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A long & winding road

Last week I took part in the 2013 Fitz’s Challenge bike ride. The part I entered was the “Tharwa Challenge”, being a ride of around 105 km with a bit over 1,660 meters in climbing along the way. This was a rather daunting idea as the longest distance I have ridden has been around 50km and that was a while ago. Anyway, several weeks out I started doing some training rides at lunch time, just riding up and down Canberra’s Black Mountain which is conveniently located very close to where I work. This is a tough climb but I was only getting in 40 or minuets on the bike each session.

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Ride day rolled around and I had my gear packed and was off! So downhill and up dale, I passed some people on the hills and in turn was passed by a lot more. My plan was to just keep the peddles tuning over. Finishing the ride was the goal. 50 km in and the Tharwa turn-a-round point was reached and I was going OK. Not long after this I was starting to feel my shoulders and back telling me that I was not used to spending this long on a bike. Nothing for it at this stage than stretch a bit and ride on.

So after a bit more than 5 ½ hours on the bike I rolled across the finish line. Happy that I had managed it and probably keen to try it all again next year.

And the link to THR1VE though all of this?

I spent the last hour of the ride planning a lunch of Lamb Burger with as much mash as I could handle.

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Throwing away what was.

There is something I think needs to be mentioned about changing shape. Be prepared to get rid of a lot of clothes.

I am sure men and women have very different relationships to their wardrobes. Women tend to have a much more fluid relationship with clothing. They change outfits and looks on a regular basis and with the time of year. For women clothes are transitory, seasonal, occasional. Yes I will give you that they have those select item or outfits they cherish, but I would argue that their relationships with clothes are not faithful.

Men by and large are monogamous with their wardrobes, often to the total despair of wives and girlfriends. We have our favourite shirt or pair of jeans. A few pairs of shoes are sufficient. Suits for work will last many seasons. We think that getting several of the same items is a good idea. We settle into a particular look and stay there confident and comfortable. Sometimes we remain settled for years.

Then we decide to get rid of old habits and change for a fitter, healthier life. The weight of indolence drops away, you get to pull in the belt an extra notch or two. Things are good, the numbers on the scales are going down and going to the gym is fun. Then one day you notice that the pants you have had for ages are bunched up and too loose. You check your tie before work and it looks like you are in your dad’s suit. You spend a private afternoon going though the cupboard and draws finding everything now baggy in an unflattering way and hanging off you.

Some of you will now mock me at this juncture. First world problem. ‘You are being an asshat for complaining about losing weight’. You will have a point, but let me finish.

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But what were wear is often a marker of how we see ourselves. Having to shed your wardrobe is like shedding your skin. Making a big pile of now too big clothing on the floor was also the piling up of past stories. Events and memories both triumphal and sad were also being ruthlessly tossed out. Gone would be the outer surface of my identity.

In all the inducements to change and be fitter and healthier, we do not mention the things we lose. The pile of clothes I bagged up and will pass to charity is also the passing of old images of self. This is not about the things we collect about us but our own images of who we are that also must change.

I look in the mirror and yes that is me, but it is a me that I am yet to know well.

– Cornelius
THR1VE 12 Week Challenger – Canberra

 



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