Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mental illness is far more complex than asking "R U OK," but it's a great place to start

I can't comment on former Olympic medallist and cyclist Stephen Wooldridge's struggle with mental illness or the circumstances around his giving his life away last month. Nor can I speak of the efforts his friends and family made caring for him. That is not my intention here.

But after seeing the beautiful images from the cortege at his funeral in Sydney and people lining the street as it passed, I couldn't help but think of my own battle especially today on R U OK day.

While a fitting homage and celebration for those left reeling, I was struck by a realisation: such a procession would not be much use to me after I'm gone.

I need it now.

 Depression - it's a toughie. I have close friends and colleagues who do have my back, who pay more than lip service than those that ask something like “R U OK” but still expect so much more from me than the chemical imbalance in my brain can deliver.

I need that procession now. Not so I can hear someone tell me how good I am, or how I'll get through this, or to hang out or take me for a bike ride. I can't chase the shadow away with a bike ride. Some days I can. But mostly, the thought of getting on and some little niggle on my bike turning something so wonderful into a revolting battle is more than I can handle while a maelstrom parties in my mind. 

No, I need one person to drag me out of bed. The next one to put me in the shower. Another to clean my teeth, and because my partner’s always in the firing line of all this shit, help him out with the garden, the kitchen or the bathroom. Then I need someone to get me to work because we can’t afford my mental illness.

But if the procession arrived at my door today, I may reject it and tell everyone to go away – there’s nothing to see here. And you’d have to be OK with that. Yet, there’s every chance I won’t. And you’d have to be OK with that too.

That's my struggle with depression. You see how more complex mental illness is than asking and answering the question "R U OK?" For family and friends - it's a repetitive and exhausting rollercoaster ride of caring received, rejection and ultimate impotence.

But asking and answering the question is always a great place to start.

Anyone needing support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Or visit RUOK day's website for tips and resources on how to have the conversation and take further action. 

For those inclined, SBS’ own Michael Tomalaris is riding from Perth to Broome in the upcoming TourXOz to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute with Stephen Wooldridge very much in mind. You can visit Tomo’s fundraising page here.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

#TDF133 2017 Stage 1

Just like the riders, you're all hot to trot from the start.

But there can only be one winner.

Close seconds

Honourable mentions

Friday, May 12, 2017

Giro week 1 - stuff that fell down the back of the couch

Not everything gets a guernsey in cycling social and online media. There might've been a few things you missed over the last week at the Giro or there's stuff you didn't miss but don't mind reliving it.

In other words, stuff that's fallen down the back of the couch

If I were a carpenter... I'd build you a Bora kitchen

You probably heard the 100th Giro's first maglia rosa wearer and virtual unknown Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora Hansgrohe) is a carpenter and he joked with reporters (totally on-point for his sponsor Bora) about how he could build them a kitchen.

But journo Ashley House on his Big Primo Pink Pod for the Velocast at the Giro, brought two nice nuggety insights about Pöstlberger not many others have picked up, if any.

There's this one from Pöstlberger's long-term DS when he first started out:
And this one about dinking the Bora press officer back to the bus after the stage 2 podium celebrations where he was awarded the young rider's jersey. The buses were all parked quite a way from the stage finish that day and she was in heels:
Ashley also told us that premature stage 5 winning celebrator Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida) got a little lost before stage 6.
It's only been a week and already Ashley's Big Pink Primo Pod is my absolute hands-down favourite content of the 100th Giro. I'm amazed at how many people he gets around to interview the morning and afternoon before and how quickly he can cover it all in such a short time each morning and nearly always shares something he's found out noone else has.

Here's how you can subscribe to the Velocast and therefore also Ashley's Big Pink Primo Pod.

100 interviews at the 100th Giro 

Cycling journo Rupert Guinness has set himself the goal of conducting 100 interviews to celebrate the 100th Giro and produce some good content.

My faves thus far have been his interviews with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) mainly because I've not seen a lot of interviews or much with these guys and they're quietly going about their GC way.

And there's this nice one from Ivan Basso:

Like Rupert's page while you're there so you don't miss any more.

My panini's better than yours

Nope, I'm not talking about the bread. Just in case you haven't heard about it, sticker collections company Panini famous for F1, UEFA and other such sporting sticker books, have produced a special edition for the 100th Giro.

It's become a big thing not just for the fans there but also for the journos and especially the riders.

And look what happened when Daniel Oss found one of himself. It's like he just won a stage!!

And you probably saw the one about the Trek bus?

This one got some coverage, but not a lot.

OK so it's no Orica-Scott stuck under a finishing barrier but it's still pretty funny. From the blog post written by Matt Rendell:
The road got rougher and narrower, and the corners more and more acute, until complex manoeuvring became required to negotiate them. Eventually we were brought to a standstill about 1.6 km short of our goal by the sheep. Only then did the truth of our predicament become clear. 
Now, our Mercedes Travego team bus has rear axle steering and a remarkable turning circle. And, to be clear, Danny is a driver of near genius. But in the narrowness of the road and the tightness of the bend, delineated on the inside by a steel crash barrier, they met their match.

Basically, the driver was trying to find the fastest route to the hotel from the end of stage 2. Just a 16km journey. But following the GPS got them stuck on a country lane. First behind a flock of sheep, and then literally just stuck.

As the riders, who had over 220 cycling kilometres in their legs, piled off the bus to start the 1.6km trek to the hotel on foot, team cars had arrived to save them.

Couldn't help think of this:

I'm sure there's heaps more that fell down the back of the couch, but the weekend's here and I'm outta here!  See ya!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016 Tour de France in 21 poems

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3 

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7

Stage 8

Stage 9

Stage 10

Stage 11

Stage 12

Stage 13

Stage 14

Stage 15

Stage 16

Stage 17

Stage 18

Stage 19

Stage 20

Stage 21

Monday, July 25, 2016

#tdf133 results Stages 20


Honourable mentions