Sunday, 15 February 2009

Not throwing in the towel.

I wake up with a feeling of dread. Partly it's due to a loss of motivation, but there's something else there too. A gnawing fear in the pit of my belly. Of course! Celtic are playing The Rangers at lunchtime.

OK, so there's nothing I can do to influence the outcome of that particular event, despite all the old superstitions, but I am the only person who can do anything about the motivation thing. I'm fed up of sitting in cars, fed up of soggy trails, mud, the endless drudgery of washing my bikes. The Gypsy Glen ride was superb because all the mud was frozen and the surface was firm and dry and grippy, but now the wind has turned around to the south west and a horrid primeval slime has risen up through the crust of the Earth to thwart my efforts and my enjoyment of being on the bike.

I've had 4 days off work, though to be honest I'd much rather just work non-stop through February, weekends and all, and get the free time in April and May. Thursday sees fresh snow over the existing ice which makes even walking inadvisable. This assuages my hangover-induced guilt at having spent Wednesday evening in the Cafe Royal rather than going to circuit training. Things thaw quickly on Thursday evening so I get out on the roads for two hours on Friday. It's very slushy everywhere which is just a bit shite. I spend Saturday looking for inspiration for Sunday's ride, but draw a blank.

So it's now Sunday and I've not decided what I'm going to do. I get the bike sorted out and charge up the GPS for about 15 minutes. I'm just going through the motions. After a lot of fannying around I actually leave the house and get on the bike. Within 10 minutes I'm coated in the primeval slime and my drivetrain is dissolving in it. Curses! This isn't fun. But I press on, down to Limekilns. The sun comes out and thaws my icy mood a bit. I head on up Submarine Hill and do the sprint to the top. It doesn't last any longer than 30 seconds, but it still gets my heart-rate up to 195 - not seen that number before. I do another loop and another sprint up the hill. It's a short hill, but it is brutally steep near the top just when you think you're going to puke. The challenge is to do it without changing down a gear; I manage this the first time but not the second. I let the dizziness subside and watch the submarines below.

There's more primeval slime on the way past the cemetery and I stop to talk to a friendly dog-walker. I tell him about my primeval slime theory. He gives me a funny look. By the time I get back to town, I've only been out for an hour and 20 minutes; there's a danger that I'll get back too early and the football will still be on. If I check the result, I'll influence the outcome in favour of The Hun, so I keep going. Out to Crossgates, through Coaledge and down the hill to Aberdour. Back along the cycle paths to Dalgety Bay and up the hill to Fordell. I haven't eaten anything except the low-calorie "Go-Ahead!" bar which was the first thing that fell to hand. The GPS runs out of battery power at exactly the same moment I run out of energy and there's still about 7km to go with the dreaded climb back up Townhill Road.

I did think about quitting at a number of points, but I kept going. It was only 3 hours over 55km and less than 1000m of ascent; what might be considered a very easy day by Transalp standards. Oh, and Celtic earned a magnificent 0-0 draw at home - good to see they haven't thrown in the towel either.


(The route is here, if anyone is interested. Or indeed, reading)

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