Some offroad fun on the Queenstown Trail.
We are now three weeks into bike touring and I am feeling much more conditioned on the bicycle. I practice something called Nia Technique. (find out more a www.nianow.com ) With so much time on the bike and studying for Nia Black Belt in August 2013 I have made the commitment to continue to embody and master the Nia principles and all things Nia while on this Family Adventure and onward.
As I was learning to dance with my bike shortly after my last blog post, it came to me that it was time to find my FAMSS. FAMSS in Nia stands for Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength and Stability. Although Nia is a fitness based class, there is much depth to the practice. Each principle can be applied to Body, Mind, Emotion, Spirit. I find for me, it makes life more fun as well as helps more stressful,uneasy situations flow with more ease.
As we continued to cycle on past Fairly, I had a slight worry (one of many I am working on letting go and trusting) that I would lose my felixibilty with all this cycling. I was happily proven wrong when I got off my bike and decided to practice some yoga. As I moved through a yoga flow-like sequence, I relized my body was more open accepting of certain yoga poses, such as pigeon that usally comes with unique joint popping sounds and stiffness. I was happily surprised. With this physical increase in flexibility, I did a check in with myself and realized I am becoming more flexible with what I think our day to day should look like. I had this grand idea that we would wake up and head out before 9 am to be done our cycling mid-afternoon to enjoy the rest of the afternoon playing with Felix and enjoying a new location. This isn’t quite the case. We have quickly learned it is best for Jason to run before cycling, otherwise, it becomes a point of tension and he doesn’t really get to have a good run…he’s too tired from cycling all day and I want him to hang with Felix and I. We also have to account for a wet tent, needing to be relatively dry before putting it away as well as a good hearty breakfast to carry us through the first half of the day. Our record thus far is leaving at 10:23 am – the funny part about this is at the holiday parks, departure time is 10 am – we push that a little, thank goodness they are flexible too.
I have found a few areas where I have am seeing my ability to be agile growing. Physically I can get my shoes out of my clips at a much quicker rate and thus not making of a fool of myself and having a dramatic stop or near fall. I now have a better ability to stop a negative feeling from turning my ride into a long angry ride to a fun, playful, adventuresome ride. It is really quite important to me that I work diliegently to get unstuck from the sorts of mental chatter than can really hinder my experience. Another area where I have found more agility in this adventure is playtime with Felix. Often at the end of the day all I really want to do is lie down and relax and the wee man wants and needs to run around play. I choose to snap out of my post riding hunger/funk and play with him. It is quite rewarding. I have found some games where he can run, while I sit and we have a fun time together. I am grateful for his love of reading as this also lets me be with him in a more restful way. If feel as though we are much better packing up at the start and re-setting up at end of each day. Becoming While it’s no elite athletes agility, finding more agility in our daily tasks makes this trip much easier.
There’s no doubt about it, The Schlarb Family has mobility. We all love to move and groove our way through life. Jason and I both find ourselves moving our upper bodies on the bike to keep ‘loose’ and keep mobile through our back chest and arms. I am really enjoying my new sense of mobility in my legs. I have a fun time getting my feet, with the help of my legs move smooth circles around the pedal. It really is amazing, focusing on this type of mobility while going uphill can make the world of a difference. Once Felix is out of the chariot, he finds ways to be mobile. There is usually a park to play, each one with it’s on uniqueness, it ‘s fun for all three of us. Jason’s favourite game is to hold me high up on the tetter totter – I don’t quite like this as much as he does.
Strength in my body is where I feel I have improved the most. Thinking back to three weeks ago when we began cycling, I would have never thought I would ride a 70 km day, then take on another 65 km the next day to include Lindis pass. I made it up Lindis pass without walking. It was quite the feat for me as I injured my knee falling on Burkes pass at the beginning of our cycling journey. My knee is healing up now as I have not had to bike much while staying here in Te Anau but it has a constant nagging pain to it. I have found strength in my mind. I worry often these days as to our safety, comfort, how long it will take us unitl we set up tent again and the list goes on. I now have a better ability to stop these worrysome thoughts and be more in the moment. I have to thank my sister, Sarah, for reminding me to ‘BE IN THE MOMENT”. Sometimes easier said than done, but I am doing my best.
My body feels strong and stable, more so now as cars pass. My body used to freeze in fear, but now I peddle on and trust we are safe. I have a few daily rituals and practices that help me to keep my mind and body in check. It’s nice to be in a rhthym. Jason and I are in more sync than I thought we would be by this time. It is a great relief to know we get stronger as a couple as the adventure continues on.
Overall we are having a good time. Eating LOTS and LOTS of delicious food we make ourselves either on our camping stove or in a holiday park kitchen. I wonder why we didn’t eat this well before? Riding so often also gives us the gift of eating more treats than ususally. I have eaten more chocolate in the past three weeks than I have in the last year. It truly is a gift to be able to cycle tour with my family. I am excited for what is to come on this adventure. We are planning some tramping, aka hiking as well as how we will eventually make our way to the wet west coast.
**Here is a quick review of where we have peddaled thus far (each town is where we camped):
Christchurch – Glentunnel – Rakai Gorge – Stavely – Mt Somers – Geraldine – Fairlie – Lake Tekapo – Lake Pukaki – Mt. Cook – Glentanner – Omarama – Cromwell – Gibbston Tavern – Queenstown and then a bus to Te Anau to save time and energy for the Kepler Challenge. You can find a race report in the near future at www.jasonschlarb.com. Cheers!
***Note: pictures have been difficult to upload. I am working on setting up another link where we can post all of our photos for you to enjoy.