Author Archives: Gouldee07

Mancold

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So I’m sick. Bugger. Picked up a bug while in Sydney visiting relatives and now I’m down for the count. Still, time to read a few blogs, watch some rubbish tv and realise I’m not very good at sitting still.

Having a cold when you have to work is a pain. Do I go in, do I stay home. If you stay home feeling guilty about not being at work. If you go in feeling crap and spreading your bugs round the office. So much fun.

Since I entered the world of early retirement about 18 months ago, this is only the second time I have been sick to the point of being house bound. My guess is that I am no longer subjected to the bugs others bring to work and that then happily circulate through the air conditioning. I so miss sitting in little meeting rooms with some stoic individual coughing and spluttering their way through the meeting. Wonderful.
I think being fitter and not dealing with the stresses of working life also help avoid downtime. That, and being able to rest when you do feel a little under the weather also helps.

So what to do. I can only watch so much tv. Hanging out to get back on the bike and get my km count back on track. Oh well.

I need to ensure I am well by Saturday. Sound Wave, a rather heavy music festival is hitting town. The wife and I like a bit of metal so Metallica, here we come. Always feel my age at these shows but hey, we are not the only oldies there. Now where is my black T shirt?

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Two sets of tyres later

Latte at a favourite cafe after a ride

As I roll into 2013 leaving 2012 in my slipstream, I felt the need to look back at my first year and a half as an early retiree.

Firstly the obvious questions, no I don’t miss work and no, I’m not bored. I love the freedom of choice that comes with the turf. As well as not being tied into the rhythms of working life, with my kids now 19 with car licenses and developing their own life’s, I am no longer tied to their routines. My daughter only got her license a few months ago. Up until then I was tied into her University schedule. Whilst it’s nice to be needed by your kids, once she was mobile, my independence blossomed along with hers.

I lost my Dad mid year at the age of 90. I miss him and I’m not going to talk about that here, it’s still raw.

Riding into retirement? Well, I track all my rides using a Garmin Edge bike computer. A GPS built for your bike. I upload all my ride data, my ride diary if you like to Garmin Connect. So I can happily report with accuracy that I have ridden 7800km this year to date. My goal was 7000km so happy with that. This took 378 hours and included 78,000 m of elevation gain. 151,252 calories burnt. Sorry for the stats, bit nerdy with this stuff but it really helps motivate me and my Garmin 800 records it all for me. During the year I added mountain biking into the mix which has brought some adventure to the mix (although by nature drops the km count). I have only been over the handle bars once and no broken bones as yet. I have trouble remembering I’m not 20 once I’m on the trails.

I have taken some time out from my riding schedule to squeeze in some travel. Since retiring have travelled within Australia to: the Southern Flinders ranges, once with the daughter and once with the wife and mountain bikes; Riverland in the Z to play golf with son after he finished Year 12; Clare Valley, with Mrs and bikes; Melbourne, once in the Z, and once by train while the other half did a Uni course.

I have also been fortunate enough to travel overseas, Late last year a South Pacific Cruise ex Sydney with wife and kids, Singapore in January with daughter and back to Singapore with the wife for a cruise to Hong Kong. No kids! A first. We are hitting Europe and the U.S. next year. All the travel has rekindled my interest in photography, great to have another interest to pursue.

I love my routine at home but am learning I need a change of scene and new experiences every few months, be it a few hundred or thousand km from home.

The day to day home routine is still sorting itself out but constants are to start the day with a coffee and chat with the wife and then a ride. I do the food shopping once a week, cook for family most days ( variable results), and do the house chores/cleaning/laundry ( obviously a lower priority than riding). I go to the gym sporadically. I should be going regularly but I prefer riding and find the gym a little dull. In need to work on this aspect.

I have spent a relatively small amount of time on home repairs/ maintenance (refer hours spent riding). I need to improve on this, so my wife firmly informs me. Very occasionally I find myself home alone. I confess that I love it when this happens. I love the family but quiet time is special time.

When I started this blog I thought I may write more frequently and that it might be part of my new routine. However, looks like the urge to write only manifests itself infrequently, so I can’t claim it to be part of my routine as yet. I do enjoy following other blogs on early retirement though. I find it helps me as I find my own ‘new’ life.

I read from other blogs about the retirement honeymoon period and the risks of becoming bored, depressed or lost. I guess it’s early days but as I pedal into 2013 I am feeling content about my early retirement lifestyle. I love the choices, love the freedom and love to ride.

Fat tyres and snakes

Waterfall trail in Belair National Park

When I purchased a mountain bike a couple of months back, a part of me was worried I might not ride it that much. Being addicted to road riding, could I cross over to fat tyres and  get down and dirty.

I am pleased to write that I have been having a ball. Have been exploring Mtb trails on my lonesome and with my brother. Then playing guide for my wife and most recently my son. Yes, the disease is spreading, my lad purchased a bike a week ago. Very excited to be riding with the boy.

We live in the Adelaide hills and are spoilt for choice for cross country riding.  For a quick outing the Belair National Park is always fun. The riding in there is mostly easy along fire trails but you are quickly surrounded by bushland, and often see kangaroos, koalas and emus. You can spot the koalas by observing the piles of poo under their favourite trees as it sticks to your tyres. From my place a loop in the park gives you around 15km of riding with some good climbing to get the heart rate up.

Nearby are the Craigburn trails. Km’s of purpose built trails all sign posted and offering a range of challenges. Of course the is Australia and its heading towards summer so one of those challenges is snakes. Oh, yes, last week a bloke my son and I were riding with had one rear up at him as he rode a downhill section and it went between his wheels! Normally the noise scares them off, but not always. Two days later on the same trail with my brother a saw the tail end of a very large brown snake heading into the grass. Geez.

Last week my son and I also tackled Eagle Mountain bike park. Set around an old quarry, plenty of single track to challenge our bike handling skills. We both had minor falls on tight switchback climbs but no injuries. Once you get into the bushland area after a bit of climbing you are rewarded with fantastic views back over the Adelaide plains and the Gulf plus lots of wild flowers blooming at this time of year.

So this post is a little disjointed but wanted to describe the joy I am finding in getting out and about on the local trails. Fun on the trails and great riding with my brother and my lad and very occasionally the Mrs.

Diversification : enjoy the ride

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After about 5 years of rolling out the km on the road bike, I recently cheated on my road bike and bought a Mountain Bike. Yes, I have crossed to the dark side.
How did this happen, why did I stray from the the straight and narrow road? Temptation. My brother, also retired although a little older suggested we go mountain biking once a week. Hit the trails, get muddy, back to nature. Get down and dirty. His wife, quite reasonably, had commanded he was not to go bush without a partner in case of a fall. So he dropped the word on me.
Initially I was hesitant. Love my road bike you see. Could I love another?
I pondered this opportunity for a few days, keen to have a day with my brother each week and also recalling the fun I used to have on my old Mongoose hardtail (20 year old mountain bike with no suspension).

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So, I thought, perhaps I will just pop into a bike shop and have a look, no harm in that . Look but don’t ride. It will be ok.
Alas, I was wrong. I fell in love with her at first sight. A Trek Ex Fuel 9.9. A top end dual suspension mountain bike ON SALE nearly half price. It was meant to be.
Things had changed in the mountain bike world since my last purchase in the early 90’s.
Front suspension and even rear suspension. This sounds like fun. A carbon frame, wow.
Weights 11kg built. Oh yeah.

So now I have added some diversity to my weekly exercise / riding regime. Exploring the Adelaide Hills on the Trek and, as a bonus, some nice rides with my brother (who just upgraded his bike to a 9kg Merida 09 team hard tail.)
My lovely wife who used to ride a roadie with me has also bought a mountain bike and is enjoying it and not missing the traffic that goes with road riding. Hoping she will become a regular on my rides.

Enjoying the riding, trying not to be too silly, although I did descend a set of wooden steps yesterday, dumb but fun. I’m sure this is what my Financial planner meant by diversification.

Have to say I am enjoying the early retirement lifestyle.

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Riding into Retirement

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I am a passionate cyclist. I don’t compete but I do wear lycra. I train, but only for my own satisfaction.

I took up riding about 5 years ago, by accident really. My son had joined the triathlon team at school so we were bike shopping (love bike shopping). As we did our research I found myself wanting to give it a go. So I took the plunge and bought a roadie, a mid level bike by Blue Competition Cycles, aluminium frame, 105 shimino gears. Good enough to get into it but not to scary an investment. A bit heavy up the hills, like me. My basic plan was to get fit enough to be able to ride with my brother who is also a mad keen cyclist.

So 5 years on and am riding every day that I can. For the first couple of years my wife was also riding but unfortunately, one winter she went into cycling hibernation and is still yet to emerge. Im now on bike number three, an R3 Cervelo, SRAM red, which it just a fantastic ride. Weighs about 6.7 kg. Mmmm, perhaps the subject of another post.

I find riding gives structure to my week now that I am no longer working. I ride 4-5 days a week, 2-3 hours at a time, plus a coffee stop. Weekend rides are with my brothers bunch.

Riding blows a bad or sad mood away although I do find myself getting grumpy if the weather is poor and I can’t get my km’s in. I take much inspiration from the older riders I see out on the road. Some of them over 70 and still going hard. In fact my brother has just turned 60 and is a fitter rider than myself.

I find a common question when people learn I am retired at 48 is, “don’t you get bored”. I tell them about riding, amongst other activities but usually get a quizzical expression in reply. It keeps me fit, happy and healthy. I feel fortunate that I found my passion for riding before I was given the choice not to work, it helped make the leap.

The dining room

So I visited my Dad yesterday, he’s in a aged care home about 15km across town. It’s a nice place, high quality care, good staff etc. I usually visit once a week, sometime I drive other times I ride my bike. When I ride I do tend to feel a bit out of place wandering the corridors in my lycra.

Dad is getting on a bit, he recently turned 90. Up until a year ago he was living on his own at his home, but one fall to many and some other significant health issues lead him into aged care.

I love visiting Dad but it’s hard. He just seems so frail now, even compared to a year ago. I joined him for dinner in the dining room. Probably about 5 tables of residents, 20 or so in all. It’s a strange experience, most just sit in silence, eating and knocking back a plethora of medications.

Dads move to aged care coincided with the period I found myself with a choice of continuing to work, or not. Experiences like the dining room help me make my decision to spend my time as I choose and add to my determination to stay fit and active. Before visiting Dad yesterday I played golf with my son, and before that, drove my daughter to Uni (college). Retirement allows me to spend and value time with family.

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So what do you do?

On the weekend we attended a friends housewarming. In speaking to a couple we had just been introduced to we got the standard, “so what do you do?”
My wife led with Phd student whilst I bravely tried , ” nothing, I’m retired” as I was interested to get a reaction, and perhaps as I had a glass of red in my hand. This was followed by a bit of a pause and a slightly perplexed look as the guest tried to work out if I was serious.
I then moved on to outline that I was indeed retired and spent my time riding my bike and being a house husband ( although my wife prefers the term house bitch).
It’s about 9 months now that I left my job after 27 years of service. It’s only now I feel comfortable explaining my choice not to continue to work and to have a bit of fun with it when meeting new people.

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