Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First day of sabbatical

Normally my triathlon bike only gets to go out at the weekends - if at all - but I thought I would take her out during the week and, as a special treat, I would show her where I work. Not the most sensible plan to commute to work by bike given that I had a meeting planned to start at 7pm and perhaps even less so to go on a time trial bike with a disc wheel and tubular tires but, hey, it's what I most felt like doing trainingwise and, after all, it is my sabbatical and I'll do what I want to...

Another reason why it wasn't such a great idea was that it was a particularly windy day. At lunchtime I took her out for another spin - from Boadilla to Brunete and back. With the wind behind me on the way back there were times that I ran out of gears on the flat (and I'm running 53-12). At one point I overtook a "roadie" - one of those who are too cool to wear a helmet but too cold to not wear some kind of hat - and I obviously upset him because he made a show of sauntering past me on the next big hill which I was struggling to climb. I'll be honest - when I saw him in the distance I thought "Great! Someone to overtake" but I didn't (consciously) change my rhythm. I wonder why it is that road cyclists in particular are prone to "picarse" as we say in Spanish - or to succumb to the temptation to race each other. Imagine if you were jogging along and happened to pass another jogger only to find that two minutes later he was sprinting past you with a smile on his face trying not to breathe hard? I suppose it happens because as soon as you have something powerful between your legs your hormonal instincts take over.

My meeting went on longer than I had anticipated. The worst thing about meetings that start at 7pm is that you can hardly get up saying that you have another meeting to go to because no-one would believe you. My palms started to sweat just thinking that every extra minute that passed meant I would have to ride even faster to get home before it got dark (I had no lights on my bike). Somebody mentioned something about a football match that was about to start for and then the meeting was soon over. I took the shortest route by road back home and made it just in time. As I was pedaling a rather morbid thought came to me. I remembered a friend once telling me that he had stayed back late one evening a number of years ago to work on something that his boss had said was urgent. On his way home he had an accident on his motorbike, one in which he completely lost the use of one arm. He told me that after months of rehabilitation when he was finally able to return to work, he asked his boss what came of that piece of work he had stayed behind to finish. "Oh that? Oh we didn't need it in the end." I couldn't help thinking, "If I have an accident now because I haven't got lights, I'll always remember* that meeting but no-one else will." (*Assuming I survive the accident...)

I thought afterwards that had Jonathan put 2 and a half hours of cycling, of which at least an hour was at medium intensity, down for a Wednesday, it would have played on my mind the whole week and caused a certain amount of stress. However, that was exactly what I ended up doing of my own accord. It's all a question of perspective.

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