Il keep it short and sweet but i thought that the news today over on Velonation was worth adding my two-pence worth. Graeme Obree has come out as gay. Given Graemes battles in the past with depression and suicide attempts, its amazing that he has taken the brave step of being true to himself, and I don’t doubt that with the making public of this part of his life he is facing upto a huge issue that keeping to himself will have literally eaten away at him and destroyed any chance he ever had of a well mental being. If I look at professional sport, its not hard to work out that homophobia still exists and athletes feel they don’t have a choice in being open with their sexuality. The sad tale of professional footballer Justin Fashanu who came out, only to be disowned by his brother and later commit suicide has perhaps acted to only reinforce beliefs that athletes are not expected to be gay. Things are getting better these days with the likes of Gareth Thomas but its still such a hostile environment within sporting society for people to be open about who they are…. and with Graeme taking the brave step to admit this he is, perhaps even without realising, acting as a role-model to people within the sport that sexuality is actually completely irrelevant within our world today (or at least it should be). So Graeme, I salute you on your bravery – you are a legend!
Over the colder months I find it increasingly hard on occasions to garner the motivation to prize myself away from the warm cocoon of bed, to suit and saddle up, hitting the freezing tarmac to get those all important and often trumpeted ‘winter base’ miles. Recently iv discovered that moving around my cycling, whether it be to a different time of day or a different route to play on has reignited the passion and im finding it increasingly easier to cast aside the covers with reckless abandon…. grabing fistfulls of lycra carefully laid out the evening before, and jumping atop my winter bike to roll out on another early morning solo adventure. Simon Gerrans recently summed up the motivation experience with such a great quote from his coach Dave Sanders –
You know the score…… rifling around your sock drawer like a madman/woman trying to find a pair of non cycling specific socks. Making space in the cupboards as various tubs of fantastic carb-laden potions clutter up the shelves. You have a specific area (that seems ever expanding) dedicated to bikeparts no longer used but stored away for that emergency requiring some long-retired chainring. Pots of soothing lotions, rubs and balms fill the bathroom cabinet. A neat plastic box holds a plethora of crazy looking bar and gels in all manner of fantastic flavours. The bookshelf seems to be spread about 30% dedicated to literature and 70% to cycling magazines. Then there’s the wardrobe, what originally started out as one shelf dedicated to cycling lycra now spans a whole section of the wardrobe, and its still stuffed to capacity. You have a dedicated ‘accessories’ bag – housing caps, scarves, snoods, gloves and of course oversocks in every colour of the rainbow. You sit at work, and whenever there is a spare moment you without a moments thought navigate to a cycling bookmark. You enjoy browsing cycling twitterers, engaging and feeling an affinity with like minded enthusiasts – even though you never met them. You log your training miles, even down to the lowly commute, and its never quite as good as it could be. You are strict with carb intake…. only before big rides and a lactic sprint follows after consumption. You weigh yourself every other day, constantly ruing the result. You designate a weekend morning or day off to ‘cleaning the bikes’. The grin on your chops is from how gleaming you got your chain. You scremble for something to write your shopping list on…. Its a Skil Shimano team card.