Enter the roadbike, and him disappearing to the Cradle of Humankind at least once a weekend, sometimes more, to train ahead of this epic event, leaving me at home with the boys for significant chunks of every weekend.
“Wow, you let Brett go cycling,” people said. “Don’t you feel like you’re left alone to do everything?” they said. “What about your family life?” they said.
Well, here’s the thing.
There’s nothing about me ‘letting’ Brett go cycling. Brett took up a hobby that was 100% in the interests of him losing weight, improving his health, and having a social Thing that saw him spending down-time with people outside of his work environment. This hobby saw him building new friendships with some incredible people, and having a personal goal to work towards.
And that thing about improving his health? It means that he’ll actually be around longer for our family, because he’s healthy, he’s lost a lot of weight, and he’s managing stress so much better by exercising through it.
When he not only rode the 94.7 last year, but did it pulling one of the CHOC ice cream bikes, I couldn’t have been more proud of him, or more inspired. Don’t get me wrong, there was absolutely no FOMO about the ice-cream bike part of it - none at all. But there was a lot of FOMO about the achievement of having set a huge goal, and achieving it – and then some.
So. 2014 rolled around – and I thought I’d make it the year of “eat less and move more” – so I started spinning three times a week, so that I could actually have fun on the bike that he'd bought me a month or two earlier. Somewhere around the time that Brett rode the Argus, he also signed up for the Tsogo Sun Amashova Classic, and this year’s edition of the 94.7.
And I did too. And I'll sign up for Argus when it opens for next year as well. Because I can’t remember when last I set myself a big goal, and had to put some skin on the line to achieve it, and I figured that this was the time to do it.
And, going back to the people who said “Don’t you feel like you’re left alone to do everything?”… The only time I can find in my day to go spinning is to be at the 5h15 class. Which means that three mornings a week, I’m out of the house by 5h00, and I get back at 6h30. I have a half hour to shower, get dressed, dry my hair, do my make up and eat breakfast, to be out of the door by 7h00. And here’s the thing.
Before I started spinning in the mornings, I really did feel like I did nearly everything around the house, particularly in the mornings. But Brett and I have worked this out together, and he does everything for the boys on the mornings I spin – makes school lunches, gets them up, dressed, breakfasted, and ready for school. And I don’t feel like I do nearly everything any more, because, much as cycling is a solitary sport, we are working more like a team than ever.
I do carry (additional) burdens of mother’s guilt when I’m out on the road over the weekend training, I won’t lie. I won’t go out on the road more than once over a weekend – but I also know that my boys absolutely love spending time with my mom, Brett’s mom and her partner. It’s a treat for them to sleep out, just like the opportunity to get on my bike and cycle early in the morning, is a treat for me.
The result of all of this? I am incredibly, immensely proud of my husband (even more than I was before all this), and I’m inspired by the journey he has cycled over the last year and a half. He's kept on setting himself goals, and achieving them, and in two days' time he leaves on the 700km-in-7-days Altech Autopage Jozi to Kozi "Migration of the Soul" / Madness. This writer has no words - he's just amazing.
I’m proud of myself for getting this far with my own training goals, and the fact that I’m also raising funds for CHOC.
I am loving how our family has become more active, and much more healthy. We take great pleasure in cycling together – we occasionally do rides with the boys, or take them along on events like the recent Freedom Ride, because cycling really can be a family sport, once your children are a bit older.
And yes, we do have to juggle our diaries a little more than before all this, but I’m comfortable with that. Because we are all healthier, and Brett and I are showing our boys that big goals can be achieved if you put in the time and effort.