Thursday, 6 March 2014

Meet my Therapist

Back before Christmas, I got my cleats into something new. The Liv/giant Brava SLR - now renamed "My Therapist"

I recall the moment I first saw this bike. The 2014 Giant Bikes launch on August 1, 2013 where all of the new models were put on display. I wandered around looking at the road bikes admiring the new models. But I knew that there was no bike that could compare to my beloved Maverick (and that was before her gorgeous make over). I looked at them all without that need or desire for an upgrade.

Then I ventured over to the Mountain Bikes and again with limited vision of picturing myself riding single track on one of the amazing bikes, I then continued to check out the boys bikes.

But as I doubled around, from the corner of my eye I saw it! It wasn't a road bike and it wasn't a mountain bike ... And like David Attenborough would do, I looked over this new species of bike.

I had seen CX and the craziness it involved. I had imagined myself doing the same thing .... Actually, as an 8 year old, I had done similar crazy things on my girls cruiser. And I started dreaming. I started imagining myself heading down a fire trail with only myself and my thoughts to deal with. No mountain bike trails where trees could jump out of nowhere, no complex trails that would cloud my thinking. No road traffic that would keep me on my toes and divert my thoughts. It could be just me.

I could commute on it. I could ride trails on it. In fact, I struggled to think of what I couldn't do on it. And in line with the whole new Liv/giant 2014 range - she was just so pretty! I left that night thinking about how I was going to tell Mello that we needed to make room for another bike.

It wasn't long after the Brisbane Ride to Conquer Cancer that I decided that once I had achieved everything I set out Conquer in 2013, I would buy the Brava. A present for myself. I felt that once I had got through 4 events that always weigh heavy on me, emotionally I was going to need some space to recollect my thoughts and motivation to tackle 2014. The Ride to Conquer Cancer ride is emotionally difficult - in fact, for me, the emotional fatigue wears me down more than the physical fatigue. And here I was about to do 4 of them .. all in close succession.

Then on October 7, 2013 when the world as I knew it changed forever, I knew that the Brava was going to become necessary to get me back on track.

December 14 could not have come quick enough. I dropped the kids off with my Dad and headed out to Forrest to The Corner Store. (Do yourself a favor - take a day trip to this beautiful area and drop in and say Hi to Jess & Norm. I also recommend their coffee and Thai Chicken Pies)

And there was my therapist waiting for me. For the first time in too long, I spontaneously smiled.

After the usual process of making sure she was sized up ready for me to ride, I took her home - ready to face the roads she would take me down. Unlike my usual road cycling, I was looking forward to the unsocial riding I would do. 

3 months later and the fun is just starting. Like in life, I am facing unknown territory. I know how it all works - you get on and peddle, but at the same time, I move forward with caution.The bumps, the new terrain and the challenge of getting to the end is all new for me. But I couldn't imagine a better way to find the new me. 

The Brava - AKA The Therapist gives me the space, freedom and solitude that I need to process the noise in my head. Life is busy and I seldom have any time to sit quietly and just listen to my heart. My brain never stops. But getting out to a therapy session gives me that time. It gives me the freedom and the space to think and process thoughts that continue to build up. It is The Therapist who is helping me wade through the darkness and be able to see the light. 

Day 1 - the solitude of gravel roads

Beautiful calmness


I can honestly sit here and say, every single time that I have been out for a ride on the Brava, I come home renewed. The "no rules" attitude it brings and I can make up the journey as I feel like it is exactly what I need.

But the most surprising rides I had was when I was lead to the Memorial Park where we celebrated my Mum's life. On this day, weighed down with sadness, I decided to go out on a ride with no destination and just clear my head. Road, path, gravel road and then on my left I noticed the open space. Raw emotion overwhelmed me, but I rode in. And I sat, over looking that place where I said my final sad farewell only 3 months earlier to my mum and I let go. I finally was able to look past the why & how and finally just sit and cry for Mum. 

In memory of Robyn Baker
03/08/1951 - 07/10/2014

I have a long road to travel, but the terrain is slowly getting that little more familiar. Some days I turn a corner and it is like a freshly laid road and all smooth riding. Other days the corrugations seem like they will never end and the pain and agony will be with me forever. And other days I peek out the garage and say I can't do this today.

Those who say that bikes don't change your life need to find a different bike. Maybe the Brava is for you. And if you are a fella - have a look at all the bikes suitable for mixed terrain!

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