Today's ride didn't start well. Having woken to sunshine and a vague plan to get in some steady (OK, slow) miles on my own after a short social jaunt yesterday, things began to unravel fast. By the time I'd got dressed in three-quarters and a windproof jersey the sky had darkened and I took everything off to start again with my warmest bibs, a thermal jersey and waterproof at the ready. Making extra porridge I expressed an interest in trying a route on the SatNav. I'm still finding my way around here so thought it would make sense to try and join up some places I DID know. I've only used a SatNav on my bike once before and it worked out well having my route handily placed up front, so extending my knowledge would be good - right?
Somewhere between finishing my second coffee and actually getting out the door there was a "Mummeeeeee' as I was summoned to see a particularly hysterical Total Wipeout contestant, (but then aren't they all?) Cue yet more minutes more of my life being sucked away - but really how can you walk away from Crash Mountain? And is it just me or does everyone else plan the line they'd take?
Let's gloss over not being able to find any zip ties for the SatNav, which necessitated rearranging my carefully planned pocketage of pump, money, inhaler, Shot Bloks and phone. The rain started falling when I'd progressed about a mile from home. Special freezing rain. I thought about friend John Ross who starts the Iditarod Trail Invitational today and decided it would be beyond wimpy to cut my ride short. And of course the rain got harder, as did the head wind. Honestly, I'd like to viciously document every miserable mile that passed under my wheels but then I'd have to set light to the computer to get closure. The briefest moment's happiness came ironically on a climb that was exceptionally smooth tarmac, and for a few minutes the sun waved at me too.
I would love to be able to report some life changing epiphany, a moment when, through the suffering it all came good. But that was it, the weak sunshine was followed by hail, I didn't 'ride through the pain', instead just took grim and perverse pleasure in fixing my eyes on the rain-shiny revolutions of my front tyre, knowing from experience that every groveling ascent would go towards one day in the summer when I will storm a hill somewhere and wonder 'where that came from.'
I'd given up stopping to carry out the whole performance of removing gloves, getting SatNav out of pocket, squinting at the screen through driving rain, stabbing at it hopelessly with the little thingy, working out where I'd gone wrong (through a reluctance to go through this process as often as I should in the rain), sorting out a way to rejoin my route, putting the wretched thing back before finally struggling back into soaking gloves. As a consequence I was relying on following my nose - which as anyone who's ever ridden with me will know is fatal, as I possess no sense of direction. I did try to to foil my inner (faulty) compass by consistently going the opposite way to the one I thought seemed best and finally limped home, hailstones still fresh on my jacket. No one even glanced up from their lunch as I stomped my mud splattered self up the stairs, a faintly strange feeling in the chamois being proof that even if you have the very best zip-out bum Gore tights, not getting the angle right as you hide behind a hedge, leads to unpleasant consequences.
So I'm tired now, and unhappier still because examination of my higgedly piggedly route reveals it wasn't even close to being as far as it felt. I bloody hate it when things don't come together and am taking only the tiniest comfort from the fact that even grumpy miles count.