“We sat down with a blank piece of paper and drew out our ideal life,” Eva Surls says as she turns her Sprinter van loaded with our mountain bikes into Dupont State Forest.I like her already. That combination of dreamer and take charge attitude in order to create a life conjured from one’s imagination is exactly the type of person I strive to be, it’s a characteristic I admire most in friends.The sun warms my elbow sticking out of the passenger seat window and the first blue sky in a week makes even a non-singer like me want to belt out a few Jack Johnson lyrics.I’ve just met Eva and don’t want to scare her off so instead I ask her more about how the Bike Farm, the base camp she owns with her husband, Cashion Smith, that caters to bikers wanting to explore the area.“We knew we wanted a piece of property big enough for friends and family to stay, and the concept evolved from there.”Eva parks at the trailhead for – and checks my fit on the bike. Before we start riding, she quizzes me on the front and rear brake and demonstrates the ready stance.We coast down a gravel road and she looks over her shoulder, her long braid off to one side, and says, “Elbows pointed out and heels down.”Eva stops before in front of the trail and talks a little about how to find the right gear for climbing and explains about shifting from the front to back of my seat depending on the steepness of the terrain.I follow her over some roots and then we turn back around and try it again to find a different line.After our second climb she reminds me to look ahead where I want to go instead of fixating on my front tire.Midway up she says, “Remember to look ahead at where you want to go.”I pick up my glance, which has been fixated on my front tire for the past few minutes, amazed at her to know where I’m looking given that she’s riding in front.We happily chat about trail running, dogs (her), and kids (me), as we ride by the river flowing below.Eva lets me know that the trail becomes more technical ahead. We climb over some more roots and negotiate some turns before the trail dips and we ride over the biggest root yet.Scared, I put my foot down right on top of the gigantic root, seemingly guarding the top of the hill.Eva stops her bike and says, “Good job getting this far. This root is bigger than the rest. Given what I’ve seen you ride so far, I know you can do it. Let’s session it for a bit.”I watch her ride it a few times and studying the way she stops pedaling a few feet in front of it, how she eases her grip from the handlebars as she approaches the root and how she presses her peddle a slight turn forward to keep her momentum once she’s crested it.Then it’s my turn. Eva is smaller in stature than me and she makes it look effortless so I figure I’ll be able to do it too.My first go I hit the root square on, my pelvis throbbing from the impact.The second time I stand there, hesitant with the realization that indecision could lead to physical pain. Eva tells me to take a minute to collect myself and take a deep breath.I think of my four-year-old son.Right now he would say, “Mama, be brave at this root.”He has this thing of misusing prepositions in a way I find adorable so I don’t correct it. Besides, it lends a certain insight that I often miss. He realizes that we don’t have to be brave globally, in all situations, that it’s enough to pick one very specific thing and direct all the courage we can muster toward that.I tell myself I will be brave at the root as I ride and shift my weight in time so that my front wheel climbs over the wheel but then hit my pedal on the side of the root. The same thing happens the next dozen tries.I keep focusing on my line, on where I’m looking, on where my feet are, and my body weight.On my last go it all comes together. I approach the root at the right angle and unweight my front tire, while still keeping my gaze ahead. Once I’m over it, I pedal forward.“I did it!” I say at the same time that Eva shouts, “you did it!”I can tell from her tone that she’s as proud as I am. We high five and ride the rest of the trail.Eva echoes my son’s wisdom. “Every ride, pick one thing to work on and session it. Spend ten or fifteen minutes trying the same move.”The rest of the week I try rolling over things on my bike. It’s such a small thing, getting my tires across a rock or a root. Even so, I swell with pride ever time.As the week goes on I notice that I’m feeling more focused as I tackle a negotiation or difficult discussion in my business life, too. By keeping focused and asking myself to meet a discrete task with a courageous attitude, I’m becoming brave at life.
50 Monterey Keys Drive, Helensvale.“It’s been well looked after,” Mr Fletcher said.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa12 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoIt was designed to make the most of its north-facing position.“What we really like is that from all the main rooms, it takes in the views from the canal,” Mr Fletcher said.MORE NEWS: Where the Coast’s interstate buyers are coming from 50 Monterey Keys Drive, Helensvale. 50 Monterey Keys Drive, Helensvale.IT has been 25 years since this waterfront property was last on the market and it looks completely different now to what it did then.Owners Bob and Margaret Fletcher bought it as a vacant block in 1993 and built the house that is there today a year later.With only a few minor changes over the years, the four-bedroom house has stood the test of time. 50 Monterey Keys Drive, Helensvale. The house has an open kitchen and family room as well as a formal lounge and dining area, both of which open onto an alfresco area with pool.This overlooks manicured gardens and the canal. MORE NEWS: Secret sale changes family’s life 50 Monterey Keys Drive, Helensvale.The outdoor area was one of Mr and Mrs Fletcher’s favourite parts of their home.“We like to sit outside in the afternoon and have a quiet drink looking over the water,” Mr Fletcher said.The couple said a lot had changed in Helensvale since they moved into the property.“It’s a good spot and everything is very close,” Mr Fletcher said.“One of the things that we do like about this area now is that there’s so many choices in shopping centres.“We’ll both be really sorry to leave.”
Pardew has no doubt the key issue for his side is a lack of cutting edge going forward and has vowed to address the problem. Newcastle rarely looked like equalising after Stoke – who also had a decent-looking penalty shout turned down and hit the post through Marko Arnautovic – went in front via Peter Crouch’s 15th-minute header. Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was only really called into action to push away one Daryl Janmaat strike, although Jack Colback missed a golden chance to level when he hit the bar late on. Pardew, whose team have accrued three points from their six league games, said: “The last third is obviously a problem for us and we have to put that right. “We have to find the answer. We’ll have to have a look at it – make changes, change the system or something. I’ve got to give the team more options in terms of going forward. “We didn’t create enough – I’m not going to make any excuses. We are quite honest with ourselves in the dressing room that we need to create more. “We had a big chance with Jack, who is beating himself up about it. If that goes in, I think we all knew what we were going to do -we were going to get the ball and try to get the winner, because we know that winning was everything tonight. “A draw would have been as bad as a defeat really tonight. We need to get a win and get it quick.” Stoke boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, hailed a “big” win for his side which brought their first points at home of the campaign. “We are delighted with that,” Hughes said. “It was an important win for us today, a big win. “There has been a little bit of negativity around our home form. But we were always quite comfortable in that we felt it was only a matter of time before our home form turned around. “And I think on the balance of play, we deserved to win the game.” Stoke moved up from 17th to 11th in the table and have eight points from their six games. Ahead of the match, Ashley – who Newcastle insist was joking with the comment – said Pardew would be ”finished” if it ended in defeat. The sportswear magnate then watched from the stands at the Britannia Stadium, while several Newcastle fans there held up ‘Sack Pardew’ signs, as the Tyneside outfit’s wait for a win in the Barclays Premier League this term extended to six games. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will not quit but accepted his future in the job was uncertain and expects “serious” talks with club owner Mike Ashley after the Magpies’ 1-0 loss at Stoke. Pardew’s side have only tasted victory once in 14 league fixtures stretching back to last season, with 10 of those games ending in defeat, and they are second-bottom of the table. Following this latest reverse, the 53-year-old said: ”I have to fight and the team have to fight and that’s what we’ll continue to do until we can turn it around.” He then added: “I think we’ll (he and Ashley) have some serious conversations before Saturday (when Newcastle face Swansea away) because he doesn’t want to lose and nor do I.” Asked how secure his position was, Pardew said: “I don’t know. But I think it’s my job really to show to the players that there are 32 games left to be strong and to show there is a resilience. “We find ourselves in a position where we are not winning games and we have to put that right.” Regarding the Newcastle supporters, Pardew said: “This is a tough job – make no bones about that – and it is tough where we are at the moment. The fans are giving their honest opinion of what they believe. “I looked at them at the end and clapped them to show I respect their views. I’m not going to hide from it. “I know there is a big question mark about me being at this football club and the only way I can answer it is to do the job to the best of my ability and try to come up with the answers.” Press Association