Saturday, August 29, 2009


Where did the summer go?
I am presented with wind and rain and it gets dark earlier and I find it cold. I have hardly biked this week and that makes that I feel a bit guilty, I have this commitment to do the two rides in September and me not biking right now gets in my thinking as lazy. I need to give myself a break, I am not Lance-friggin-Armstrong, nor am I Alberto-living-in-sunny-Spain-Contador. I am Rose, I just started biking and the weather isn't all that good. This actually is the kind of weather that seperates the woman from the girls and the girls from the sissy's.
And I am proud to say that I am a sissy this week.

Honorary Sissy, that is me!

I have been taking care of some girly stuff, and I must say it has been an adventure.... that is a bit over the top, I have just been doing some other things really. Summer is almost over and there still is more to life than biking.

Check out this website >>>>CLICK HERE<<<<< it is in Dutch, so let me explain.
This is a foundation that collects hair for cheaper wigs for children who due to disease have lost their hair. People can donate their hair and the hair gets selected on color and a wig will be made from the hair of several people. Then the wig goes to a child.

I love that, I really do.

Since I am a sissy this week and taking care of girlie-stuff I had a hair job done and have a new hairdo, it is SHOOOOOOOORT.

And my hair will go to this foundation.
I have been thinking about donating hair to these kids, and yes I have wondered about the importance of hair when one is about to die. Does it really matter to be bold when you are really sick? I don't know. One thing I do know is that little things can make a day. For me, the short hair, I feel different, more fresh. I was a bit ashamed of my long hair, i felt like I looked like I wasn't taking care of me. Now I feel fresh and I have the idea that what I send out with this look is energy and strength and playfullness. So taking that hair away from my head already has that effect on my mind. I don't know what a wig will do for that kid. I do know that the small action of donating my hair, makes that I am excited. In a small way I am able to help. Small things matter.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Empty and yet so full

Okay, here I am, Monday evening, tired and empty.Yesterday was bike ride day, the big day.We did a 117 km (72.7 miles) ride and it was pretty warm and pretty new and for us pretty big.

For Mira and me it was the first time to be part of such a ride, normally we ride around the area where we live and we follow our front wheel and see where we end up. This ride was all planned and arranged, and there were other people on bikes.

When I was a kid and I had my birthday party coming up, I would work myself up all week, getting excited, being busy with it in my head, to only end up cranky as shit on my birthday, tired and not really able to have fun. All these years later not much has changed, apart from my awareness around this. I believe it was on Wednesday that I realized that I wasn't really looking forward to biking with other people, on Thursday I started worrying about the route that was new, on Friday I decided to put new pedals with a new click system on my bike and on Saturday I kinda lost my ability to function within regular society. I have been told once that cyclists are the most obsessive among sporters, I fit in, I truly fit in. I am anal, obsessive, controlling and rigid. So Sunday morning I was so nervous that it was really hard toeat, not handy two hours before a long ride.

When I was a kid I was unable to turn my birthday day into a nice experience, I believe I withdrew a bit from the other kids. Sunday I did not had to do my best for that at all. Since both Mira I just started we were slower than most people, so after some time we had our own private ride. We talked about giving up and we continued riding, we talked about taking it easy and we continued riding. I cried and thought about giving up and I did not get off the bike, I continued, with the support of Mira. Mira thought she was not able to get into it after lunch and she could, with my help. Unlike the past, with the birthday parties, I was able to turn my day in a very, very successful day, simply by practicing perseverance and by participating. That may seem simple common sense while sitting on the couch. On a bike, in the journey, it takes tapping into a strength that one does not use on a average day.

At the end of the ride our route and the longer one came together and we joined a bunch of guys. We all finished our ride and that gives something really nice, a feeling of being connected. It doesn't matter all that much how fast one went or how far one went, we are all there at the end and finished, our bodies tired, our asses sore, our spirit high and bright. It is the feeling of finishing, the experience of accomplishment that is really special. I don't think one needs to bike for that, it can be done by finishing a course, driving for your licence, painting the house etc. etc., simply setting a goal and making it.

It was a long and heavy day for me, needless to say that I was tired when I came home and slept like a baby. Today I was still tired and I felt a bit empty. When we were at the station yesterday to go back to Amsterdam we saw some bikers doing stunts, we also met a guy who had just finished a 24 hr mountain bike ride. We were on a natural high and zoning the crap out of our heads, not all there. At home under the shower I cried, had to let some emotions out.

Today all of that was gone, yet I was too tired to pick up my normal Monday. At a certain point I started to feel really empty and a bit negative, so I called someone and told that person about my day yesterday. He is a runner, he knows this. While I told him about my day, about the bikers we met, about almost giving up and more, I started to feel happy and full and grateful for my day yesterday.

It is all just perspective, everything is. A day can be like clay in my hands I can make or break it. I can withdraw, like I did as a kid, or I can participate, like I did Sunday. I can sit in it alone or I can share it. I can enjoy being tired or take it as a problem and be frustrated with myself all day. I can be sad and empty because yesterday is over or I can be celebrating because I could have yesterday and hold the memory today.

It is the good old glass thing, is it half full or half empty, if it is half empty it might be because I enjoyed some good milk and bless me I still have half a glass left.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Sometimes I have my feelings so mixed up, ever noticed that fear and excitement feel rather similar? I mix them up all the time, thinking I am afraid and after a talk with one of my friends I get that it is excitement that I am feeling. I don't like it, it is a nervous like feeling, it is a big and busy feeling.
So this Sunday I will be in this bike tour, all people I don't know, riding a road I don't know, I even have some new parts on my bike that I don't know. All new... and I am still the queen of control, not liking stuff that I am not the boss over. I am all worked up, like a young kid and her birthday, I know what dress (bike clothes) to wear, I know how I want my hair (helmet), I know what shoes to wear (bike shoes attached to the pedals) I know , not I do not know will be at the party and I don't know what they will do. I asked a fellow biker if he has this also and he told me it is normal.
NORMAL? I am not functioning anymore, I am nervous, emotional and sitting on my couch elaborating on whether I should bike or not today. I have a hard time focusing on my work and I feel the need to put all my biking belongings in a place where I can see them, just to be sure I have what I need.
I think I am a bit afraid for new stuff and that is why I do it, because it is also exciting and a challenge. I think I am not really afraid.

This morning I was on the phone with my mom, my dad had a lot of hospital stuff the last years because he had cancer twice. I told my mom that I was reading the book of Lance Armstrong about how he survived cancer. My mom and I talked a bit about my dad, he will have a check up next month. Five years after all the chemo and stuff cancer patients are being checked to see if it is not coming back.
I remember the first time my dad got diagnosed, I got this phone call and right away everything in me went silent, no thoughts, no feelings, nothing. Just the words "dad has cancer". My first action was to go online and look up everything I could about cancer.
The second time I took a huge distance from my family when I heard it. My dad was in the hospital in Paris where they could treat him for the rare cancer that he had. When I first heard it, I again had this silence, this emptiness and the next day I was angry and afraid and within no time I took a distance emotionally.
I have noticed that, that is what I do when I am afraid, really afraid, it goes still and naturally I know to put one foot in front of the other.

My mom and I also talked about the last months I had. Some time ago I went to the doctor because there was this thingy growing out of me. He told me it had to be removed and it had to be checked, so I made an appointment at the hospital, I had surgery etc etc. It all took long, long waiting for the first check, another check, next check, surgery, waiting for results etc etc.
I had that silence again, I made my world really small, not that I choose to do so conscious, I just knew the people to deal with and to not get others involved. I was afraid and because of my inner silence it did not paralyze me.
At times I was irritated, something was in my body and I wanted it out now. This was all so much between my body and me. Also the surgery, the waiting, the operation room, the coming by, it was all very silent and alone. Somehow I was able to let things be the way they went. Everything turned out to be okay, it wasn't cancer. And I got a bonus out of it, I became fully aware of my love for my body, I want to take good care of it, and I know now even more that I want to live.

Thing is that there is fear and there is fear. What I have for Sunday is not fear, it is exciting. Excitement feels like fear only that silence of logging into the basic needs mode is not there. That is because there is no need to do so. Excitement is fun, doing new stuff is fun, finding challenges is fun. I do it because I get a kick out of it and in the end I want more. I do not have to go into basic needs mode because if I do so I will miss out on the fun.

I really feel that I have gotten a bit too personal here, and am a bit ashamed, then again I am proud at me doing this. I am glad that I discovered I am not afraid, but that I am excited, so that tomorrow I can blog about something mild, light and shallow.

Boy am I gonna have fun on Sunday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No bikers for you my friend!

The bikers were not there, being cool is a fulltime job, so maybe they did not have the time to play tonight. I did take a walk and took a picture, the weather is bad now, it will rain and thunder tonight and that gave great light. While I enjoyed that and made pictures I learned something new about "cool".
The absence of one cool does not exclude the other.

Meet Gina Lolo, the coolest bitch in town.
And for the bikers, I will follow them until I can make some pictures, maybe better luck next Thursday.

There is more to life than cycling

Oh my god, it is HOT, un friggin bearable hot and humid.
Right there is a thing with Dutch summers, they hardly ever are hot and when they are it is humid. I live in an attic, so staying in was just not an option and also to go out biking when it is like this, really not my top of the list fun thing to do.
Today I decided to do other things to cool off. I was noticing that all I was thinking about was my bike, so I needed a break from that one, after some heavy withdrawal I was able to come with a fun thing to do. I went into the city to look for cool things. Coolness is what keeps me going on a day as hot as this. Cool can just be so many things really. It is really subject to opinion, scene, personality, culture and age. So what is cool?

Like a true bike addict I first went and asked for help from my specialist in cool bikewear at Lohman (a bikeshop in Amsterdam, that hopefully will have a good website soon). See I fully and completely put my coolness in bikewear presentation in the hands of a tiny, somewhat chubby, bold guy who works at the bikeshop. Why? He'd never sell me bullshit when it comes to
bikewear. Now cool in terms of warm weather is something fresh, cold a relief from the heat. In biking terms there is something that can offer something similar.

This sizzling sense of relief. Something that makes every biker wanna go oooomph. I have seen it happen in that shop that several grown up guys get all excited about this product.
It is ... BUTTCREAM. Right, okay.... I am just guessing that today, the regular bike scene will not offer me the ultimate coolness. Time to move on.

Living in the capital of my country, a bigger city, there is always something cool to do. Many people have an image of Amsterdam that is very much defined by the hashbars and the hookers, but there is more to Amsterdam then that. In the area of the city where I live there is a sculpture show going on. I didn't know that until I biked passed this wooden fellow.

And he is not alone.
There is onion girl.

We also have the mom of Jack the Ripper. (lil' Jackie wasn't happy)
And some sort of muppet car.

I am not trying to make fun of art here, I really loved the sculpture of the woman with the chopped of head. It is also so very Amsterdam to do that next to a school. I was happily surprised to find this in my neighborhood and I find it cool. However I can imagine that there will be people who find it complete pulp and who much rather go to a hashbar and after that visit a hooker. Or just hang at Museumplein and be one of many on a highly unique vacation picture.

The thing with coolness is really that there is no one way to be cool. For one it can be relief from the boring place where he grew up, for the other it can be the relief of self. The way I see cool has changed really. For a long time my cool always was related to other people, how they would see me. Today hanging around in the city, making pictures of what I liked, that was cool, that was fun. It is cool in relation to myself. Ten years ago being cool was for me being part of a group, not having my own identity and copy catting the shit out of what they did, just to belong. I wanted to be like other people. What I know now is that I wanted what they had, they were who they were and that was attractive. Their coolness wasn't all that much in what clothes they wore, what parties they'd go to or how they talked and walked, it was in their acceptance of self and freedom in moving on this planet feeling good in their own skin. My friend Mira has that, she is okay with herself and has the courage to share that. My friend Jonah has it, part of his self is that he loves goodies, so he always has funny things, cool stuff. I stopped copying him, the stuff is cool on him, because he is cool not because of the stuff.

Tonight I am going to watch a bunch of guys playing polo on their bikes. Pretty cool. They are riding on fixed gear bikes. That is such a hype world wide. I almost got myself one of those bikes, because I felt that that would make me cool. So I looked at how to build one and how much it would cost me and then I realized that I was only getting it to look cool. And I asked myself what I really wanted, that resulted in my latest roadbike. Glad I do not need to be cool anymore.
I am comfortable with the fact that I can be a bit nerdy, that I bike in a tight outfit and pink glasses, I like that I spend the afternoon by myself making pictures of sculptures. And that is my coolness, I like being me. And tonight I will bring all of that to watch these guys ride their bikes and in all my coolness I will make pictures and post them here later.

It is still hot outside, my quest for coolness didn't change that, but I sure had a fun day!
DOUBLE CLICK HERE this is the link to the map of the ride of sunday

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

enjoy the ride...

Yesterday I was on the phone with my mom, she and my dad and the two dogs live in the South of France. She told me about groups of bikers who never stop, even when it is her right to drive first on a crossing. She thinks that is dangerous. Maybe she tried to warn me to be careful around cars. She is right, sometimes cars can be very dangerous. I told my mom that if she sees a group of bikers, to just stop, even when she has the right to go first. I explained to her that these bikers go with an enormous speed and that they are a group and that their feet are attached to the pedals and making them stop is more dangerous than to just let them go. CLICK HERE

This made me think about biking in such a group, or just biking with more that 3 people, there is something to it. What I told my mom, to just stop as it is safer, also sometimes goes for being in a group of bikers. Like the other day Mira and I were biking with a bunch of guys, from the first second on the speed was high and the ride was chaotic. I am known for my control-freakish-tendencies so I tried to ride on front all the time. Only the tempo was not mine so I could not keep up. That made that I not only became part of the chaos, I actually contributed to it. I had to simply stop that and let the flow of events be, to just go along.
That is difficult for me, I like to ride on front, I want to be the biggest, the baddest and the whatever...
Let's face it, men bike faster than women, fighting to ride on front all ride will not get me far, I am not strong enought to do that... yet.

The body of women works different than the body of men, that makes that women get tired faster and that they cannot reach as high a speed as men do. My head was telling me that I was a loser with the big L if I couldn't compeed with these men.
My understanding of the human body told me it was okay. I choose to stop fighting, to simply surrender to the fact that I was not going to ride on front, I had to accept that I am a woman.
So that is what I did and I had a fun ride. Very intence, as in the middle of such a group of bikers a lot happens, it takes high concentration and strong perserverance and willingness to finish that ride and to let others be, to allow me to battle my mind and my body in silence among other riders. For me it takes courage to let others take the lead and allow them to take care of me. Once I let go, I was sucked into the ride and given the strenght of others riders. There always is a bonus in leting go of control.

Stopping, surrendering and letting go of control is maybe the best thing that I have ever done in my life. I can come across as a strong woman who has no fear and who keeps on going forward.
I have an enormous drive to go forward. To stop, for me, is scary. I know that when I go forward I will have complete control over where I go, I will have complete control over when I get there and with the paste that I choose to go forward, I have complete control over who is with me when I get there. Only often I find myself in the grip of my "going-forward-paste" and in fear to stop, in fear to fail.
I can have all sorts of so called reasons not to stop, such as, it will be boring if I am not going forward in my high speed paste, now if I look at the bikeride, it was everything but boring, it was pretty exciting and safe at the same time. I found me and another limit in that ride.
Another one is that if I stop now, everything will fall apart... really, did the roads disappear when I was no longer riding in the front? Did my fellowbikers lack the strenght to finish the ride with me in the middle? No, everything was okay.
I will be a failure if I take it easy, well, I am the only one thinking that, maybe a wise idea would be to trust others and to see that finishing a ride on itself is already something very good. And I can be proud at myself.

Where do I try to go with this and what does it have to do with my mom and the phonecall and the groups of bikers in her area?
I am learning to let life be the way it is, to just do my best and to allow me to stop sometimes, to look around and see the life that I live. To let others take care of me so I can be with them till the end. To let others carry me when I cannot carry myself. I am learning that life isn't a battle and that my drive to go forward and to be strong all the time will bite me in the ass, one way or the other. And that is my experience and I stick to it.

When I am in the group of bikers passing my mom, my flow of events is one of a fast forward paste, when I am in the car with my mom, stopping for a group of bikers, my flow is one of stopping and taking it easy. Being in the group of bikers sometimes does not say that I will never be the one in the car, both are possibilities in my life. Without that high speed I cannot be aware of stopping, without stopping I cannot be aware of the high speed. Both are essential ingridients for a dynamic, rich and fully lived life.

Carpe Diem

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ride n Roll

What I like most in the biking that I do these days is not the ride, not roads, not the sun on my skin. I just love and I dare to say that in capital, I just L O V E my head.
Here is where it all started, last year I bought myself a gift. This fancy milkgreen mountainbike and I was taking it out for a ride. It took some obstacles for me to get it so far, since I had to wear bikepants. These pants have this thing in them that feels as if you are wearing a pamper. Top that with it being insanely tight and what you have is discomfort beyond measure, in the head that is, for my behind it is the best that can happen.
Here I am a woman in her thirties, living her second life, convinced to make the best out of it, in a tight pair of pants, on a huge mountainbike, in a country flat as my chest. No technical skills what so ever, not even mentioning my physical condition, as at the tinme I was still smoking.
Needless to say that my career as a mountainbiker did not reach the limitlessness (is this spelled correct?) of the.... I cannot find the words.
Let me describe what went on. In my head I was riding mountains, I was fast, I was making those jumps you see on the cover of bike magazines. Where in fact, my ass was covered with mudd on just one side, because I had forgotten that my feet were attached to the pedals. Every twenty minutes I had to stop for a fag, a smoke or a sig.
What I did have at the time was perserverance. It did not matter what the weather was like, I was on that bike, riding. I truly found happiness in those still hours on my bike, seeking to find what I call "city's end".
My friend gave me a second bike, a steel Gazelle roadbike form the eighties, it was then that I discovered what biking could be. This old skool bike with it's thin tires, riding it felt like dancing, like sitting on the back of a swan. Riding that bike was freedom.
So my mean green mountain biking machine found its way to the attic and I became a roadbiker.
Due to several different events I could not continue riding and before I knew it it was summer and my bikes were to be found under a grey layer of dust.
What gave me a kickstart was Le Tour de France. This is where the headgame begins. After having these men ride in my livingroom, right through my tv screen, I became one of them. Their battle was mine and my battle was theirs, yellow never looked as good on me as in those days, mont ventoux became my waterloo. The drama, the suffering, the battle and the constant pressure. By now I am mentally married to Contador, wearing the white sweater of Schleck, supporting LIVESTRONG on my Trekbike to be.
All of that is in my head, in fact I am still the thirty something year old woman who just started riding.
So I got myself a new bike, a nice rigid frame and some new bike pants (3 pairs and shoes and a helmet, new socks, a jacket, more socks and more and more) and I bike about four times a week, with my dear friend Mira. And the image I have of me on the bike is the image I have gotten to know so well while watching my husband to be, Contador, in Le Tour, while watching the eyes of the eagle Armstrong.
So today I decided to make some pictures....


I look Goofy!
It truly is all in my head. It is that head that gives me the strenght to continue when my legs are tired and hurting, to step on that bike even when my back hurts. But boy do I need to adjust that mental image of how I look on the bike, or I simply have a long way to go.

Fact I love biking!
Fact I love the pain of biking!
Fact I love the battle in my head!

The image that I have of myself, it might not be correct, only it gives me the strenght to continue, to do whatever it takes, to fully go for it.

Today an old man passed me on his bike, grey hair and all, I admired him, with biking the image in the head is very important as it moves the body, that guy on the outside looked old, his inside might just be just as sharp looking as the image I have in my head.

It tells me a lot. In life I have learned to bring the body, the mind and heart will follow, only the idea the bring the body comes from the head, it is there that the decission is made to follow the heart.

Today I decided to follow my heart and to bring the body into the direction that it needs to go.... forward.

Biking simply is more than just pushing the pedals as fast as you can.

And the mountainbike? I sold it this weekend.

How can it be?

I have always seen blogging and public journaling as the ultimate self obsession and like every high level judgemental internet user I too end up blogging....
My rationalizations will be is a nice way to inform my parents odf what I am doing this summer, then why am I writing in English?
...I'd like to have a place where I can put my pictures online, so if that is the case, why don't I open a photo page?
...this is for my friends to stay in contact with me, okay that makes sense, and facebook is not working for that?
How bout.... I want to keep my memories updated because I realize how important it is to cherish every moment of my life, that truly is a great one, however, I do not need to go public for that, now do I?

I need to get real here, I love having people read my thoughts and adventures, it is a decent way of dancing on bar in a club, it is walking in the hottest bikini for mindpeople.
Let's face it, I am not the kind of person that should be dancing on a bar wearing hot boots, nor should I be on the beach in a hot bikini, it is just not me. It could be me, only for now it isn't me.

Somehow I am hoping that my friends will read what I do and that they will enjoy that, that they will together with me bike around the Netherlands and enjoy what I enjoy. I hope to bring a sparkling message of my life into the offices and livingrooms of the people I love. I am somewhat insecure about posting this, I am somewhat in shame around being one of those self obsessed people, writing a blog. Only with friends in the US, in South Africa (whooop whooop Joburg!), parents in the South of France, a niece in the East of Holland, a dear choosen sister in New Zealand and a Scandinavian one, blogging might just be a great way to share the greatness of life with my loved ones.

Let's see where it takes me.

I am looking forward to the rest of the summer, where my friend Mira and me will be part in some biketours. Starting this weekend we will do a smaller one of 100 KM near Amersfoort.
In September it will be the "Kneteman Classic" and the "Dam tot Dam ride" that will be 140 KM.

And it is that, my biking that I want to share, also I wnat to share the fun I have with my niece, Eva, she is the sweetest thign and really being with her is just as big an adventure as riding my first ride as she is my first niece.

Peace out, let's enjoy the ride....