My phone pings, interrupting my thoughts. “I was behind “xxxx” on the last descent. He took it too wide, hit the grass, over the handlebars at 40kmh.”
Heart jumps, heart stops.
“Up and back on the bike within 30 seconds. Full forward roll.” Heart beats again.
I won’t name the acrobat but I’m not at all surprised he was back on the horse within 30 seconds, he’s that kind of guy.
The husband is in New Zealand as I write, it’s day three of traversing the Southern Alps by bike and he’s arrived at the purple flowers in the meadow. If you have no idea what I mean, please go here for enlightenment and return the wiser.
He’s doing a charity ride, Chain Reaction are the chosen group this year, and there’s been a delicious vibe pulsing through our regular chats, the videos and blogs, which drowns out all of the negative noise and bad news I hear everywhere else in the media. How utterly refreshing!
Feel free to challenge me on this, but I see grown men connecting, supporting each other, competing yes, but for a higher purpose of supporting those in need. It’s so very unlike the corporate life that many of the riders are used to, where teamwork exists but there is rarely a true higher purpose unless you count the next annual report and how the increased share price valuation will enhance Nana’s Super fund and therefore her retirement prospects.
Rather, in many corporate lives, the driver is in providing for one’s family; securing an education for one’s children, a safe, warm home, good food, the occasional holiday (to recover from the stress of work) and protecting the family unit from the unknown. Most men I know have a visceral drive to perform such a role. Many women do too, and those of you who know me will know I’m a strong and vocal advocate for gender equality so let’s not have the rain of gender-specific wrath descend on me just yet. In this moment, my sights are set on men and their motivators, and this is about you.
Little airtime is given to the good men of our society, the ones who work hard to provide for your families, those of you who get up at 6am or before, every morning to go to jobs that you possibly fell out of love with many years ago. Perhaps you’re riding the Chain Reaction ride, or Tour de Cure right now, or would like to and find yourself unable to leave your many commitments to climb mountains on your two wheeled stallion with new friends and old. You might be very senior in your own organisation and to admit that you are no longer in the first flush of love with your career is not something that serves you or your people. I understand, sometimes we have to do what we have to do and that in itself is the higher purpose. Kudos.
For a happy band of men at their best, here’s the day’s recipe:
- Switch on the little engine(s) that could, warm to optimum temperature. Flex and stretch the flesh to work out any aches from the previous day;
- Place a heaped cup of motivation into a clean mind, add a sprinkle of competition and mix with a little ego;
- Add bananas, Gu and grit, agitate vigorously, turning the engine as you mix;
- Support the mixture with arms, helpful drafts, words of encouragement and smiles;
- Throw in the occasional expletive when the peleton accelerates, if liked;
- Finish with a generous glass of Otago Pinot and tales of the day;
- (shave legs – optional);
Even if you are one of the lucky few who loves your job, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like cycling for male bonding, so I’m going to keep rabbiting on about how wonderful it is, even when people tell me to stop writing about my husband. I’m not writing abut my husband though, I’m sharing a wonder and admiration for something I don’t often see any more. Real, beautiful, male friendships.
Look after each other chaps, you get it, so does he and he does too, the one over there on the Trek. Most of you are grappling the same monsters and you all want to be seen, heard and understood. We all do, we are none of us an island.