Wednesday, 28 March 2012

I rode!

I rode! by jumbly
I rode!, a photo by jumbly on Flickr.

I've been more ill than not so far this year. It has seriously hindered bike riding, running and general enjoyment of life. Two weeks ago with the help of a general anaesthetic and a lovely surgeon me and my gallbladder parted company.

Ten days of proper convalescence, some serious blanket action, 22 episodes of The West Wing. Then the sun came out. Two days of deck chair and the latest Haruki Murakami book. Today...... I rode!

Only four miles, but enough to induce a grin. Enough to finally start feeling like I'm on the mend.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Let it go

Minx met Ruth because she lived 'just down the road' so it was an excuse for hand-delivered orders and gradually longer bike-chat sessions. Minx admires Ruth's dedication to scary downhill stuff, Ruth pretends not to think Minx is a wimp for sticking firmly to one gear and a complete lack of suspension. Here's her first post...

I’m sure Daniel Goleman, he of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ best selling, book fame - if you can remember that far back to the mid 1990s - would have had something to say about the interplay (or maybe the disjuncture) between the messages you get from your head and the ones you get from your heart.

You see, I have a bit of habit of coming at stuff, including my riding, with my rational, switched on, ‘thinking brain’, all fired up and ready to guide me through the rocky stuff (literally and metaphorically speaking).  Tricky root fest adorning an off camber drop in? … no problem, adjust speed, roll in, lay off brakes, look ahead to exit point, allow the suspension to do its thing ... job done.

Ah ha! my clever head says, ‘you see’, knowledge applied correctly means that your brain chemistry is coordinating your body mechanics and all is well in the world of off road riding stability.  It’s all nanosecond stuff; but it’s still a triumph for my thinking brain.

But you know what? My best moments; the times when I genuinely experience that magic dust stuff that the journos call ‘flow’, when my bike and body work seamlessly together.  Well I don’t ‘think’ that stuff at all.  It’s my pure, base evolutionary brain synapses instinctively creating movement and anticipating the trail ahead.   You’ll know it when you feel it, cause you’ll be darned if you can describe what it was you just did … you just know that it felt right.

Which says to me that maybe there’s a time to switch off the busy mind and let it go; that’ll be riding with your heart.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Slow Road

After an eventful Christmas ski trip, culminating in a short flight in a helicopter to hospital and some frantic attempts to remember long-lost GCSE German, I found myself on crutches for all of January. And whilst my biceps came along a treat during that time, my leg muscles (one of them torn by the aforementioned accident) atrophied away.

So February was mostly spent doing dull physio exercises - one-legged squats, etc etc. And, gradually, trying to get back to somewhere near fit. 20 minutes on the rollers one day, 25 the next and so on.

Then I rode to work. I never thought that 8 miles would feel like SUCH a long way. I had a rest on the way. And wanted to sleep at my desk by 11am. After a week or so, that got easier and I thought I was fit so rode to my sister's house (18 miles). Had to stay the night as found it such a shock.

It's maddening how quickly you lose fitness and how slowly you gain it (for me, at least). The leg still hurts much of the time, there's a tiny dent where the muscle tear was, and anything over 40 miles is still unfathomably far, but the NHS physio declares me "better". Right.

EDIT: After a short ride in the sun today I am MUCH more cheery. I will get there! But slowly.