Back To The Future

Friday September 19th.

Today feels so much like the day after the Lord Mayor’s Show. I looked up the Wiktionary definition and it said “After the Lord Mayor’s show comes the dust-cart. Bringing up the rear of the Lord Mayor’s Show is a team to clean the manure of the pageant’s horses” Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I feel at the end of a week that promised so much yet delivered so little: but that’s democracy for you and Scotland will dust itself down, take stock, re-focus its priorities and move forward once again.

Let me put some meat on the bones: I am English. I was born in Birmingham and moved to Scotland in 1977. I’ve lived in Cumbernauld, East Kilbride and Stewarton for a combined 37 years and met some great people during that time. I’ve also met some no so nice characters but you tend to park those and stick with the good guys and in that number I would include people whose views I respect through Social Media. When the Referendum campaign got underway, I was a No but after talking to different people, reading up on stuff and going to meetings, I became a devoted Yes. That’s how I voted. Mine was a vote for Health and Education over Bombs and Bankers; it was a vote for Food over Foodbanks. It was essentially a vote for equality over inequality and right over what I perceive to be wrong in society. But we lost. I am gutted and left feeling empty when I think that over half of the eligible voters of Scotland chose more austerity, more privatisation and more armed conflicts over building a better society for our young people: state sponsored conflict over kids’ cancer.

The events of this week have changed me forever. I am no longer a British citizen living in the United Kingdom. I am a guy who was born on the wrong side of the border, who empathises with the pain of my fellow citizens who tried in vain (this time around) to make things better. Let me be clear: I detest the perceived corruption of Westminster politics and everything that goes with it…

The United Kingdom: in name only.

I suppose that if there’s one shred of good fortune to have emerged from the wreckage of the Referendum vote, it is that I won’t have to abandon the NCCA (UK) because of that bit in brackets at the end. It did cross my mind that once Scotland became independent, there might be less appetite amongst my Caledonian followers to support a charity that’s based in the rump of the Kingdom. Problem gone away.

And so to the LifeCycle challenge: I left my Twitter followers last week with the thought that #LessIsTheNewMore on account of the various injuries that I’ve been carrying. I guess to a degree that statement was a bit of a free pass because I knew all along that I would be off today and that as a consequence, I’d get three days of rest instead of two, and that the weekly mileage would be well short of 200. Bliss, that’s all I’m going to say. But it was rather surreal that instead of getting up at 5am this morning, I went to the fridge to grab another beer before finally turning in at half six. For the record, that was my 3rd 24 hour wakey wakey shift of the year, and I think that’s enough. It’s time to re-focus…

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the coming winter and the period I’ve dubbed The Hundred Days Of Hell. It kicks in at the end of the third week in October when the clocks go back and it’s characterised by darkness morning and night for four long months. Throw in the wind, the rain, the cold and the white stuff and you have the mix that makes LifeCycle the challenge that it is.

But before that happens, there’s something altogether more important: 10,000 miles. I’ve been longing for this to happen, not least because five digits is psychologically speaking so much bigger than four. Five digits opens the door to the Half Way House, albeit that it isn’t scheduled until post Hogmanay. There’s been talk of a few days off in the October school week but as that’s still to be confirmed I don’t actually know how many days I’ll be riding between now and ‘the clocks’: all I know is that the job will be done in around 20 days on the bike so it’s gonna happen before hell freezes over. On the back of the 10K miles, I’ve been thinking of a wee celebration, something to bring everyone together under the banner of LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma. All I’ll say just now is that things are happening behind the scenes. Watch this space…

A few weeks ago, I reported more than once about my escapades on the Zoom Up Broom Strava segment and how, over the period of a few attempts, I managed to bag the King Of The Mountains tag, then take the gap out to a comfortable 16 seconds. Well it’s now my duty to report that I’ve lost it again: some dude who’s a good bit younger than moi (that wouldn’t be difficult by the way) has shaved it by 2 seconds. Now I have to tell you that given all the various knocks I’m currently carrying, I’m not about to risk all for the sake of a badge so I’ll be leaving that title well alone… for now.

But back to the numbers game for a minute and let me break this down into three separate time zones: Aug’13 to Nov’13, Dec’13 to Apr’14 and May’14 to Sep’14: the average number of LifeCycle miles per day in those three zones have been 32, 36 and 44: it’s not difficult to see where the injuries have come from…

So the challenge now, despite the fact that the spirit is more willing than ever, is to give my body the rest it craves and line up behind the brand #LessIsTheNewMore. In terms of the miles, there’s a middle ground to find so it’s Back To The Future

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