Thursday, February 12, 2009

Take Two

Time is running out. The K word is only three weeks away, and I feel like I'm in stasis. My social life is eating into my training time, and now the rain has come to waylay any attempts to keep/improve any condition I may have. Drastic measures are being taken, maybe a little hint of desperation mixed in too.
Waitangi Day saw me nursing a two-day-old hangover and ten hours sleep from the previous 48, and a lack of decent food the night before doesn't help with a Karapoti pre-run. But as I'd committed to the cause, and didn't want to waste a perfect day, I slunk my sorry arse into Marty's wagon, along with Rob, and prepared to endure. Mike, JJ and Roger were already raring to go by the time we hit the carpark, and were away up the gorge while we tried to get motivated. The trail was in a lot more desirable condition than our previous attempt, but it wasn't helping the legs any. At least we were peeling off clothing rather than packing it on in an attempt to stay dry/warm. We caught up to JJ and roger on the Warm-Up Climb, and as I was giving Roger the old g'day, I managed to fall over, on a climb, in granny gear, hardly moving... it's a rare talent. At the top of Deadwood we met up with Mike, who had been smashing it up on the shop Test Enduro. JJ had managed to drop his bike while carrying it, putting a nice bend in his rim, which then became a taco when he applied his wheel-truing 'skills'. Roger rolled in and informed us that Rob had picked up a stick and snapped his derailleur and hanger, and was hoofing it back to the car. That guy is cursed, I swear. Marty and I decided it would be not too slack of us to continue on, so we tried not to hang around too much, but not ride like madmen either. I was starting to feel a bit more human, and even Devils Staircase didn't hurt too much. Marty managed to bury himself up to his knees in a boghole after being told by some punters that the middle was the best line. The Rock Garden and Big Ring Boulevard were fun, and then the last big grind up Dopers seemed to be less of a chore than I remembered it from two years ago. The descent and the ride back through the gorge came and went pretty quickly, and we were back to console the forlorn Yank in a touch over three hours. All I could think about was catching up on all that lost sleep, and how the K word is not such a bad one after all... though I'll see about that in three weeks.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Music stirs the soul...

One of the things I've missed most about not having all my possessions here in NZ is music. Yeah, I have an Ipod and a little speaker system for it, but I don't have my full CD and vinyl collection and a decent system to listen to it on. But I get by.

It's cool how certain bands or songs can take you to a time or a place in your life. Well, the soundtrack for my time here (so far) would have to be Sigur Ros. This band hails from Iceland, and on those cold Wellington winter nights, their haunting sound evokes images in my mind of what I imagine the Icelandic landscape would look like, and how the cold would feel on my skin, in my bones, and how that must influence the band to make such beautiful music. This video showcases both the music and the land. Amazing. I think I have to go there.

While watching their videos on youtube, I noticed that there was a link mentioning the Pixies, where they visit Sigur Ros's studio. Great musicians seem to respect and revere each other, and the Pixies have long been at the top of my list, so to find this connection was not entirely a surprise.

I then felt compelled to watch the great band performing during their reformation a couple of years ago, which I lamented missing out on (due to them playing Australia while I was here) back in 07.

Another of my all-time idols would have to be Bowie. In fact, his music changed my whole outlook when I discovered him around the late 70's as a teenager (me, not him). I delved into his entire back catalogue, and things would never be the same (and then the Pixies came along). Bowie is a huge Pixies fan too, and has covered their song 'Cactus' and done a pretty good job I think.

Which led me to this: a cover of Bowie's song 'Heroes' by Adrian Belew and Martha Wainwright. I remember watching this when it aired on SBS show Rockwiz. I was at Phillipa and Steve's place, it was a Saturday night and we were all in awe at this amazing performance. Phillipa's son Sam made comment of Martha's sexy aura and great voice, and I'd have to agree with his assessment.

Martha had also appeared on Rockwiz previously, dueting with Dan Kelly (without his Alpha Males). Once again, I remember witnessing this at Phillipa's house, and once again, we were blown away. Martha seems to be able to strike up an instant rapport with whoever she is performing, and her voice fits beautifully with the smooth pipes of Kelly here.

Also appearing on Rockwiz was NZ singer Anika Moa, possessor of one of the best voices and the cutest dimples and facial expressions I've ever seen/heard. This song will always have a place in my heart, and will carry me back to these shores, no matter where I may be. Music is a powerful force, and can take you anywhere you want, all over the world, and through time, without leaving your chair.