Friday, 8 April 2011

Sweet Kernow

As someone who’s working days are defined by the lengths of tarmac that stretch out ever before me, it seems only natural that my favorite place on earth isn’t a beach, or a romantic viewing spot on top of a hill; it is in fact a stretch of road.

As anyone who knows me might know, I love the coast road between Lands End and St.Ives. The views across the sea and the rugged coastline were an incredible backdrop to a youth spent aspiring away as fast as my skinny legs could allow.

There was no way I appreciated it then, as any kid with dreams would agree – it doesn’t matter the backdrop when your young you still end up dreaming of being anywhere but where you are.

These days though, I appreciate more and more just how great this place is, and instead seem to now spend my days dreaming myself back there as often as possible.

Thoughts of this particular place were stirred recently when the Rapha Condor club rode the Cornish Coast in my absence in early Feb.

It really bothered me that I was unable to be there when a group of riders had come so far to experience, not just my favourite training loop, but to pass that sacred point just outside of Eagles Nest. The three or four hundred metre stretch between the tops of two small hills is the exact spot that I would call my very favourite place on earth.

As I write though I have just had the pleasure of retracing this route once again on my return from six months in Australia. Under a mild April sun, and next to a perfectly calm ocean, I was very happy indeed to be back dreaming away on that particular stretch of grey tarmac.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Saddling up.

For as long as I can remember I have led something of a nomadic lifestyle. I can’t tell now whether that is a result of the cycling, or the cycling is just a handy way for me to be able to live like this.

I spent my first summer away from home racing at 16. I realised pretty quickly that that the only way to really get ahead in the sport was to be in Europe, so I headed straight to Holland for three months literally the day after finishing my high school exams. Unchartered territory it may have been, although looking back now it was a fairly tame experience.

Since then I have not managed to spend a single 12 months in one place, travelling and living between Australia, France, Italy, Holland and the UK. I find myself at once a restless soul, yet utterly content in whatever surroundings I find myself.

For the last five months I have been fairly still, yet utterly content here in Melbourne. My wanderings have only taking me as far as Mt Dandenong, or Healsville, but I don’t think I had a dull day, nor the itch to leave.

Once again though the time has come to move on: back to Bristol and more importantly back to the bike races. Bristol is of course a great city, and now the home of several of Rapha Condor Sharp’s international imports, and seeing as I have to now wear full finger gloves to go riding here, I think it is high time I returned.

To be honest I can’t wait, not least for the fact that I will be able to get replies for my emails the same day that I send them, time zones (and my dislike for working past 8pm) play havoc when you are trying to complete an MA via correspondence.

However Melbourne and all its fantastic contents will be missed. I have discovered yet more to this truly amazing city over the summer period, and for this many thanks have to go out to Jarred Lory Smith and the Stay True/Soul Devotion crew. The most hospitable bunch of fellows I could have wanted to meet over here, and of course to Mal at Northside Wheelers, who’s shop keeps reminding me that I really have to write this book

Until we meet again.