So wrong, it’s wrong.

Malverns MTB - July 2011
Is that a happy face?

I have never understood why one week you’re an athletic titan bending the landscape to your will, the next you’re a fat, old knacker wondering if this is how the end starts.

There is some logic to this I suppose; plausible deniability of the previous evenings’ alcohol content withers in the hard face of the first climb. A frenzied one man attack on anything bottling a fermented grape is merely an aperitif for hindsight.

Malverns MTB - July 2011Malverns MTB - July 2011
A poor nights’ sleep – being only one more in a week of staying awake in the dark – isn’t helpful either. Industrial gardening* wearies muscles, and a wave of unspecified tiredness makes 7am feel like a stupid time to abandon the comfort of your bed.
Malverns MTB - July 2011Malverns MTB - July 2011

The signs were all around me; lethargy when faced with the “stick game” which makes a mad Labrador even happier. One day I hope he’ll somehow communicate that stereotyping his long “Retriever” bloodline is unfair, and repeated fetching that bit of gnawed wood is so yesterday, Darling. Today was not that day.

Then I put my shorts on the wrong way round. Twice. Picked up the wrong gloves, lost the trailer key, faffed about looking for related stuff and found only excuses. Jezz seemed in similar mood hence a pre-ride cuppa and a chat before riding bicycles became a necessity.

Sometimes it’s just the first climb that hurts. Someday’s you’re a corpse uphill but demonic coming down. Mostly experience suggests you’ll work you way into a ride, and the finish will be far stronger that the start. Today wasn’t one of those days either.

The sun was out warming our clumsy limbs, the trails were grippy after another night of summer rain, we were still early enough to avoid most of the rambling hoards and the bikes were working well. Only thing missing was any semblance of technique, any sign of motivation, any power in the legs and any breath in the lungs.

Malverns MTB - July 2011Malverns MTB - July 2011

All stolen away by the God of Superficial Fitness clearly having fallen out with Bacchus. “Make them suffer, make them suffer some more, do they look like they are enjoying it yet? Yes? Fire up the gradient machine and ratchet up that next climb”.

Malverns MTB - July 2011Malverns MTB - July 2011

It was still good of course. Not as good as the last few rides, but better than many grim death-marches undertaken in the winter. Vegetation has exploded past head height throwing out obstacles that scratch, ping and bite. But the views are fantastic, the being out there so much preferred to being inside, the 650+ metres of climbing triggers a guilt free dead animal breakfast and rests a troubled mind that would otherwise be tortured by missing a ride.

Even when you’re not that keen to go. Said it before – riding is always better than not riding. Next week will be splendid I’m sure. In the meantime, I’ll wield my mighty paintbrush while musing on exactly who nicked my fitness and motivation this morning. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr Merlot.

* Happy gardeners appear to cherish the careful placement and nurture of pretty flowers. The rest of us are left with digging large holes and creosoting anything that doesn’t move. Or move that fast. I’m of the firm opinion that our now wood-stained chicken is not only happy at being fully waterproof, but also “dark oak” is this years’ Hen colour.

2 thoughts on “So wrong, it’s wrong.

  1. You live in a good place judging from those shots.

    Stick game? Not sure about that one but ball game, oh yes. Quite how I’m expected to throw the ball when it’s impossible to extract it from some cannine teeth but I gether that’s what’s expecected of me.

    Why the ups and downs? Dunno. I honestly don’t get them. I sweat more after I’ve been drinking but my performance appears to be unhindered. At least in my mind anyway.

  2. Alex

    Malverns are a nice place to ride. And when I get bored of that, there’s 100k of singletrack in the Forest. Stick Game is played every time the mutt is loosed into the garden. Where he snatches up a well chewed bit of beech and insists on being chased round the lawn with it. At no time does Murph ever see the point of handing it back 😉

    The reason you don’t have bad days Jon may be related to the fact that you ride most of them!

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