Procrastination: The avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones.
Really? Trolling Facebook and Instagram is pleasurable? That ‘instant’ pleasure fills me with a brief euphoria but fades as quickly as it arrives. Social media is a necessity in my job. Supporting our sponsors and increasing our teams’ exposure worldwide are all important steps towards growing our team. A small team like Hagens Berman Supermint is currently running off ‘the smell of an oily rag’. But to their credit, every rider on the team is receiving a salary. This is not always the case in the pro women’s peloton. Like most things in life, money brings opportunities. The more resources, support and equipment a team receives, the greater opportunity the team has for success. In cycling, money does feed success. But a question I’ve been asking myself lately is, does success bring happiness?
Let’s get back to refreshing my Instagram feed.
I always have this tug-of-war with social media. Being on the road, away from family and friends, I tend to lean on it more than I would like, mainly to stay connected with life back in Australia. But it also feeds my insecurities and fears. This part I hate. I must constantly remind myself to defer immediate gratification for the sake of my long-term well-being. At my last host house, I came across an insightful book, ‘Writing as a way of Healing- By Louise Desalvo’. So much of what Desalvo spoke about or quoted from other writers rung true to me. Incorporating creativity into my day to day life, through writing, is something that I have realized I need.
“living in a consumerist culture like ours, I guess it’s important for us to feel miserable. If we felt centered, we’d be creating and making, which means we wouldn’t be buying. To write, I’ve learned I have to resist the screwed-up norms of our culture.”
The past 4 weeks for me have been a hard racing and training block. I raced two 5 day tours in New Mexico and California and a one-day crit in Dana Point. But I have noticed that I’ve been avoiding taking time to sit down and write a new blog. I know now why, I find re-visiting races I’ve already done incredibly tedious and boring. So, I’m not going to talk much about my racing, instead I’m going to talk about real life stuff.
Let’s begin with Love…
Helen and Ron met in a literature class held by a life-long learning group in Silver City at the age of 71. At their first date, Ron recollects:
“I attempted to cook lasagna for some good friends of mine and decided to invite Helen along. At first, she was tentative to join us, but eventually she said yes. Let’s just say the lasagna was a flop, but the date resulted in finding love and a companionship at age 71”
For all those singletons in your thirties and forties, have faith my friends. Being alone has its perks but ‘loneliness’ is a very uncomfortable feeling to sit with. Something that I have experienced lately. It’s important to have periods of solitude, but ultimately, we humans aren’t meant to be alone.
Helen was my host in Gila, Silver City New Mexico. When I found out she was 75 years old, I almost fell off my chair. The spriteliest, healthy, switched on ‘older lady’ I have ever met. I spent almost 3 weeks at her gorgeous homely abode. Her boyfriend Ron would come over at dinner time and we would chat around the table sharing a meal and stories. Before meeting Ron, Helen attempted the dating sites for 6 months. Her main criteria, ‘to be physically fit’. At her age, the dating site interpreted this as, ‘to be not terminally ill’. Helen quickly realized online dating wasn’t for her.
From Gila, Jono and I drove south to Dana Point, California. A 10-hour road trip in a car with no aircon, temperature, 35 BILLION degrees. This situation is a perfect example of the short falls of a stretched budget. To repair the air-conditioner was on the ‘low priority’ list. The drive was memorable to say the least, I can’t decide what was worse, the heat exhaustion in the car with the windows up, or the wind burn and noise from having the windows down? On a positive though, I did find out that if your crutch is cool, it drops your core body temperature. Filling up XXX large plastic cups with ice and sitting them in my crutch was a welcomed relief from the beaming sun through the windshield. The company and tunes were on point though.
Dana point reminded me of MAMMALS on steroids. A significant number of wealthy middle aged men in lycra, escaping from their family life to pursue their hobby of cycling. Staying true to the saying ‘all the gear and no idea’. I was lucky enough to be dropped off at a mansion for my short stay in Dana Point. The owner of the place, not even present. He was riding in Majorca at the time. My chariot let me down but my castle certainly didn’t.
Well so I thought...
Think of the most embarrassing thing to happen when you first arrive at a stranger’s home, the lingering log, aka blocked/broken toilet. That moment when you wait for the water to begin to descend, but instead it keeps rising. Panic sets in and you close the lid hoping it will disappear. Shit happens even in a mansion people! In the end, Dana Point Criterium certainly disappoint and I went away with 2nd and my wallet full.
Next stop, Redlands Cycling Classic. A 5-day tour incorporating a range of technical and challenging stages. This was my last preparation for Tour of California so I was keen to get a solid block of racing in. The week provided us with scorching conditions in the first 2 stages, the mountain stage taking many victims including myself. The last 5km of the climb I rode shivering with goosebumps. Signs that I was completely cooked. It felt like the longest 5km of my life and to finish me off, kids were yelling out “can I have your water bottle?”. But at the end of the day, I can look back and laugh at all these experiences which build my character. As the tour went on, the weather became cooler and I felt stronger, snatching a 3rd in the criterium on stage 4. As a team, we are still trying to put the pieces together to get a win under our belt. It’s a process that will take time. I’ve been through this process with my old team Orica-Scott. Patience and persistence is the key.
The ‘misfits’ our new team nickname, are a bunch of unconventional people all coexiting under the one roof. it is necessary for us to trust and acknowledge one another despite our differences. It kind of works in a weird way, like organised chaos. We accept one another, flaws and all, as much as they cause disagreements and stress. We all carry our own baggage and issues, who doesn’t? But we support one another when things get tough and we try to be thoughtful and respectful even if our own ideas are compromised.
It’s the night before The Tour of California. This will be my first World Tour event in over a year. It’s time to put my big girl panties on and get shit done. Peace out!