Back on the wagon –  back in the game….14591819_1821127518127963_6860241764202959869_n

Slap me across the face with a wet fish right about now…. I started trying to write this back in August, have tried to finish it on numerous occasions but for lack of a better reason you’re getting it lock stock and barrel now.

In fact, there may just be some keyboard diarrhoea ready to explode onto the inter web in the near future.

I’ve finally made it home, FINALLY managed to unpack and feel like at least part of my life has some kind of order and structure.  It’s the small things like being able to open up your draws and find what you’re looking for at a glance rather than having to explode a bag and sift through the destruction on the floor that means you’ve actually made it home.

When I started writing this back in August, the second half of my season was on the verge of not happening. A lot was up in the air and I was on the verge of heading south in search of white gold and the lure of my own bed. The reports coming out of the Southern Alps were that the snow was all-time.

And when it’s on – it’s on….

With not much going on in the first half of the summer, it felt like it had been a good long while since I’d had some hard and fast racing on the water.
From the middle of the Pacific I made the call to fly east rather than west.
The next two and a half months were full to the brim, full-noise action and working out how many cans of nitrous had in the reserve tail at the ready to unleash (thankfully there were plenty!).
When I say I was close to not coming back, I’m not joking.
Every time you make a decision to do one thing, there is always the opportunity cost of what you’re not doing. But for some reason, I had a sense of unfinished business; that I needed to go and finish out the season and see where things were at.
 
It was a bit of a gamble, but knew that I was carrying some serious form from the first half of the year. If you’re not going to back yourself, why should you expect anyone else too?
It’s the ability to continually evaluate a situation and remain objective that allows decisions to be made on fact rather than emotion.
With a view to taking each weekend and each event as it came, I landed back on the West Coast at the ready to let the high speed roller coaster of racing, travel, more racing and more travel unleash.

From LA to Huntington, to Hood River, Oregon to LA, California to Japan back to LA, up to San Francisco, down to LA, back into the depths of the Orange Curtain and San Diego it was a roller coaster of planes, airports, some toxic chemical burns, never ending logistics, fun, games and plenty of banter for good measure….I’m finally coming up for air after the marathon of the past three months.

With pace in my favour and fitness on my side, a re-found willingness to gamble the odd risk that I haven’t had for a while, the confidence to change up equipment and roll with the consequences, and ‘that’ moment in surf race final of the Pacific Paddle Games when I decided I loved being back in the depths of the pain cave so much that I went for another lap giving away the win….the overall win ……and a decent amount of lunch money in the process, it’s fair to say – I was definitely ‘back in the game’.

Them’s the breaks.

With the willingness to take risks, the heart to charge and a re-found love to compete that has come back stronger than ever, these are the highs and lows that make you fall in love with sport all over again.

Heck I even busted out a couple of cross-country races in San Diego for shits and giggles and seriously surprised myself in the process (not to mention an off-the-couch 110+ miles on the roadie in Oregon on whim…).

Now the bags have been packed, unpacked, packed, unpacked, packed, repacked and finally Unpacked for the year, with only the ‘weekender’ version in the proximity of easy access.

There’s the familiarity of the landscape of home and the security and peacefulness of the mountains that I crave at this time of year.

The bikes have been dusted off and the puffer jacket is in full effect.Even though it is spring, there’s at least a weekly dusting of show half way down the hills and a climate where the changeability of the weather is ever-present in the decisions you make daily on what you are doing and how you are going to do it.

The yoga mat has been unrolled and my annual pilgrimage back to the warmth of the yoga studio has been embraced as much as the awkward positions that my body loves to hate at this time of year have become the norm.

The reconnection with old mates to fix the problems of the world over coffee, wine or a long ride through nature’s playground.

The cry of the mind and the body to simply go and play rings true and louder than ever – for these are the months that are the ‘jackpot’ for the hard yards and investment of energy and time away when you ply your trade from afar.

Following every period of expansion there is the need of the balancing period of contraction.

For me, that is home and it’s the contrasting environment of the mountains.

It’s a world away from the madness of the year. It’s a chance to reflect, recharge, refocus and rebuild the energy required to rise to the challenges of the months ahead.

Thanks for the support, it’s been a roller coaster of a few months – the extent of which most will never know.

I know I’m here for the right reasons and I’m stronger, faster, fitter and hungrier for more than ever before.

Here’s to the next chapter.

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