Proper ride


A proper ride. Like proper ale, proper work, a proper job.

No other way to describe it.

Three hard hours. Sun. Wind. Hail. Hills.

I bumped into a friend mid-ride. He was preparing for a raid on the lowlands too. Both out to ready the muscles and joints for jarring and cobbles. That’s easy enough on Welsh country lanes. Just point and shoot. There’s plenty of potholes for everyone.

Riding along the flats was the high point. Crystal clear coastal conditions with bluster and panache, an intense sun blinding the road, whilst wind whistles through components. When clouds outpace you, you’re either going way too slow or fighting a battle you can never win.

The road over the moor was a struggle. Buckshot hail peppered my eyes. The Welsh weather asserted itself. Happy St David’s day.

But if the moor was a struggle, the mountain was hell. I’d shot my bolt in Draethen, an hour back, chasing riders. But that’s what training is for. Present you with obstacles to climb over. Benefit from. Relax after.

‘Shot my bolt in Draethen‘. Now there’s an autobiography title.

I got back tired.

Very tired.

Clean bike. Eat. Sleep (if only).

I’m often asked would I like to have cycled for a living, always by non-cyclists, who may never have experienced the highs and lows of soloing in beautiful, duplicitous, unpredictable weather. Let’s park all the issues about opportunity, genetics and desire. The answer is a definitive ‘no’. Anything that might reduce glorious misery to an onerous chore is best left in a box labelled….. ‘Nah’.

4 replies »

  1. Glorious misery – thats a good turn of phrase, and I think I’m going to use it often.

    On pretty much every ride, in fac,t until maybe mid August – when the sun might dare to show itself for a few days through the dark spitting grey veil of cloud that is known as sky over the Scottish Borders.

    I too have an affinity to “brave” the elements, testing myself against natural forces and even gravity itself. I too regularly retreat to shelter , hot bath and food, clarted in muck, temporarily exhausted but not cowed. Another day perhaps…..

    Sounds like a good ride though – eh?

    Theres always a certain degree of cycling sado-masochism required to keep going back to push the boundaries again ….. Love it….

    • I think if you’re from Wales or Scotland, the Lakes or the Mourne mountains, or indeed anywhere that punches above its weight in rainfall statistics, it’s best to embrace misery in all its digit freezing gloriousness. The alternative is telly, which is no alternative at all.

      Enjoy those life affirming downpours! 🙂

  2. Nice piece, never make your hobby your job- sound advice.
    I learnt the hard way how to lose interest in something through turning it into a joyless matter of sales targets etc when I was younger.
    I love your blog, keep it up.

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