair with the humble velo was probably my first love. It pre-dated boyfriends, girlfriends and significant others, and two wheels and I have been together far longer than anyone else. Eighteen years in fact. Even more if you add in the pre-racer years. I even think we have every chance of making our golden anniversary. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs – figuratively and literally –  but we’re in for the long haul. Particularly with a 12 hour solo just round the corner.

And if my first love is cycling, New Zealand might just be my second. I opted for the greener form of transport for my journey from Wellington to the final National Cyclocross Series race in Blenheim this weekend. My faithful cross bike was temporarily transformed from race steed to little donkey. Grabbing a day off work and cruising from Picton to Blenheim in the sunshine with a tailwind was totally the best way to travel – being somewhat therapeutic in itself – and made me realise this really is a beautiful country. New Zealand will also always be the place I re-kindled an old flame and learned to race my bike all over again. So, for that reason, it’ll always feel like home.

I feel very privileged to have been part of the first ever kiwi ‘cross National Series. The growth of the sport this year has been phenomenal and I look forward to seeing more guys and gals out there ripping it up next winter. Despite it’s reputation for sunny climes, Marlborough got into the swing of things for the series grand finale providing Wellingtonian weather for one day only. There were barriers, banks, roots, more banks, creek crossings, and mud. Then some more mud. Some rowdy spectators. And some cowbells. All a ‘cross racer could ask for really.

I was richly rewarded with a bottle of pinot noir for my efforts, as well as the kind offer of a hot shower and motor assisted ride back to the ferry. I was glad of all three (thanks Andy & Co.). For starters, the gale force northerly would have provided a far less romantic commute post race than the outward bound journey had.

So, what’s next? Well, I envisage the bicycle industry will do quite well out of my current situation when a girl’s desire for retail therapy kicks in. Boutique bikes. Mmmmmmmmmm. In the meantime, I’m clocking up my fourth 12 hour solo in five days time in Taupo. It’s gonna be special but for a whole load of different reasons. And the boys at Ultimo have stomped up an awesome kick arse solo racer kit just in the nick of time. Better start getting the carbs in…