Life has somewhat sucked of late. Disappointed by my inability to say no to fixing other people's problems, let down by people full of promises that turned out to be lies.
Time to make things better. Kielder was a beginning. I haven't ridden a century, on the road or off it, for, er... Well, 'a while'. Finishing in second and in a good time was a big, confidence boosting surprise when I wasn't even sure I would finish at all. Cracking event, flawlessly organised and I'm proud to have been part of the new chapter, but the racing thing still just doesn't excite me. Hard to keep your head down and concentrate on the job in hand when you know that trail disappearing off to the left might go somewhere more fun than this.
Then a concerted effort to commit to a proper working week. Fifty hours may fill the coffers but when it's scattered in a hairbrained fashion over seven days it drags and drags and drags. One or two transgressions of switching daytime rides for evening typing when the lure of sunshine got too strong but the regular Thursday night ride was appreciably more enjoyable for having worked harder to get there.
And then a proper weekend off, doing what I wanted to because it was what I wanted to do. Inadvertently left the phone devoid of charge and whilst that was inconvenient it was also a blessing. No texts, no tweets, just riding bikes in the sunshine, celebrating a birthday and the coming together of the crowd, ride-carry-ride-carry through stunning Welsh greenness, digging into epic climbs, falling into bogs, running out of food and water, infuriating the guide, confounding the walkers, smiling and laughing with a group of friends who are a comfortable and unobtrusive presence in my life. Fish and chips and champagne on the beach, bikes lined up and shining, toes in the sand, smiling and laughing, finally feeling warm again after a long, cold summer.
No pictures, the camera's still broken, but I'm working my way down the list.