Hail, Hail, The Spring Is Here

If this was a Rolling Stones tour, it would be dubbed The Brutal Tour, with dates in Scotland (soon to be a wee independent country) on 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th February, playing to empty houses on the south side of Glasgow. Okay, so the Stones don’t do less than packed out houses but you know what I mean. Cue Sympathy For The Devil….

I stuck this post on Facebook last weekend:

Just seen the forecast for the coming week and all I’m gonna say is this…

“I ain’t missed a day on the bike all winter and I don’t intend to start now”

Now when I saw “just seen the forecast”, what I really mean is “just seen the forecast and I hope it’s not even half as bad as it looks”.

It was worse.

It lived up to everything you’d expect from The Brutal Tour, and more. Here’s the track listing:

Monday morning: cold; driving rain

Monday evening: best trip of the week: just plain cold

Tuesday morning: started off as rain but up on the A77, a blizzard

Tuesday evening: started off as sleet but up on the top, a hailstorm. Bitterly cold.

Wednesday morning: Okay when I left the house but up on the top, snow on crunchy white stuff.

Wednesday evening: Lashing rain the whole way home.

Thursday morning: Dry at the start but driving rain before I hit the A77. Gale force wind. Freezing.

Thursday evening: 40 minutes of heavy rain as soon as I left work. Icy wind. Couldn’t feel my fingers!

But something matters more than all of that sadistic weather…

144 miles: and 936 for 2014 in only 26 days.

Another maximum: another week in which I simply said to myself “I haven’t come this far, through this winter, and this darkness, and in this cold, to give in now”…

On the back of the Brutal Stuff, I tweeted last night about how the week has been and it brought about the following wee exchange with Team Oscar:

3381 LifeCycle Miles ‏@VonSchiehallion Feb 12

@Wee_Oscar We’ve only had hail, sleet, snow and rain so it’s business as usual on #LifeCycle. Another 108 miles since Monday. 🙂

#FEARLESS Oscar Knox ‏@Wee_Oscar Feb 12

@VonSchiehallion Incredible! #FEARLESS. #TeamOscar

3381 LifeCycle Miles ‏@VonSchiehallion Feb 12

@Wee_Oscar Neither of us has the ‘giving up’ gene. 🙂

#FEARLESS Oscar Knox ‏@Wee_Oscar Feb 12

@VonSchiehallion never. Ever ever ever. #TeamOscar

In four short tweets, wee Oscar’s team got what this is about. It doesn’t matter what challenges are thrown in your direction, it doesn’t matter that you sometimes think you can’t do this anymore. It doesn’t matter than it’s uncomfortable, it’s unpleasant, it’s painful and it’s actually quite inconvenient, you do it because it matters. It really, really matters. If I do this, there is a chance that a small person will live: but if I don’t do it, that same unknown person will quite possibly die.

That’s what gets me up at 5:15am every workday morning. Oscar’s still fighting his corner and the LifeCycle man is in there fighting for the next wee Oscar.

And that brings me full circle to what this week’s blog is about. As I was riding home tonight, frozen fingers gripping the handlebars and an icy wind whipping into my face from the north west, I thought about football teams who never give up. I am passionate about not giving up. Never ever give up hope!

I was proud to be at Easter Road two weeks ago when my team, Inverness Caley Thistle, with only 9 men courtesy of two scandalous refereeing decisions, defeated 11 men (some say 12) in an epic cup semi-final. But the team who are masters of never lying down, of never accepting defeat in the face of extreme adversity, are the team who inspired the very idea of LifeCycle last summer: Celtic. I have lost count of the number of times that Celtic have been down and out with five minutes to go, only to come back and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in injury time. And compare the Manchester United of last season against the United of this: where is that never say die spirit that won games in the fashion that delivered the European Cup against Bayern Munich? That spirit (in my opinion) left the dugout with Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson had it in spades. Celtic have had it for generations. Inverness had it against Hearts. Vanessa Riddle had it. Oscar Knox has it. MacKenzie Furniss has it. LifeCycle has it.

Never, ever give up….

For Hail, Hail, the Spring is here!

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