Friday, September 20, 2013

First impressions

I have been back in Australia for almost 2 weeks now and after being away for such a long time, I have noticed a few things that I generally just took for granted before...

1. Australians sound very... well... uncouth. When I arrived at the Brisbane airport and heard a bunch of Aussies talking, I almost couldn't take it seriously. It was like watching a cheaply made American movie with actors pretending to be Australian. I know understand why we sound so comical to them.

2. There actually are quite a lot of animals in Australia that want to kill you. During my first ride back home, I passed several dead snakes on the road and was swooped by a magpie that was determined to peck my eyes out. 

3. Traffic here is mental. There is far more traffic on the roads and everyone is extremely impatient. In Atlanta, if a car had to slow down to wait for a moment to pass you, in was not a big deal and they would politely do it. Here, if a car has to slow down to below the speed limit for 3 seconds because you are in their way, they make a big deal about it. When I first arrived, I couldn't believe that I was going to be riding amongst the traffic!

4. Despite the number of cars on the road, there is also a large number of people exercising. In Atlanta, I was lucky to see a handful of people walking but here there are groups out running and riding everywhere. While I was away, it seems that the new trend is to go running during your lunch break. 

5. People get up ridiculously early here. I organised a ride with some friends during the week and the suggested meeting time was 5:30am!!! It is going to take a lot of time to get used to waking up that early. I am going to have one rule though... I refuse to head out before sunrise. That's just crazy. 

6. Perhaps one of the reasons that people get up so early is because the sun also goes down super early. Dinner in America feels more like lunch because the sun is still up until almost 10pm. Here, it's already starting to get dark at around 6pm!

There is no place like home. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Forgotten life skills

For the last 3 months I have been living out of a suitcase, on the road for a series of races. During this time, my stops have included Canada, Italy, Denmark, Colorado and Brazil. Now I head back to Atlanta to pack up before flying back home to Australia. 

Despite the jubilation of finally getting to go home and see my wife, something has occurred to me: There are several things that I am going to have to get readjusted to when I return to normal life. 

1. Waking up before 8am: Races and rides generally start mid-morning so we usually sleep in before a late breakfast. With group rides back home leaving at around 6am, it's going to be a shock to the system. 

2. Making my own bed and cleaning my room: For the last 3 months I have been staying in hotels so when I return from a ride, my bed is made and the room has been cleaned. 

3. Cooking my own food: Staying in hotels for 3 months has also meant that I have eaten almost every meal in a restaurant. It's probably a good thing that I start to make my own food again. 

4. Doing my own laundry: After each race or ride, our ever helpful soignuers take our laundry, wash and dry it, then return it to us. It is a wonderful thing. 

5. Not getting a daily massage: During races, we are lucky enough to receive a massage after each day to recover. I will miss this. 

6. Not having a car follow me during training rides: When training with the team, a follow car accompanies us on rides with anything we could need including water bottles, spare wheels and food. Now I will have to get used to stuffing my pockets before each ride. 

Despite having all of these things that I have to get used to again, I have a feeling that my wife is going to make sure that I re-learn them very quickly. I'm sure she is stock-piling some chores for me right now, just so I can get a lot of practice in when I get home. And fair enough, I suppose.