“Grin and bear it,” I was always told. “It’ll get better, I promise. It won’t be as bad the next time.”
None of this has applied this winter. Ride after ride, time after time, day after day. It keeps getting grittier, slower, less productive. As I sit here typing, I’ve spent the last few hours in work rotating soaking wet grit-stained cycling clothing on an inadequate substitute for a radiator. This is my cycle. Every day I get wet, then my groin suffers exfoliation by canal droppings on the way home.
This is the life of an idiot training for the Tour Divide who must bookend training around the normal 9-5 dross they call work.
I know rationally that it is neither the canal, nor the weather’s fault, but mine. I chose the idea that I wanted to race my bike from Banff to Mexico. I went in knowing that it would entail a winter of hard riding, through the worst part of the year, on relatively boring rides.
I chose my bitter, gritty, cold cake. I must eat it.
Yet, I find myself drawn to it in an unfamiliar way. Each and every daily soaking has built me up, then broken me down before building me up again. It’s placed me in a position where I think that I can deal with it. Day in. Day out. For 4,400km or so.
Only time will tell.
Beer of the Week
Seven Giraffes – Williams Bro’s Brewing – ABV 5.1%
“A blend of 7 grains, 3 hop strains and a late infusion of elderflower & lemon: This aromatic IPA was named by Scott’s daughter. It pours a deep gold with aromas of elderflower and citrus hops, followed by sweet caramel. On the tongue, the biscuity malts are perfectly balanced with the bitterness of the hops, freshness of the lemon and lingering floral elderflower aftertaste. An extraordinary brew.”
I tasted this first as part of a Beerbods box at some point back in 2015. I was taken aback by how smooth it was, yet had a lot of things going on afterwards. I’ve failed to find it anywhere since. Until, of all places, I was in Northern Ireland where it was sitting on a shelf on its own in an unassuming off-licence. Suffice to say, it didn’t last long. A great one if you can find it.