It was a day where the heart wasn’t so much in it as on the sleeve, beating like a bastard, and propelling me in the direction of hills.
The post-Christmas impulse to self-punish kicking in. An effort to balance the ledger. One side of it laden with Mince Pies and Quality Street the other a big, fat zero in the mileage column.
Wintry weather guaranteed. Not a day to stuff a waterproof in a jersey pocket but to leave the house wearing it. The roads wet, the trees wet, the air hanging with moisture. Into the lungs and out again.
But a day when weather is moot.
Eyes are focussed ahead, around the next bend, over the next summit. A level of motivation that sees reflection and self-analysis as the enemy. To dwell on anything other than forward movement risks opening a crack in the door through which defeat or self-pity might sneak.
Fifty miles are on the menu – hilly ones – and cobwebs will be ripped from their moorings and cast to the winds.
Because 2020 starts here.
The first tough ride of an inevitable climb to the summit of sustainable performance (give or take a job here, a family there, maybe some responsibly grown-up commitments along the way). Faster than last year is the key, as it always is. Forward movement. Through the next village. Past the next café.
And then…fifteen miles in…PING!
Game over. Wheel immediately at that point of skew as to rub against the forks with each revolution. There is no bodge or quick fix here. This is a phone-for-help moment.
I hate those.
Wife and kids on a rescue mission, bike in the boot, boys in the back seat with a look that says but daddy…what are you doing…we thought you were an expert?
All that pent-up motivation strapped tightly in the passenger seat of a mid-life people carrier. Mince Pies and Quality Street weighing heavy. Oily hands from roadside mechanics.
The spiders, and their webs, safe for another day.