whatever you call it, it is the same thing.........getting on a bike and going for a ride (cycling).
Even with a trip to the alps to climb looming, cycling still dominates my training. When I have pushed myself climbing this year it has gone well, the head is right and the skills are there, goals have been achieved. Maybe it is this that allows me to focus more on the cycling, or maybe it is this?
Last night, with about 15km's to go on my commute home, I rode over a small stone clearly at a bad angle (there are no good angles to do this at) as the stone pinged off and hit a fence on the far side of the road with force, there was a familiar metallic twang and the rear wheel went wobbly immediately. "Oh crap!" Stopping and looking at the rear wheel I couldn't see the suspected broken spoke, so I pinch the pairs of spokes around the wheel until.........Ping! the broken one popped loose.
Thanks to the chap who rode passed and didn't even offer a groan of interest, fortunately not all Surrey cyclist are like that.
Spoke removed and rear brakes fully loosened off it was time to continue. My knee that had gone quietly pop earlier that morning decided it wanted to play up again. So the ride home was going to be a slow one, a human and bike limp if you will.
As the sun shone and the rear wheel kissed the seat stays each time it passed through them, and the back end wiggled like and excited dog, I noticed my pace. It was still high considering I was in limp home mode. I certainly wasn't going to increase it and was more than a bit keen eyed for bumps, holes and not standing when climbing the hills. "This back wheel could fold at anytime" I thought. Credit to Hope for a sound factory built wheel, it did not.
Arriving home I knew I'd miss the night MTB ride with the crew, but for some reason, despite the pain in my knee and the broken spoke being a pain in the arse I as was still happy.
It's that last bit I question, I love being in the mountains, climbing, walking, etc... If I have a bad time doing these activities, I'll be honest, that is what I have "a bad time". I chalk it up as experience and smile that I got to see another lovely part of the world.
I could have a shit ride in an industrial waste land and for whatever reason I will still smile. This is the point for me with cycling I guess. It seems to be a pure outlet, it washes the dirt of a long day away or allows you to escape and clear the mind of life's troubles. At relaxed pace I dream and think of the last ride, the next ride, climbing (it's always there), the next race, what next to do on the house. At full pace my legs sear, my brow sweats, heart pounds, lungs burn and only catching the guy in front counts and then the next one, and then the next......
But at the end of it all, I'll still laugh, still smile and still want more! Cycling is often referred to as a passion, rather than a sport or activity. The feelings one experiences can experience at any level, are testament to this statement. I can't fully explain why, but it does make me feel alive every time I ride, my winter climbing gives me the same buzz, but cycling is/can be a daily occurrence and has even altered my perspective on my own feelings at times.
I guess it is as much an escape as it is a passion, a love, but for many it is much more than just a sport or activity. For me, it has become part of me again, a part that I don't want to lose again.