Helen Findlay

My adventures in Middle Europe and The Colonies. This blog contains my own views and opinions and does not represent those of my employers, or any other organisation with which I am involved. Remember, just because it isn't Singletrackworld, doesn't mean it isn't shite !

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mid-Life Crisis Girl

I know I seem kind of young to be having a mid-life crisis, but remember that I smoked for (ahem) a number of years so will probably die in my 60s !!

Anyways, work has been getting me down to the point where I have decided that life is too short to spend 7 hours a day feeling miserable, so have decided to quit. Will hand in my weeks notice at some point soon, definitely by the end of August. I have two weeks holiday starting 12th so will hopefully be able to post it in while I am away. A bit unfriendly, but as my boss has now moved from not speaking to me to hissing at me when I pass her in the corridor not really feeling like being generous with that.

Yippeee !!!! Just waiting on my re-mortgage coming through. Have decided to draw on some of the ridiculous amount of capital that I have in my flat, bought on the cheap just before prices went off the scale in Edinburgh. That way I get to keep the flat (rent will more than cover an interest-only mortage) and the investment, and have some money to live for a couple of years and travel for a while, then retrain in something more interesting. Or as Kieren put it "Helen, I can't believe it has taken you 10 years to work out that Librarianism is a bit boring"

I fancy a journalism course, have always regretted that I never took that place at Wellington Polytech PG course in 1994. Will see what happens. Immediate plan is to mess about in Scotland in September, do some racing down in England, then head somewhere warm for 6 months. Haven't quite decided where yet, but printed off the dates for the NZ XC series in jan/feb 2007 yesterday. Would be nice to go somewhere and learn a language too, there are some possibilities in Spain or Italy.

For those of you that think I am silly to spend the money I should be saving, here are some rationalizations: 1. I have no family and children to worry about and never will so who needs the security 2. Life is short and fragile and its a waste spending it being miserable when you don't have to. 3. Some people spend £30k on a wedding, and thats never going to happen is it ? 4. Lots of people retrain at my age, and I am lucky that I made a well jammy investment 5 years ago and can benefit from it. 5. I would have gone slowly bonkers if something hadn't changed. 6. Whats wrong with riding my bike for a while - it makes me happy.

The only thing that gets me down about the whole plan is that I will have to find a permanent home for Ramona (my cat) who I will miss terribly but she will be happier somewhere settled. Hazel knows some body who lives in the country that might be able to take her, she would love that.

So anyway, other things that have been happening. The Selkirk Merida was on sunday, a 88k offroad "race". Well its not really a race so they say, but if it was I would have won it, was first woman over the line in the long event. Brilliant day, great course etc really enjoyed it apart from the terrible back pain from my camelbak and the long fire-road climbs, but toughed it out.

I have rented out my flat for the Edinburgh Festival and moved down to Bill's empty flat in Leith. Too good an opportunity to make money to miss out, and I will be away down in Wales for a week anyway. Bill resolutely appears not to be coming back from India and hasn't been in touch quelle surprise. Its making my bike or car commute to Livi 20 mins longer each way I'm pure knacked, but that could be 5.25 hours of offroad racing on sunday catching up with me.

Went to a funeral on wednesday, Sandra that I used to work with, and is a good fiend of Petra, her husband Harry died suddenly last week. Terrible shame, they had just retired and were looking forward to spending some relaxing time together. It was a nice funeral, humanist celebrant with no religion and lots of Robert Burns poems.

British XC Nationals down in Wales a few weeks ago. I have attached a wee report I wrote for the SXC website below. I thought I had come 8th, but according to British Cycling rankings I came 5th. I am now 5th ranked Elite XC rider in the UK, which is a bit of a joke as its due to the points for the Scottish races being counted, and I generally get on the podium. I am certainly not the 5th best rider in the UK !! Am hoping to finish the year in the top 10 tho, to keep my Elite licence for 2007 if I decide to stay in that category.

Here's the report from the British Nationals:

"Travelled down to Wales at a leisurely pace on friday. Driving, entertainment and bananas supplied by James Ouchterlony.

Arrived at the venue, sun out, nice view, good parking spot "choice one, quick lap of the course no worries". Hmmm. The course was, as my mother used to say about my outfits when I left the house on a saturday night during the 80's "different" (as in you look "different" tonite dear). Slog up a steep grassy climb ouch that hurt. Exit on to the loosest driest dustiest steepiest fireroad in the history of the western world. Drier than a stockmans throat in Alice after rounding up 500 cattle during the 1984 Castlemaine strike, well you get my drift. I managed to ride most of it in practice apart from a short section where I was forced off by the tractor towing the DH'ers up the hill.

Oh well, my only mission was to finish the race, due to my recent spate of DNFing. Rumor going about the camp was that Ollie B had driven back home to get his granny ring. James stuck with his double. Many people (not naming names but if you really want to know check BC site on monday for the LONG list of DNS at the end of the results) packed up their bikes and went home.

Went back up on saturday, Ruth McGavigan and I decided not to bother riding up the godawful climb and hitched a lift on the DH truck. The descent was ace, steep, loose, lots of fun but all rideable by the Test Midget so happy enough with that.

So anyway, sunday morning comes along, and we all line up in the traditional fashion, except nobody seems to know when we start, what order we start in, who is in what category etc etc. I just know I have to go up that climb 5 times and it will not be fun. Stand next to Jenny Copnall (British Champion) at the start line, overhearing a conversation along the lines "who am I racing, is Amy Hunt racing us, whats going on etc etc" the commissaire didn't appear to know. And anyway the whole thing was put back many times as the DH was running late (quelle surprise)

And we are off, and that climb is even more of a b***h in the race than it was in practice just could not stay on the bike. I had the luxury of some professional drinks service courtesy of The Barrie Clarke Massi-ve, standing at the top of the climb, but sadly my bottle fell off at the top of the descent so that was a lap reminscent of the great Castlemaine strike. I even picked up a bottle off the ground and drank the contents I was that thirsty.

But back to the race, it was hard. Jenny C was the only woman that I saw that actually rode the whole climb. I was lapped by Ollie Beckinsale (Mens British Champion) 3 TIMES. On his last lap he was so far ahead of the rest of the men, I heard this dude behind me whistling a wee song. "do you want by ?" "Oh not thats OK - take your time" I think he just wanted to check out my arse.

Enjoyed the descents, had a few wee crashes but none of them hurt too much so cool.

Some good results for the Scottish riders, Ruth rode a fantastic race to take the Silver medal, well done Ruth. Hamish Creber won his race, Iain Nimmos (his evil greek twin) won the Masters and Ross Creber took 4th in the Juniors after leading most of the way but puncturing. James O was 6th and James FM was up there in the top 10 I think.

I have seriously no idea where I came. There were 12-13 girls in my race, I didn't have the best time, got lapped so only did 4 laps, but I think the drop out rate was quite high BUT I FINISHED. The results may not reflect the actual race events, due to the short lap that did seem to be separating the men from the boys many were lapped and there was much confusion.

This is the second time in 2 years I have driven down to Wales for the Nationals to take my bike for a walk !! But all up a good weekend, how can it not be enjoyable to ride your bike in such nice weather.

Drive home hellish, but thats for another forum discussing the best way to throw up in your car on the hard shoulder of the M6.

See you all at Contin (maybe - I'm seriously considering taking up Downhilling)"

Petra's fundraising cruise for Hep C awareness

And here are me and Fiona on the Maid of the Forth. Obviously, I totally disapprove of women drinking pints, but it was for charity after alll.

Scottish XC Champs Podium

Well - the picture-bot seems to be working again !! Here's me on the podium collecting my silver medal at the Scottish XC Champs.