Monday, 22 March 2010

just when you thought you had it all under control

well this weekend was interesting, about the only hilly(ish) road race for 200 miles and i managed to monumentally fail at being a diabetic bicyclye racer, you'd never have guessed given my previous record. the time trial is a hillclimb, judging by m y training efforts i should have rolled up it in about 14 and a half mins, as it was i got credited with a 17. i'm not sure i did a 17, i caught a LOT of people and didn't get passed (if you look at the times around em that's not possible given my time) but, being the euro cyclist that i am i was racing using only "the sensations" and so i had no time to protest it with. there was some confusion with my registration - they signed me up with the rest of the boys in the pro field and i had to wriggle my way back into the crash 3s so that i wouldnt get into shit with USAC again....

the next day was the road race, i felt pretty good but i was having some bloodsugar issues - i raced high the day before but i had put it down to being flustered. i decided to stick to drinking mix as i couldnt go without the electrolytes, (it was HOT out there) in hindisght i should have taken the manorexic option and done water and salt pills. Just when i was about to start off one of the USAC officials came over to let me know that i was "a cheat and didn't deserve to be racing at all" and that he was "watching me" - so confident was he in his assertions that he declined to give me his name, or to hang around to discuss his assertions that i had "never raced a pro1/2/ race (random evidence to the contrary www.southbc.co.uk/results/2009results/Upavon%20Summer%20170809~e12.pdf ) this guy's a nobody. i don't want to bring the sort of negative energy he exudes into my life, i'm a better bike racer than he has ever been and i'm pretty sure i have never been that impolite to anyone (or at least anyone who didn't kick me in a sensitive area first). i wanted to wint he race to prove him wrong and i was prettys ure i had it dialled but stressing out when your bloodsugar is already 250 won't help matters....

i decided my best tactic in the road race would be to attac like the mongol hordes, so i threw down, a lot. Saldy everyone else in the field decided the best tactic would be to suck wheel like 120 spandex clad hoovers, i got a few breaks mooving but one particulair individual decided his best bet was to sit on for the whole lap and then attack like fury in the feed - reckon he spotted the team type 1 skinsuit?

last lap i tooka flyer and held off the bunch for a while, i somehow managed to get stuck in my 42t so i was doing some pretty badass cadence out there and i imagine i was quite the sight to behold, i crested the big hill in the top 15 riders and it all went horribly wrong, with 2.5k to go i was about 80% that i could win the race, with 1.5k my left leg has about 80% useless. when you run your bloodsugar high your body uses bodily fluids to get rid of it, normally you pee a lot (that's how lots of people get diagnosed) when you're riding, you sweat, and loose electrolytes, then you cramp. i cramped, bigtime. i'd like to throw out a "public" (and by "public" i mean to both my mother and gran who read this) thanks to the photog who pushed me over the hills o i could descend in to make the cut (who finsihes a road race downhill anyway? 'Muricans that's who).

next day was a crit, crits suck and is till could get my bloodsugar down, i rode for 2 hours and did 0 cabs and still finshed rocking a 200. it's hard to clearl lactate that high, so i just rode around,s ucking. i did get a good place with the bell lap about to start and then i managed to use my crank as a brake coming around the corner- not clever that, stick with the levers.

anyway i had a pants weekend but that's not the point i want to convey here, my point is this - 12 months ago i would have packed the race in, 6 months ago i would have just got dropped but i decided to hang in there and i finsihed. ok it was a pretty poor quality race but that's not the point, the point is that i've got LOADS more motivation now. every time i think about giving up i tyhink about the people who inspire me, the people i have met since joining team type 1. i've been lucky enough to encounter loads of diabetic people (they're like flies, they come crawling out of the woodowrk) and so many of them have told me they follow my blog, or twitter or my results and that they thought i couldn't do what i do with me being the way i am. so every time i squeeze into my skinsuit (and yes i did the road race in a skinsuit - don't worry ladies and gents it's quite comfy and allows plenty of room for the "landing gear") i feel like im out there to show them what they can achieve if they're willing to make the effort and changes ot their lives. I've been speaking with a bloke who has type 1 and cancer to deal with, and on top of that a little kid to raise AND this guy is younger than me so whenever i think i have got it hard, i just remeber that im still playing around on my bike and life could be a lot worse.

Thanks for all your support i really appreciate everyone who has stood by me recently, the team were awesome this weekend, emily (@emilybaker so cal's greatest cycling masseuse and potential soigneur par excellence) all my friends at the races and all of you who sent me emails and twitter messages and even the lady who works in admin at UCSD who saw this article about me (http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/thisweek/2010/03/22_leed.asp) and said i had inspired her to go out and exercise. thanks a lot - you help me more than you realise and if i ca help you as well, that's great.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

the structural dynamics of public space

i don't only ride my bike...
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the dynamics of public space
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Today at 20:03 | Edit note | Delete
I saw some graffiti today, and it got me thinking. Someone had tagged racism under a stop sign, so it read "stop racism", crafty. We live in a country, and a university where public space is institutionally controlled, it's our environment but on their terms. As many of you know i'm studying the use of street art to oppose dictatorship in Spain, there's no reason why we can't use public spaces to fight the norms here.

In recent days and weeks public space in this university has been dominated by hatred, whether hanging nooses in the library, putting hoods on statues or holding parties with hateful themes the space which we all occupy is being monopolised by a minority. Even "neutral" spaces aren't accurate reflections of our community. we have one mural and it's painted on a temporary canvas so we can take it down if it proves too political. Meanwhile we're surrounded by orders "stop" "no cycles or skateboards" "no parking" "drive inside the lines", "no fun", "think inside the lines".

So tomorrow, on a day we take action for public education, why not take action for public space as well. Make where you live beautiful and make it yours. use colours, posters, flowers, whatever you want. We're at a great turning point for our university right now and this is the best chance we'll get to really make it ours, so take it. We're students, we're good at manipulating words and images, so lets do what they did in Paris while our university was still in its infancy and make the space our own. Like i have said a million times before, if you define yourself against something, you only last as long as it does, if you stand for something, you cam make it last forever so stand up and claim your own space and identity not just against someone else claiming it.

peace