Circle of Friends
Our circle of friends is the most important thing we have. The people we can trust to deliver no matter what. The circle is not to be confused with the Venn diagram of friends and acquaintances. That Venn diagram, is a fickle and often fluid set that moves dependant on our life, geographical location, and even the bikes we chose to ride at any given time.
This week I had reason to remove a long-term friend from my circle for something that to them felt so trivial, but to me was deeply painful. It has not been pleasant. It’s not something I’ve had to do in a very long time. But it has led to one of the most emotional, most expressive, most enlightening bike rides I may have ever had.
“Let fury have the hour, anger can be power. Do you know that you can use it?” sung The Clash in The Clampdown. Words directed at the populace but words that apply to riding well. Anger is a fuel to be used sparingly in day to day riding. But when that cup runeth over with anger, you better empty it out fast or it will spill into other parts of your life. Parts where that anger need not be sprayed onto.
I chose my bike as the instrument. Years ago I chose climbing. Before that, swimming. Now I ride to absolve myself of the anger created by others. It never fails. The relationship between ride duration and the feelings I have are directly tied into the bike that I chose.
Feeling mildly grumpy – grab the geared mountain bike. Ride up. Hammer the descents. Take risks. Repeat until you start to smile.
Feeling quite angry – grab the singlespeed mountain bike. Ride up the steepest most hateful thing I can find at 100% pain threshold. Repeat until absolved.
Feeling murderous – Grab the ‘cross bike. Pedal it for two hours in the worst weather you can find. Then ride it up to the top of the steepest thing you think you can ride down. Brake later, turn faster, crash often. Physical pain makes it go away. Repeat as needed.
Last night I rode the ‘cross bike in torrential rain and a howling gale on inappropriate trails at the end of a two hour gravel shitfest. I crashed often. I crashed hard. I got up and I did it again. I got home and I hugged my wife and talked with my parents.
Anger has a place. It’s your job to make sure it gets used correctly.
Beer of the Week
Sheep Stealer, Black Donkey Brewing 5.6% ABV
“A traditionally brewed Saison, Sheep Stealer is dry, crisp and refreshing, with a complex aroma and flavour. Pours a cloudy golden orange, with a big pilowy white head, which slowly deflates to a lingering lace. A full aroma of spice, malt sweetness and a certain unmistakable earthy Saison “funk” first greet the nose.”
I’ll admit that I often choose beers based on the comic value of their labels. More often than not this works out badly and I end up with a bottle of mildly alcoholic pond water. Not so in the case of this offering from Irish based Black Donkey Brewing, which happily passed away the monotonous hours of packing.