A little over a week ago I took delivery of my first road bike since I was 15, a Focus Variado Compact, on (a considerable) offer from Wiggle . Ok given the financial times this was a little bit of an extravagant treat and the battered old ’97 GT with road-ish tyres would have carrid on like a tank, but I convinced myself that this was going to make the 18 mile commute even more fun and a damn sight quicker. So the deed was done and I can’t fault Wiggle for the delivery turnaround and bike set-up, and after my first 36 miles on the bike I’m pretty chuffed…
Just one thing. It rattles.
What the hell? Yup, after being quite perplexed on my ride home last night by this slight annoyance and checking every last bolt and fixing, I arrived at work this morning somewhat bemused, still in debate as to what else could be causes the infernal racket. Then as I lent the new lass against my van, there it was – the sound of a bolt rolling around… a bolt in the frame?
So lunchtime will find me in the car park, seatpost out, new bike aloft being shaken within an inch of it’s life as I try to extract the offending article.
The other side of a fantastic SSUK event – I do enjoy the randomness of a singlespeed gig; the social aspect, the humour, the general feeling that we’re all here just to have a good time! It was a great effort by the guys organising and I’m already salivating at the thought of returning to the Cwm Rhaeader descent.
At this point I’ll fast forward to part-way through (my) third and final lap.
As I rounded the corner to the refreshment tent at the top of the vast uphill struggle (only two people actually cycled up the climb over the race) Chris, my old friend and sparring partner on bikes, took a hurried last sip of his water and leaps onto his steed. I chuckled, pulled over to swig a more hoppy refreshment. Only 6 hours before had Chris been stating (repeatedly) that he was not taking anything seriously and just out to ride with his mates, but this is what happens when we ride together. We are naturally competitive; I’m determined to beat him and he’s determined that I never will, and I must say that as I left the refreshment tent and headed upwards to the start of the descent that’s what put the fire in my belly and made me ignore the burning in my legs. Four and a half miles later we’re grinning at this fact, knackered but exhilarated by the downhill and slapping each other on the back – it’s good to be alive.
So where was the pain in it all? Well does anybody know what I can do about these damned midge bites?
Sometime around 7 – 8am thursday morning last week I was stood at the foot of the Worcestershire beacon on the malvern hills, I say around because I never carry a watch when I’m jogging. I was undecided; there probably wasn’t enough time to climb the beacon and soak up the lush 360 degree view, but if I ever find myself on the Malverns I find that I HAVE to make the most of the beacon view. Ok, it was a brief moment indecision and the reward of a clear view from the beacon more than made up for the mad dash to work realising that I was going to be late. Since then I’ve been contemplating how this reflects my character, I’m renowned for reckless time-keeping but I’d like to think that it’s only sacrificed for the sake of ambition or reward?
What the hell does this have to do with biking?
Ambition and reward. It was one of the reasons I dropped out of Road Racing last season and well I’ve been struggling with my mojo since… I have been in mojo crisis. But I’m bringing it back slowly, we’re off to the SSUK event this weekend and I’m leaving the baggage behind for a couple of days and focusing on the biking, ambition and enjoying the moment of achievement.
Check out my recent recommended read (I’d volunteered to review a leadership book for my work) Mojo: How to get it, How to keep it and How to get it back when you lose it. Yes it sounds a bit of a self-help book and I guess to some what it describes is common sense, but I found it enlightening and it’s given me more focus on a few of my own hang-ups that I think are the root of my crisis! Here’s to slaying a few demons….