2011: A Year in Review
Well 2011 has been some year! Strangely though I didn’t make a post on this blog until March when I popped up and announced that our first big step to Australia since we put in the application had been made. We started the process in reality at the start of the year as, in January, I’d gotten tired of hearing nothing about our Family Sponsored visa and decided to look at alternatives. In the end we found we could change to a State Sponsored one and so promptly looked at the different States. In the end ACT came out at the top of our list and so we made the application and then waited, and waited and waited. It wasn’t until June that we heard back and we were thrilled as they said yes!
June was also the month that I really started to tackle my overall health. While I’ve never been inactive in my adult life I wasn’t exactly fit nor slim. It was always a bit of a sad sight when going to play on Wii Fit only to see a fat little Mii staring back and the words obese next to the poor thing. Having cycled to work since February I signed up to take part in a charity bike ride organised by my work. In doing so I decided I’d need to do a test ride, something of similar distance, as to allow me to know whether I could do it. So I signed up for and completed the Great Weston Ride and it was quite the intro to the world of cycling. We had torrential rain for the first two hours, we went up hills bigger than anything I’d tackled before and the distance was by far the furthest I’d ever ridden. For some it may have put them off but once I’d crossed the finish line I was hooked and not just on cycling. It was after this that I decided I’d do some more rides but more than that I felt I could tackle a half-marathon!
July saw Cati and I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary with a wee party and catchup with friends. It was a lovely way to celebrate the occasion and meant we could share the moment with friends and family who also shared our big day. We had lovely weather for the day which was surprising as the weather in the week running up to it was horrid! Moving in to August I had cycling overload. First I tackled Wiggle’s Mendips Sportive which was one heck of an eye opener. As I said, after the Weston, I signed up for a few more rides and a half marathon (Cardiff to be exact) and when I saw that the route for the Mendips Sportive was just an extension, or so I thought, of the Weston I figured, I could do that. While it was further by about 8 miles I figured the overall challenge would be the same but I was very, very wrong. I was able to do the first part without issue as it was, as I thought, just the Weston Ride. The latter parts however were there to break you and by the final hill I had finally given up on trying to cycle up every hill and walked it. I still completed the ride and I was oh-so proud of myself for doing so but was a little disappointed I couldn’t muster enough energy to get up that final hill. Then later in the month I cycled from Bristol to my parents in Yorkshire which was a ride of nearly 250 miles! I completed it in five days and learnt many things about myself on the trip and about long distance cycling not least of all how mentally taxing it can be. Still it was one heck of an adventure and an experience I’m grateful for having.
September, however, was the game/life changing month as, after doing our medical and sending off our police checks in August, DIAC approved our application for a visa! Cue a sudden realisation that next year we’d be moving not just countries but hemispheres! We slowly broke the news to friends and family and set about starting to plan the move. I also completed the DIFC London to Brighton ride which was the ride I originally signed up to in June. I was really pleased with how it went despite breaking my road bike the Friday before which meant I did it on my mountain bike. Still learned a lesson which is to always check whether a car-park has a height barrier before putting a bike on a roof rack! October came around where I tackled the Cardiff Half Marathon and survived but I also turned 28.
November was relatively quiet in all honesty with no events entered or major things happening until December rocked up and on the 4th I visited the Isle of Wight for the first time to do Wiggle’s Wight Winter Sportive. It was a lovely ride and I really enjoyed the views we had as we went up so pretty decent hills. We also got great weather which, while cold, it was dry as my greatest fear was that it would be constant rain. The only downside for that ride was some of the roads we were on weren’t exactly well-kept so made the ride a little uncomfortable. Which brings us to now. Christmas is only a few days away and the New Year fast approaching. The countdown clock to our flights to Sydney is slowly ticking away and the more I look at it the more excited I get about 2012. Sure I may miss out on watching the Olympics in my home country and perhaps a few other cool things besides but if I thought this year was full of excitement and change I think next year is going to be even more full on and what’s more; I can’t wait!