Cycling For The Moment

IMG_0816 2014 comes to an end. Imagine, in say 20 years, we’ll be blogging “2034 comes to an end”. Doesn’t that just seem like such a distant future? And yet each day goes faster by so that decades might slip on, unnoticed…

Not that I feel 2014 was unremarkable! Quite the opposite. I fell in love (!!), started two jobs, moved back to the northern hemisphere, learnt to cook (sort of), and helped dream up a future business (more on that later!). But today, I am reminded of making the most of each day, each year. Today I have returned from a wonderful bike trip, and the fire, the passion.. the ‘carpe diem’ is burning bright.

It was a short little bike trip. Just 30kms up, and 30kms down. Marc and I have both done tours where we pushed out 30kms before breakfast, so it may even be exaggerating to call it a ‘trip’. But like any bicycle journey, no matter the distance, it had plenty of sweat, ups, downs and adventure.

Christmas is a time for family, to be sure, but with Marc’s in Canada and mine in Australia, we decided to make the most of a romantic holiday. We found two bicycles, lashed on a couple of plastic baskets, loaded them up with way too much (*heavy!*) deliciously home-made treats, and set off, wobbling, up the road. Our destination was a little village called Lofou, about half way up the mountains of Cyprus. A night in a ‘traditional guest house’ suite, complete with fire-place, loft and stone cottage vibe would be our prize. Would our makeshift bike racks, bald mountain tyres, and out-of-practice thighs be up to the task?

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It may only have been 30kms, but it was 30kms of unrelenting climb. Up, up, up. Sometimes, a nice 5-6% grade, the kind where you can click into your middle-of-the-low-end gearing and push on up at a moderate pace. Other times it hit the 12-14% mark, and despite being in my lowest-possible gear, I was cursing the wide nobby tyres and too-small bicycle frame, thighs burning as I urged my weight forward. We did, however, punctuate the journey with an out-of-this-world picnic, and munched on treats white taking in the majestic view.

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We did make it to the top, and our incredible accommodations were every bit as charming as we’d hoped. Champagne, chocolate mousse and scrabble by the fire… not a bad way to spend Christmas! By noon the next day we were packed and on our way back down the mountain. Another 30kms… but this time? Downhill baby!

IMG_0829 What a joyous feeling to be careening down a perfect slope, wheels spinning, watching vineyards roll by and goat-bells ringing through the hills. What a truly, live-in-the-moment feeling. The euphoria that comes over me in times like these, reminds me how important it is to follow your fire, as often as you possibly can. Sailing and cycling are my fastest ways to that freedom, and in those moments… whether it’s my gears propelling me down a mountain or the wind pushing me down a swell… in those moments, time is frozen – the moment just is.

60kms, two days and about 100euro each. Why not go?

And the memories? The memories are the kind you know you’ll remember, even as they are unfolding, even in, say, 2034.

Christmas With Family

It’s been 6 years since my sister Ella and I had Christmas together with Mum and Peter. When I wasn’t biking or sailing, she was in Spain, so the years have ticked by without a ‘full’ family. We are now all gathered in Sydney, Ella and Daniel’s home, enjoying the traditional celebrations and each others company at last.

Joining us this year for our Danish eve dinner were our friends Jess and Duncan (of “Alliance”) and Jess’ Dad, Jeff. It was a ton of fun, and we are all still recovering!

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The bike gang sets out from Newcastle

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75kms later, we rest in Wyong, waiting for the train to Sydney

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We’re not alcoholics – we’re pirates!

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Ella and I in the kitchen

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Jess and Duncan join our family!

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As does Jeff, Jess’ Dad.

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The “Head Monkey Bear” and the youngest Monkey Bear gather around the tree

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It’s Danish tradition that lets the youngest take charge of the presents – thankfully, i’m always the youngest!

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Ella and Daniel getting excited

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Jess gets a Cornish-pirate dvd!

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The anticipation…

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We love our bikes!

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Duncan getting into his new cookbook

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Charlie better get brewing!

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Mum unwraps her humungous present – a Moroccan tagine!

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Charlie and Duncan fight it out at backgammon

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Peter and Susan (mum)

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Gather round the christmas table..

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Ella and I practice the ‘squinge’ (a supposedly ‘seductive’ photo-face Daniel has been teaching us!)