There are good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. And an awful lot of mundane stuff in between. Let’s call them bread and butter days. But the fact of the matter is this week has been peppered with bad days.
Regular readers will know that at the end of last week, feeling good and without much discomfort from the old war wound, I elected to take the bike into work. The decision on whether to ride back home again was taken out of my hands when LifeCycle Junior tweaked his knee and I had to return home sharpish to cart him off to A&E. That meant the bike stayed at work, locked up in the bike office pending a suitable opportunity to leg it back home on two wheels.
The weather on Monday was wild and wet so I kicked that opportunity into the long grass. With all my gear still in my locker it was pretty much up to me to decide when to go for it so I biked home on Tuesday once the rain had gone away. I saw home but wasn’t really. I’d taken the car to Fenwick to jump on the bus and it only just before I left the office that I remembered that that’s where I had to head for.
But the decision to go for it on Tuesday proved to be a mistake.
The weather was bright, right enough, friggin’ cold too (1C) but the real issue was the wind. I should have known better. For the uninitiated, the climb from Eastwood Toll roundabout in Giffnock to the Malletsheugh pub is three miles of grind. Into the wind sort of grind. Then once you turn the corner and head out past J5 of the M77, it climbs some more for another three miles until you hit Floak. And out there it’s exposed. I will say straightaway that I felt precious little discomfort while I was on the bike. My legs felt full of miles (they should have done, they’d done no work for weeks) and I kept the speed down so as not to force heavy pressure on the pedals. But secretly, I think the combination of hills and wind had its way because by the time I got home and showered, I was sore. Sore where I least wanted to be. The 3 inch scar. I don’t think there’s any lasting damage done: just a case, as it has been all along, that when I sit bolt upright, or lean forwards, which of course you do on a bike, the scar folds along its length. And I suspect that because the tissue it still sensitive, that it’s kind of bruised again. That’s my suspicion. It doesn’t help either that I’ve put on a few pounds while I’ve been sat about doing nothing, because that just increases the pressure at the fold. I need to lose some weight and I need to let that soreness subside. Completely.
So the bottom line, at the end of a week when I’d hoped to be looking down the barrel at Halfway House hext week, is that I’m going to park further attempts at a comeback for at least two more weeks, maybe even three, until such time as I can poke a finger at the sore bit and it’s not sore any more.
All of this, I can assure you, makes me feel like a bit of a fraud. Having spent so much time energising so many people into supporting my venture, I feel like I’m letting them down by not being able to get going again. You know how it is when a footballer makes a comeback only to break down again and spend another spell on the sidelines: reputations are made, and that’s where I’m at.. I hope people will understand that I am trying, and constantly waiting, but it’s all taking a whole lot longer than I’d imagined and hoped for.
It hadn’t really occurred to me until I left the bike at work but doing one way LifeCycle trips is a logistical nightmare. Picture the scene: I have a big locker in the shower room where all my stuff is safe. Then there’s the office where I spend the day. But coming in on the bike, with clipped in pedals and going home on the bus demands alternative footwear and then it’s in the wrong place. Ditto the day clothes. I can’t walk to the bus in pedal shoes, it’s a mile to the bus stop. And once the stuff’s gone home, it’s potentially in the wrong place for the next time so when you leave the house at dawn o’clock, there’s plenty of scope for missing an important piece of kit. Worst case scenario: coming in on the bike and having no trousers in the work. Only this morning, I bought a pair of daytime shoes back in but forgot to leave them in the changing room. Stocking feet from the shower room to the office anyone?
One good thing that’s happened while I’ve been off is that East Renfrewshire Council have resurfaced about a mile of the uphill section of the Ayr Road from the Esso station to Mearns Cross, and in doing so have built a wee parking bay for about half a dozen motors opposite the shops. That bit of the road has always been a Russian Roulette job for cyclists because despite the road having a dedicated cycle lane and being a no parking zone in the rush hour, people always park in the cycle lane and force cyclists to take their chance out in the main carriageway. Well as part of the resurfacing programme, they’ve extended the bike lane by around two feet which squeezes the traffic even more. I bet the motorists feel good about that eh, bikes having almost as much room as them? Well on Tuesday, when I got to that new bit of road , there were a load of motors in the new parking bay, one space available and… wait for it, a white van double parked, completely blocking the cycle lane and leaving the bikes no options but to risk it in the fast stuff. What an arse.
I would be doing one person a big disservice if I said that the week has been all doom and gloom. The token piece of good news came from Wullie Broon at The Celtic Network. I know it’s going over old ground, but people get onboard the LifeCycle bus all the time so it’s worth re-iterating that The Celtic Network (TCN) is a very committed supporter of LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma. TCN is a website, an umbrella website of many independent Celtic websites, and LifeCycle is one of its five promoted good causes. In around six weeks time, TCN will be releasing a download charity album and each of the good causes will benefit through the generosity of the initiative. Eight bands have signed up thus far, and one of them, as far as the LifeCycle project is concerned, looks like being pretty damned special. All will be revealed in due course….
LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma’ sporting hero is Anna Meares for all the charity work she does in Australia for kids with cancer. Well last week, it was the World Track Championships in Paris and Anna was entered in four events, needing just one gold medal to become the most successful female track cyclist of all time. Sliver and Bronze medals on days one and two took her overall medal tally down the years to 25 and I have to admit I was concerned that as the days went by, race fatigue would kick in and rob her of the elusive 11th gold. I shouldn’t have worried. In the Keirin late on Sunday night, Anna led from the front once the pace bike pulled off the track and she literally blew the rest of the field away. Age, experience and endurance… I know she was ecstatic: I was proud for her. And there may be more to come yet as I know Anna is taking her career to the limit: she’s defending her individual sprint gold at Rio in 2016. Hey, at this rate, I’ll probably still be riding the LifeCycle bike when the Olympics are on…
And finally for this week, it’s almost time to start looking forward to my birthday. 62 and counting. Three years to go till I can park the 9 to 5 work ethic for a life of leisure and rolling country lanes. Two years ago, I got a bike for my birthday. That was the folding mountain bike, without which none of this would ever have happened. Then last year, because I’d worn out my original mountain bike, having swapped over from the folder for the winter, I got another new bike: the tourer than has done me proud these last seven thousand miles. But for this birthday, I’m going slightly more upmarket: I’m getting another new bike, this time a proper lightweight road bike. I haven’t had one of those to play on for years, ever since I gave up my old Flying Scot. I’m planning on going to see Neil up at Fast Rider Cycles in the next few days to nail down the spec and the sizing. I guess the problem right now however, is that when St Patrick comes around with my presents, I probably won’t be well enough to ride it.
Patience is a virtue…