“Ascetic” is a Greek word that means “training” or “exercise.” I have discovered that “work” is all the same. Whether artist, athlete or bricklayer makes no difference. I exercise with my mind and body and hone my nature. I haven’t tried bricklaying.
I practice in the darkroom and out in the world with my camera. When I do this, my ability and skill increases. Bicycling is no different. I put on my kit and ride, either my mountain or road bike. The more I practice, the better I get. If I have questions then I find the answers. In both cases there are people I consult. Some of these questions seem simple, maybe banal. To me, however, they are stepping stones to ability and skill. I search for the beginner’s mind in myself…it’s all about the hills.
I rode the 3rd Annual Paros Mountain Bike Race in Kostas a couple of Sundays ago. The weather was perfect. There were 57 riders, almost all of whom were younger and in better shape than I. Still, after having riden the course 4 times in the previous 2 weeks, I beat my own best time by a solid 5 minutes. That is all that matters.
I took out the road bike last week and went around the island (64 km), a ride I have taken many times. I rode it in 2:50:16, which is far too slow for my tastes. I need more speed, and that is a fact. The hills are killing my time, and Paros is full of them. Sometimes I slow down to as little as 9 kph. My average speed on the whole route was a mere 21 kph. I would like to up my average to 24 kph. This means training and hills, hills, hills. More practice, more work, more bricklaying.
There is a song I have been hearing at one of the cafés where I hang out. It is a lovely, modern Greek love song. It also helps me to learn some more Greek. It is here…
Have a listen.