Friday, January 25, 2013

The Full Monty

Before joining a cycling team in 2011, I had only ever had 1 massage in my life. It was from a female natural therapy student and cost $20 for an hour and a half. I never really knew what the procedure was for getting on the table. To get naked or not to get naked? There are no signs. There are no guidelines. How is a newcomer supposed to know what is kosher? TV shows always had that episode where someone has an awkward moment getting naked for a massage but what do you do when the person doing the massage is female??? At the time, I decided to keep the underwear on.

When I started on the cycling team, we had a male soigneur but I was still not 100% sure on the whole naked/underwear massage rules so I played it safe and kept them on. After laying on my stomach and getting a wedgie because they were getting in the way, I soon discovered that the standard was to get on the table nude.

The problem was, after a handful of massages with underwear on, how can I just suddenly start going in nude? I had set the standard, can I just suddenly go and switch it around? Needless to say, I spent the rest of the year getting massages with underwear on.

At the Team Novo Notdisk training camp, I knew that I had to set the standard and go the full Monty from the start. I was a bit worried that it would back fire and there was some sort of no-naked massages policy in the team. Luckily, there wasn't.

So to all the other massage places out there... put a sign up. Tell people what they are supposed to do so they don't have to guess. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that rely on Seinfield episodes for massage table etiquette.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Tribute

A friend of mine (he knows who I'm talking about but let's just call him MrX), has been fishing for some praise lately as he claims to be the original stimulus for me getting into cycling. MrX believes that he is responsible for where I am today and that I owe him some thanks.

Well, he is correct, in some ways.

I will admit that MrX was the one that made me realize that I had let myself go by 'permitting' me to go for a run with him after many requests and watching me struggle for air in the gutter 3km down the road.

I will admit that MrX was the one watching a triathlon on TV that fateful day that my wife saw the handsome Courtney Atkinson exit the water and laugh at the thought of me finishing a race.

I will admit that MrX made me want to ride my bike and get fitter but it was indirectly. He made me want to ride my bike in the same way a teenage kid wants to prove their parents wrong or in the same way falling off a horse is supposed to make you want to get back on again.

When I sold my car and purchased my first road bike, I asked, nay, begged MrX to allow me to go for a ride with him but he came up with so many excuses...

'Tomorrow's ride will be a bit too fast for you. Next time though.'

'I have to sprints off the bike tomorrow.'

I'm just riding into work tomorrow.'

It is only now that I realize that it was for my own good. That MrX was putting me through the school of Hard Knocks. What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger.

I used the rejection to ride my bike every day. To train harder and harder so that one day, I may come back and hand MrX's ass to him on a silver platter.

So, MrX, I thank you! I wouldn't be where I am today without you!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cut throat shave

Last week I had the opportunity to tick off the first thing on my 2013 'to do' list. I ventured into Jimmy Rod's Barber Shop for a cut-throat razor shave.

Some guys need to shave everyday and do it themselves very quickly and easily because it is something that just needs to be done. Consequently, it does seem a bit odd to pay a lot of money and wait a long time to get someone else to do it for you. Despite this, I wanted to tick it off the list and assumed that it is like someone getting a manicure: you don't need it but its a special treat.

I had no idea what to expect but I had saved up a week's worth of growth just in case. I went in thinking that it was going to be a simple walk-in, walk-out operation but as it turns out, a cut throat shave is something that you need to call ahead for.

It seems that the art of performing a cut throat shave is not taught in many places anymore and it is difficult to find someone that is able to do it.

When I arrived, a young lady introduced herself and said that she would be my barber for the shave. At first, I was a little concerned by this. It would be like me giving bra advice to women. But then again, I could be very good at that.

When I sat in the chair, the first thing she did was trim my facial hair with clippers. Normally, this would be all I need and I thought that the rest was just going to be a waste of time.

The barber then put a hot towel on my face to soften the skin so that the razor blade can glide over it. A special oil was rubbed into my face and this was followed by another hot towel. The final towel was folded and placed over my eyes. I figured it was so that I couldn't see the blood when I got cut.

On television, they always portray cut throat shaves with big, long sweeping strokes so this is what I expected. What actually happens is small, tiny strokes with the barber right up next to your face closely watching each one. I could feel the barber's breath on my face as she concentrated hard. I wanted to ask how she learnt to do a cut throat shave but was too scared to move. I could hear someone in the chair next to me making jokes and talking as he got a hair cut. I wanted to laugh but was afraid that if I did, I would lose an ear or something.

After the shave, the barber rubbed some more oil into my face and I got a bit of a face massage. She then finished it off with a cold towel to close the pores again. Now I have never felt a baby's bottom but my face was what I imagine it would be like.

In the end, the whole experience was pretty much like a facial treatment for men. A few days later and my face was back to where it was beforehand but I'm not lining up to do it again just yet. If you did it every time you needed to shave, it would cost a lot of time and money!


Monday, January 7, 2013

The List 2013

Well it's that time of year again. The time when I come up with my New Year's 'to do' list. Life has taught me that resolutions are just too damn hard to follow through on, so I find it easier to come up with things that I would like to do during the year. You may recall 2011's last ditch effort to tick running to work off the list on the 31st of December. It ended in 3 days of pain.

2012 ended in a similar way. 'Get a tattoo' has been on my list of things to do for a number of years and on the 22nd December 2012, I finally followed through on it. After 3 hours in the chair, I finally have a tattoo.

Like last year's running effort, getting a tattoo also ended in a few days of pain. The actual pain of getting the tattoo was relatively small compared to the pain in the butt that ensues afterwards while you wait for it to heal. For the first couple of days after you get the tattoo done, it weeps plasma everywhere and needs to be covered in cling wrap to keep it away from the elements. Then, for at least a week, the tattoo needs to be covered in ointment and kept out of the sun while it heals. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that I need to ride my bike everyday in the sun for hours on end!

Consequently, I was forced to spend a few days off the bike over Christmas. The result: I felt so damn fat and lazy at the end of it that I had to go out to do some exercise. The tattoo has now healed and my routine is back to normal, however, the pain of waiting for the tattoo to heal is almost unbearable!

While sitting around, it gave me the opportunity to come up with 2013's 'to do' list. I had to carry a couple of things over from 2012 that I didn't quite get to but I have a healthy compilation of things to do. So, in no particular order, my list is....

1.   Make a souffle (They always make out on TV that making a souffle is so hard so I will test it).
2.   Go to a Pizza Hut buffet (I used to go to these as a kid and it has been far too long).
3.   Go to a TimeZone lock-in (What could be better than playing computer games all night?).
4.   Get a Manicure (I had a pedicure last year, so this is the next logical step).
5.   Get a cut-throat shave (I will have to save up some facial hair for this one).
6.   Learn to barista (A skill everyone should have).
7.   Take a dancing lesson (Believe it or not, I have no rhythm or flare).
8.   Go surfing (I have previously tried and failed at this).
9.   Jump in a ball pit (Why do kids have all the fun?).
11. Go to Seaworld (Again, its been too long).
12. Go to Infinity at the Gold Coast (I'm sick of seeing the ads on TV so I better check it out).
13. Go to a Sizzler Breakfast (All you can eat buffet breakfast. Need I say more?).
14. Buy a giant Chupa-Chup (Always wanted one).
15. Take a holiday on a train (Does anyone still do this in Australia).

So that is my list. I probably won't get through all of it but I will have a good go at it. In fact, I already have a gift voucher for a cut-throat shave, so if I don't get killed in the process, I will let you know how it goes. And of course, I reserve the right to change the list at any time!