Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Home Crazy Home

So when I sat down to finally write up my first blog since returning from my trip, I couldn't believe it had been nearly a week and a half since I returned home. There's certainly been a lot going on, and adjusting to a "normal" life and schedule back in Palmerston North has had it's challenges after being away for so long.

I arrived home late on Saturday the 26th. The flight had been long, but I had been lucky enough that my two long-haul flights had only been half full, so I had been able to score myself a row of seats to lie down, put my feet up and get some sleep (and also alleviate the swelling in my knees to some extent). I was naive enough to think that this alone would help me avoid jetlag... How wrong I was! The first week and a half after I returned, I was like a zombie. I'd wake up at 4am and then be ready to crash out about 3pm in the afternoon. It was horrible! It's only today that my body finally seems to be back in sync.

So after a rather unusual first night's sleep back in my own bed, I headed out on the Ninja nice and early the following morning to help out at the IBIKE4KIDS event that was being run by Manawatu Mountain Bike Club and Sport Manawatu. To be honest, I felt smashed, but I was so excited at the prospect of seeing a bunch of little guys and gals getting into the sport I love so much. I sincerely hope it enriches their lives as much as it has mine. We ended up with over 350 kids on the day, and my role was as "ride leader". I must admit that I probably looked right at home amongst a bunch of little people, many of them around the same size as me! Some of those kids are damn fast and I had to really give my tired legs a bit of a nudge on a couple of occasions to avoid embarrassing myself! The good folk at the club gave me a great welcome home and made me feel like a bit of a superstar for the day, which was lovely (they made it very difficult for me to try and be modest!) and the kids seemed to think it was pretty cool that I had been riding bikes overseas. I got asked for some photos and autographs, which was very flattering, and rather exciting, but a little odd for me at the same time... I guess that regardless of how I see my result at world champs, if that is something that other people find awesome and inspiring, then I'm really happy to be part of that. I can't think of my efforts being put to better use than to get kids (and adults alike!) out riding bikes.

Monday morning I was back on a plane nice and early for a flight to Auckland for my first day back at work, then another flight back to Palmerston North the following day... A total of 14 flights since I left New Zealand in mid March! Wednesday I had the pleasure of downloading all my Garmin data from my entire trip and was stoked when I realised that from the time I left NZ to the time I returned, I had done 2180km of mountain biking and over 47000m of climbing! No wonder I went through three sets of tyres and a couple of drive trains!

Thursday evening I ventured out to Santoft to meet some peeps for a night ride. To be entirely honest, since I got back from my trip, it's been hard to be inspired to ride back home in the Manawatu, not because it isn't a beautiful place, but after all the adventure and riding in new places nearly every day and being out in lovely weather, the thought of riding something I've ridden before isn't as appealing as it once was. The cold has also knocked me around a lot since I got back. When I left Milan, it was 30 degrees, and when I arrived in Wellington, it was single digits, raining and windy! So anyway, I've found that riding with other people makes heading out for a ride a bit different and more exciting. I felt wasted that evening. I had this weird sensation where I felt like I was sitting outside my body, watching what I was doing, but with very little control over it. It was weird, and a little bit scary, especially riding in the dark... The path that my light pierced through the darkness seemed to expand and contract with my throbbing head. Regardless, I had a blast... It was nice to be out on the bike for the first time since I got back.

The other thing I did Thursday afternoon was pick up the new addition to my family of bikes from Pedal Pushers... A sexy little GT Bump BMX (with a pretty groovy little colour scheme, too, might I add!). I've never ridden a BMX before, but I figured, for the small price of one, now was a good time to try it out. It's a cool little machine and yet to be named (suggestions welcome!)... For some reason, I feel inclined to called it "Mr Frog" (I have no idea why). My first ride on my new toy was Friday morning when I rode it to work. It was a weird feeling and actually a pretty good workout (sprint, sprint, sprint, coast, sprint sprint). I'm pretty keen to learn some nifty little tricks and hit up a pump track or two on it... It's fun to try something new on two wheels, although I don't think it will ever take the place of endurance riding for me!

A day of rest, cleaning and unpacking on Saturday was followed by my first time back on skinny wheels in about three months. I rocked up on my roadie at 8am for a 75km group road ride and was quietly pleased when the rest of the group announced they wanted an "easy day". I really wasn't feeling up to a smash fest just yet, and as it was, there were times when I was feeling a little stretched in terms of speed or power, but funnily enough, never distance. I felt like I could have kept going all day, but there was no way I was chasing a bunch down or taking anyone down in the final sprint back into Palmy. The thing that struck me as odd on our ride was that in 75km, we didn't even crack 500m of climbing! A strange concept for me after the trip I have just had! It was a really pleasant ride nontheless. The company was good and there were times on the ride when I would just soak up the surroundings. It was nice to smell familiar smells, see familiar sights and speak a familiar language... It's funny how we travel the world and speak of how wonderful and how beautiful the rest of the world is, but we rarely stop and take notice of the beauty that exists in our own back yard. We really do live in a very special part of the world... No better or worse than anywhere I visited... Just different.

Monday morning I punched out a couple of hours on the mountain bike before work and watched the sun rise from my bike... It was a pleasant morning out and even though I was just out for a bit of a cruise, I still racked up an average of 18km/hr on the mountain bike off road, which was encouraging. Since I returned from my trip, there are three things which bring tears to my eyes:

1. Watching the video from world champs. That scene where my support crew puts me back on the bike for another lap is a real tear-jerker... I miss them. What an amazing thing it was that they did for me. The video can be viewed here.

2. Looking back through my photos at all the amazing things I did and saw, and the amazing people I met (I hope we catch up again some day!)

3. The sight of a beautiful sunrise on the bike... Gets me all the time...

I think that what makes traveling so awesome is that it is all relative to where you come from. If you traveled all the time, I doubt there would be an appreciation so great for the unusual as when there is a benchmark to compare it to. Going somewhere you don't know and comparing it to what you do, is what makes the experience so exhilarating. It's so good to be home...

No comments:

Post a Comment