Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Under a Funeral Moon

Every time i start a blog post it is with the intention of writing about black metal, and how important i think it is as an artistic movement, as well as how that movement relates to the recent commotions in the US scene.

But i don't really know how to write it yet. So ideas continue to bubble away. Stay tuned and watch this space.

This post, rather, is about Brendan Bailey who, by the way, just celebrated his 500th post of his own blog. As those of you who know me and Brendan will already know, while my blog started of as Bike Snob/Cycling Inquisition knock off, it has slowly spiralled into a knock off of Brendan's blog, except the prose aren't as lively. That's ok, blogs change direction (as Brendan himself points out in regards to his own blog that started out looking at the Melbourne punk scene, and slowly shifted to his own personal experiences with competitive cycling.)

And it's Brendan's cycling i would like to briefly mention. Those who follow his blog know he has had, from a cycling perspective, what is commonly referred to as a 'dog of a year' or, to put it another way, 'a shit time'. A mystery ailment has meant supreme fatigue, a lack of high end results because of his inability to train as hard as is necessary to compete at the top level, and a general sense of frustration. Dozens of specialists and tests later, Brendan is none the wiser, and the fatigue keeps coming back...and no one really knows why.

This has led Brendan to entertain the idea of giving up competitive cycling. When he mentioned this to me the other day, i couldn't help but feel a melancholy descend over me, which i couldn't quite explain. On further reflection, I realised it's partially due to a sense of direction.

The whole time I have been 'taking cycling more seriously' Brendan has always been there to give training/tactical/dietary advice (though special mention must also go to Casey), introduce me to other racers, but has also allowed me to tag along on his training rides. I was thinking about this the other day and i realised that one major thing i really enjoy about training with someone is the idea of collective experience. I like that riding with someone else frames and gives context to a part of your life that would otherwise be experienced alone.

Now i wouldn't want to wax lyrical about training too long. Most of the time when i ride with Brendan he is up front and i am behind him, small bits of spittle running down my face, as he counts down the time till sweet, sweet relief, and the end of some stupid effort. But you do get a chance to chat about stuff, and learn how the others rides, until you feel you know the other person on a certain level that doesn't really come out any other way.

If Brendan were to quit racing, I would miss those shared experiences. It's a pretty selfish sentiment, but one that won't go away. And, as Brendan told me his coach told him, I reckon he still has the ability to win some big bike races.

And if, by way of training for those big races, Brendan has to spend time on the lonely roads of outer suburban Melbourne, I would be stoked to share some of those kilometres.

So it is with a mixture of a friends concern, and selfish motives that i hope that Brendan's sickness goes away, is treated etc, so that he can get back to the life i know he loves.

All i can say at this stage, however, is: don't give up mate.

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