It has been an incredibly sad couple of weeks since I last posted. Mike Hall, perhaps the greatest endurance cyclist in the world, was killed while riding in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race across Australia. He will be remembered as a humble and passionate man who loved what he did, gave openly to others, often dominating some of the toughest endurance races in the world. In the early hours of the morning, nearing the end of the race, he was in collision with a car, ending his life. It is not the place of this blog to speculate on causes, but just to remember this quiet man for what he had made himself into, an awesome competitor. We are all Inspired to Ride by your effort, passion and determination. Rest in peace Mike. You will be sorely missed.
It’s that time of the year again, time to re-grease bearings, replace worn cables and parts and shine up your bike for whatever it is you are planning for 2017. I am one of those weird people that enjoy all this. Giving Kermit the love and attention he deserves is a way of minimising the chances of being let down on a long ride later in the year. But for me it goes beyond practical necessity. I love getting covered in grease, understanding how things work and knowing that every part of my trike is how I wish it to be.
Pictures like this get me through the winter: Brittany, north coast, 2014.
It has been quite a week here in Devon. A week without cycling, yes, you did hear that right. A week with lots of health appointments and miserable weather. What it meant for me was two-fold. Firstly, I had to drive far more than I would wish to and secondly, I would be thoroughly shaken up by the emotional nature of the various conversations I would be having with health professionals. Please don’t read this wrongly. I have waited a long time for more professional input and are glad of it, but opening cans of worms and then stirring them has a cost.
Yesterday felt like the first day of spring. It wasn’t typical of February but it was very welcome none-the-less. The complexities of riding regularly and managing my mental health can be frustrating beyond words. Riding in Devon always has plenty of ups and downs, but when they are out of synch with my mental fluctuations it can feel all but impossible to go out. The opposite of that is when everything falls nicely into line and I get what I call a ‘bonus day.’ These are quite rare, but happen enough that I can use them to measure where I am in my physical fitness rather than feeling held back by my mental limitations, which can leave me sensing that there is no point in even trying to go out.
Even winter has a stark beauty.
This past week has been a mish-mash of thoughts, feelings and ideas. Nothing feels concrete in my mind. Instead, it flows like viscous lava, slowly and relentlessly, regardless of my input. As a consequence, my mind feels full of treacle and my thoughts are ponderous and unclear. I have four health-related appointments this week and any cycling I do will be fitted in around those, squeezed in where I can. The weather is not playing ball either, with wet, windy and difficult conditions forecast throughout the next week.