I discovered today that there is a lovely fluidity to solo cycling. I set off with a route in mind but with no-one there to ask where we were going I was able to change my plans constantly. I could plan, plan and re-plan without having to explain to anyone. And I found I actually enjoyed my solo 42 miles. It helps that I know that area of course but I felt that, even if I were in a different county, I could still have done the same; perhaps with a few references to a map though! I also found I gave myself options. I usually had a hard or soft option for when I reached the next crossroad or village and because I could choose I always took the harder one. This meant that in relatively flat Nottinghamshire I managed to find a few hills and get over 2000ft of climbing into the ride.
The sun helped too. It’s hard not to feel better when the sun is shining. Something I think about a lot when thinking of Bob. Bob took his life in February and I do wonder if things would be different had we made it to April or May. I cycle along with the sun on my back, the smell of cut grass in the air and blossom drifting from the trees and feel desperately sad that he is not able to experience spring again.
Whether you are religious or not Spring is about life; new life, rebirth, renewed life. It is inescapable. And it is hard not to hold out impossible hope that the person you love will come back to you somehow. But final is final and all the hoping and wanting in the world cannot change history. So new life comes forth, the world keeps turning and so do the wheels on my bike.
Spring does bring some of the friendlier cyclists out onto the road. Or perhaps they are the same people you see throughout the winter but warmth just allows them to raise their heads and nod hello! For there does seem to be a culture of grumpiness amongst road cyclists. Some are lovely and call out a cheery hello but at worst a cyclist will whizz past staring so resolutely ahead that you actually question whether you are really there at all! I can only assume that the grumpies are all mentally riding the Tour. They can see the finish line ahead, they only need to get past Froome to win the stage and that extra bit of breath and muscle movement they would need to greet you could mean the end of their dreams. Luckily I feel like I’m winning just by being out on the bike so I will keep up with the smiles and nods for now!
My biggest smile is reserved for a good downhill of course. I was quite disappointed to find today that I didn’t quite break the 40mph barrier (39.8mph, so close!). I crouch low over the bike, keeping an eye out for potholes and stones with a big silly grin on my face and that smile is contagious, I haven’t met another cyclist yet who doesn’t grin knowingly back. It’s a good feeling.
I will be heading to the Keswick Mountain Festival in a few weeks time so will get to ride in the Lake District. That will be a bit more of a test but I’m really looking forward to it. I am just hoping that the weather is a little better than my last visit to the KMF…that time it rained so hard that my tent was flooded and I ended up sleeping in the car with a bike and a bottle of honey rum for company! More on the KMF another time but for now everyone… Be More Relentless.
Training miles so far: 374.58
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