I have spells, each winter, when I don’t ride.
Sometimes because of weather, occasionally because of sickness, often because the sight of stock-piled mince pies and the lingering waft of mulled wine makes leaving the kitchen, never mind the house, difficult.
I watch, sadly, as each item of festive food and drink gathers around my waist.
Love handles begin to form; such a difficult area for a 41 year old man.
The absences are never more than ten days or so, but in the past ten years I have ridden my bike at least once during about five-hundred of the five-hundred-and-twenty available weeks.
Ten days off is practically early retirement.
And I miss cycling when I don’t do it.
Being an introspective, overthinking, blogging kind of cyclist, I am very pleased this year for having found the word to define how these days off make me feel.
After about six days my body doesn’t feel right.
My legs have done lots of walking and sitting and propping me up while I devour Christmas cake and egg-nog, and not much rhythmic up-and-down-y exercise.
There is a knock on effect to my back, and my neck.
My posture goes wrong.
Or is it right?
It’s used to being bottom heavy, in the service of the cycling specific muscles (wrong), and so when it gets used for more upright human behaviour it straightens up (right) and, ironically, feels wrong (wrong).
Or, more accurately, buckled.
And then, by day eight, my brain buckles too.
Grumpy, can’t sleep, whirring, wrangling, and off down some rabbit hole.
The solution is one hour, no more no less, at tempo, on the rollers in the garage. Headphones on, head down, eyes fixed on the top tube. Repetitive and predictable, bones align with muscles, and it all locks back in.
Legs, back, neck, brain.
Like a tight belt at the end of a long day.
(Image: via pixabay.com)