Sunday, 1 May 2016

I'm tired of watching all the flowers turn to stone

My last post was read by 245 people, which probably makes it some type of record. If only 10,000 times as many read it and everything else I have ever written. Then I could take a day off every week with the ad revenue I could generate.

But I always said I write this just for me, which of course is true, and generally I enjoy the process. As I was walking out of our office on Friday night I walked down the stairs with a colleague, who asked me, in the way that you do before a Bank Holiday, what I was up to this weekend. When I told him I planned to bike 400km across Wales and back, he asked me why such a long distance?

Now you'd think that would be both a question I answer all the time, as well as one I have a ready answer for. Thinking back on it, the seeds of my ultimate abandonment at Llandovery were already rooted and thriving as I mentally struggled to convince myself there was a valid reason. You see, I have reached a bit of a turning point. Of course I gave him all the usual guff about the camaraderie of Audax, the beauty of the countryside, and the challenge of endurance cycling. All of which are true.

But one of the reasons I gave to my colleague was that I really enjoyed the process of cycling. Well, I'm just about clinging onto that one at the moment.

But, the other reasons? They aren't enough anymore. So when faced with chronic tiredness on Saturday, not helped I'm sure by a hectic week preceding, or an early start to the trip to the Depart at Chepstow, it wasn't hard to convert a 400km ride into a 260km one.

It was still a great day, misty sunrise over the Wye Valley as we cycled up past Tintern, wide open vistas across the Brecon Beacons and the delightful Lord Hereford's knob (it does exist). Even the fight into the wind from Builth to Llandovery had its moments. And once I'd packed, I enjoyed the wind-assisted, if very blast back through Brecon and the Usk Valley. I didn't enjoy my low-speed tumble in front of a Saturday evening audience in Usk itself, or the nice swollen knee that didn't help on the climb towards Chepstow.

But I was home for Match of the Day. Instead of breakfast. A part of me misses the beauty of night-time cycling, but honestly, I'm so wrecked today from 260km that I know I might not have made it. I'd certainly not have enjoyed it.

So what am I to do? My cycling form is off the pace, my Randonneur round the Year has gone, and I don't think I'm in a fit enough state to go for the Bryan Chapman in a fortnight. So no Super Randonneur for me either this year. Worse, my motivation is falling off a cliff, and my one great strength, the ability to persist, seems to be deserting me. On bike rides at any rate.

What is to be done?

I feel about like those deluded Arsenal fans, calling for change when in reality I probably should be more grateful. I can cycle long distances, albeit less than I have set out to of late. I'm relatively healthy, fit, devastatingly attractive and incredibly funny. I get to watch London's best football team, and I have a great family and circle of friends.

What is the problem? I don't know, but right now my soul feels like this.


  1. The simple answer is to take a break, go and do something else for a while, only you will know how long for. The love of the open road, doing these long rides will come back.
    We have all been there.

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  3. I'm in a similar place, illness and a couple of accidents have badly knocked my fitness (as it was) and also confidence ..... I'm trying to relax about it and build up again from the shorter rides and focus on enjoying it