Thus Endeth 2015

And what a year it’s been. 2015 has been one of those years I would sooner forget! One month with a flu I couldn’t seem to get rid of, 2 and a bit bike failures, and a seemingly conspiritorial number of things getting in the way of cycling. But inspite of all the things that worked against the cycling this year, I still broke a few personal records and reached (and exceeded) a major goal (6000km for the year).

Here are the stats for the year, courtesy of Strava:

Distance 6,172.2 km (5033km last year)
Time 306h 36m
Elev Gain 21,050 m (19203m last year)
Rides 249 (149 last year)

Some interesting extra stats can be worked out from the data above.

  • Average speed over the year: 20.1kph.
  • Average distance per ride: 24.7km (average since joining Strava 28.42km).
  • Elevation gain over the year is 9.44 times the height above sea level of Australia’s highest mountain (Mt Kosciuszko, 2228m).

This year saw some very different rides to what I am used to doing. The climb from Eurobin Creek to Mount Buffalo Chalet (see blog entry for Nov 4th, 2015) would have to be the highlight of the whole year. But there were other different rides in different places which helped keep me interested.

For most of July and the first week of August I did almost no cycling at all, but tried to keep fit by running in very boring straight or almost straight lines on the roads near our home. I say ‘tried to keep fit’ because I’m still not overly convinced it actually kept me very fit as when I finally did get back on the bike I was really struggling to get any reasonable distance rides logged. Although that could have been something to do with the flu I had. Here are the running statistics for the whole of 2015:

Distance 354.0 km
Time 48h 57m
Elev Gain 280 m
Runs 89

So what will happen next year?

There is only One who knows that.

But with the recent plague of bike failures I am seriously wondering whether cycling is worth continuing with as my major fitness maintainer. The first bike to fail was the 26″ Foldable bike in early November. While riding around Mountain Creek near Mt Bogong a big stick got jammed in the derailer and caused part of the rear cable mechanism to fail, and then a month after I got it repaired the rear derailer failed spectacularly. So I spent a fair bit of spare time over December transferring various parts from the 26″ to the $20 Mountain Bike (which I purchased in February while in Geelong). And the mountain bike seemed to be turning into a reasonable bike with the parts I transferred to it from the 26″ Foldable bike, but then tonight on my last ride for 2015 the pedal shaft developed a nasty sounding screech and I could feel some building resistance in the pedal assembly. At one point about 5km from the end of the ride the whole pedal shaft seemed to seize up, but I managed to free it up a bit and pedalled gently the rest of the way home. I am hoping it just needs some grease on the bearing. I can’t afford a decent bike at this point in time, and the only bike that is currently functioning properly is the 20″ K-Rock foldable bike – a nice bike to ride to be sure (I call it the Morris Mini of the cycling world) and I have clocked up more than 600km on it since acquiring it from my father-in-law in May, but as I can’t really attach a water bottle to it I can’t really venture far from home on it especially during summer.

I have committed myself to maintaining fitness and being healthy in 2016. But how that is going to happen will remaing to be seen…

A Fundamentally Different Day

Away from the chaos, hustle-bustle, increasing violence and religious fundamental extremeism that seems to breed in the cities one can still find peace, wholeness, restoration. Sabbath, that day of rest given to all mankind in the most natural of surroundings, when joined to the idea of peace, wholeness, restoration is embodied in the phrase “Shabbat Shalom” a Hebrew greeting for the Sabbath day. The two words belong together, like man and woman, potatoes and gravy, thunder and lightning, table and chairs.

But how often do we allow ourselves to have such a fundementally different day where rest, wholesness and peace is the order of the day? Life gets so busy, and there is always something that screams out to grab our attention – dealing with negative attitudes, emails, those phones that allow us to always connected to all those things that cause us stress.

Yesterday, Bec, Eliana and myself decided to avoid cities and head to Mt Lawson State Park in the hills between Tallangatta and Corryong in Victoria’s (Australia) north east. So we packed a picnic lunch of a mixture of goodness and not-so-goodness, and left Jesse and Zoe at home to do whatever teanagers do when their parents aren’t around. The region where Mt Lawson Sate Park is located is home to some of the most breathtaking and beautiful scenery and offers many places to explore and get one’s regular dose of prescription strength nature (see here for a light-hearted look at the concept of nature as medicine).

Some time ago my son Jesse and I went exploring in the northern part of the park, but yesterday we went to the southern park. The plan was to o the relatively short Conic Rocks walk, then have lunch at the Mount Lawson summit, then try another longer walk later in the day.

The Conic Rocks walk was abour 1.5km return, and offers some pretty spectacular views from the granite rock ledge and boulders that are Conic Rocks.

The walk itself passes through flower fields, with blue gums and some evidence of bush fire at various places alonf the walk. While somewhat steep in sections (but not as steep as some), it is a relatively easy walk for anyone who can use two legs and has a positive attitude.

It would have been nice to just sit at the Conic Rocks and just take in the views for a really long time, but we had already decided to have lunch at Mt Lawson itself, so after some soaking up the beautiful views for a while we turned around and walked back to the car.

After lunch at the Mt Lawson summit car park / picnic area, which would have been far easier to drive to in the Honda CRV than the Proton, it was decided that we would walk the Mt Lawson loop, a loop a little over 1km long which loops around the summit itself.

But after a few hundred meters of whining from miss-10 Bec and I decided enough was enough turned bac to the car a whole 400 metres away, But before we turned around we got some photos of the summit of Mt Lawson.

Rocks at Mount Lawson Summit

Rocks at Mount Lawson Summit

Rocks at Mount Lawson Summit

Rocks at Mount Lawson Summit

The last planned walk didn’t eventuate due to some wholeness- and peace-busting attitudinal violence eminating from the tweeny person in the back seat of the car! So as it turned out our attempt at experiencing “shabbat shalom” was not quite fully “shalom”, but it was close enough. Maybe one of these Sabbath days we will experience the fundamental difference between Sabbath and the other six days of the week and “shabbat shalom” will stop eluding us.