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“Just Keep Riding.”

Gracie Elvin said it:

“I always admired Mat’s career from afar but didn’t get the chance to get to know him better until he joined GreenEDGE. I look up to his work ethic and relate to his love of the Classics, as I love them so much too. His persistence with his favorite race Paris-Roubaix was motivating even before he won it, but I will never forget that epic day. His words “Just keep riding” struck such a deep chord with me and they are words I tell myself regularly when times or races get tough.

“He’s one of the good guys, a friend to all of us women and not just the guys. I hope that he can continue to share his years of experience with riders in the future because he has so much to offer.”

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4 Women of Cyclocross

Glamour to me isn’t wearing fancy clothes or all the make up or perfect hair. To me it’s is the process of putting your heart and soul into something to be the very best version of you that you are physically and mentally able to be. It’s not always about the result it’s often about the perseverance and dogged determination that to me is glamour. So guys this is what my glamour looks like!

I’m also down with the fancy clothes and make-up and hair, but Helen Wyman on glamour is my motivation lately. Also Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Marianne Vos, and Katie Compton.

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A Year Doing the Work

Speaking of bikes and starting the year with a wet, cold, and very windy ride, I’ve been using a Polar heart rate monitor while I ride (and climb, dance, yoga, whatever mostly) on and off for the last 2 1/2 years, to give me an idea of what my subjective feel of training compares to what’s actually going on in my body. It also somehow helps motivate me to do the training, week after week.

Last year I decided cycling is my new dancing, so, two things: First, 2018 is the first year in more than 20 years I didn’t do a single dance class, which I feel rather good about. And second, training on a bike is dancing for me, so in fact I did a lot of dancing last year. There’s some gaps in my year, March in Narrm, Australia, April without a bike, weeks here and there where I didn’t train or didn’t use the monitor, and at some point dropping using it for yoga and core. Altogether, I did a lot more training last year than I have in recent years, and cycling is the reason. From doing it to bulk up my endurance for dancing, to doing it because hooning through a wet winter forest is one of life’s deep pleasures, to doing it because it was the only thing that sorted my knee out (and 2017’s riding is entirely why I can do squats and pliés without my patella feeling like it’s being gutted), to doing it because I love it and love the suffering and honestly would ride for hours a day if I could arrange it.

And seeing it change my body. After all those years of ballet and dance, and yoga and climbing, all of which I saw change me depending on how intense I was in each of them, cycling is the first new discipline I’ve got serious about since I was a student. So, here’s 2018, and all the training I did with a heart rate monitor strapped under my boobs.

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Mathew Hayman

Watching Mat Hayman riding and winning Paris–Roubaix in 2016 was probably the moment I truly fell in love with the Spring Classics, pavé, dust, mud, cobbles, suffering, and went from cyclocross to a different kind of riding. Really one of my favourite riders in the peloton, and my favourite team.

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Giro Rosa 2018

Late to blogging this, Annemiek van Vleuten of Australian UCI team Mitchelton-Scott winning the 2018 Giro Rosa last Sunday. Third place overall to teammate Amanda Spratt, and second to Ashleigh Moolman Pasio. Women’s cycling is smashing it the last couple of years, brilliant races, brilliant riders, like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig said, “Watch more women’s cycling!”

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As Melanie Said: ✊✊✊💪💪💪💥💥💥💥

Late-night email from Melanie Lane. Wonderwomen, for which I was dramaturg, won the 2017 Leipziger Bewegungskunstpreis. Mad props to Mel, Rosie Rascal and Nathalie Schmidt, Robert Bartholot, Florian Bücking, and Fabian Bleisch — and LOFFT Theater in Leipzig, where we premièred.

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Melanie Lane — Wonderwomen, HAU1 Dress Rehearsal

The brilliant Melanie Lane’s new performance, Wonderwomen opens tonight in HAU1, with: the awesome pair of professional bodybuilders that are Rosie Harte and Natalie Schmidt; set and costume design by Robert Bartholot; music by Clark; lighting by Fabian Bleisch; and feministing up in your dramaturgy by Frances d’Ath (yup, the one who has this blog). It’s on the main stage, and looks deadly. Here’s some photos from dress rehearsal yesterday.

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Rope

After the rope adventures in Majorca, it seemed a good idea to buy one of those more-expensive items required for climbing, one that in Australia would be considerably more expensive than here, and due to that has inflicted a long-term habit in me of not going to buy needed things because I expect them to be horrendously pocket-jabbing. So, a rope. The most necessary of equipment besides shoes (with which, you can do an awful lot of climbing and seldom need for more), and the single most costly. Sure, a rack of trad gear goes for eye-watering prices, but individually each piece is seldom over over a hundred, even for cams or a set of nuts, and considering the amount of drilling going on, who really isn’t climbing for want of a trad set?

As for the price, well if you bought cheap shoes, harness, ‘biners, and quickdraws, you could probably kit yourself out with everything for sport climbing for the cost of a rope. Which in Australia tended to be on on the high side of $350, so understandably I never shelled out for one. Here though, I have to remind myself that things are relatively affordable, even Shimano SPDs leave change from a hundred for a couple of books (yes, was in bike shop yesterday, bike needs servicing), so, rope it is. Still a sizeable chunk of €200 though (enough left over for enough chocolate to be sick on), but that’s for 70 metres of 9.2 mm Mammut Revelation. Not sure when I’ll be leading a 35 meter pitch, but not to worry, it’s very pretty (the pictures don’t do the colours justice, either).

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buzkashi, self-portrait & laptop

When I was a student, I would trundle up to Melbourne Uni and on weekends and holidays hole up the the stacks somewhere, a large Sikh pushing the trolley of returns often the only other person in the vicinity of my nest in the Central Asian shelves where I’d devour everything from Kazakhstan to Pakistan, paying careful attention to those parts most mountainous and wild. My enduring favourites were old travelogues, especially of women who ventured out on their own to spend winters in Skardu or years in Kabul, or meandering across unmapped stretches. I planned to go, at least through Baltistan, and maybe along the northern side of Tian Shan mountains. Adventures in China and sundry wars detoured me though.

Since my recent time in Melbourne, I’ve re-found my love for Central Asia, even when I had to spray Issey Miyaki on the pages of Louis Dupree’s Afgahnistan to mask the rank odour of stale cigarettes in its 600 pages, the cover of which has beautiful men with long hair and daggers jumping and dancing, and another of Buzkashi. I added many blogs from the ~stans to my reading in those and subsequent months.

Yesterday, I discovered Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan, and of course was immediately smitten. Especially the photo, taken by Pouria Lotfi which now graces the desktop of my darling Mac. Sitting in the kitchen tonight feeling lonely and somewhat lost, I decided to take photos…