There’s no doubt I live La Vie Velominatus. Sometimes I think I live it maybe a little too much, as I’ve been told by independent observers that bicycles and all associated with them dominates my very existence. And it’s true; I work in the industry, dividing my time between editing Spoke magazine, writing (not nearly enough lately) here, and a couple of days a week in the shop. Whenever there’s a spare moment, it’s usually spent surfing the web, and nine out of ten sites I’ll view are in some way bike related. To end the day I’ll settle down with a book or a magazine in bed. No need to tell you the subject matter. (It’s not porn… really.)
Is this healthy? Cycling is by definition a healthy activity, but when one becomes all-consumed by a solitary pursuit, it can be seen as unhealthy in itself. An addiction. Addictions are usually construed as being bad things, but surely an addiction to something so pure can’t be harmful?
Well, not if you aren’t actually riding. If the only link to cycling is from sitting in front of a computer, writing about riding, reading other’s articles about riding, and making a magazine about riding, all to the detriment of actually getting on a bike and doing it, that takes its toll, both mentally and physically.
It’s a Catch 22 situation. You don’t ride, and you lose fitness. And when you lose fitness, riding becomes harder. So you shy away from hard rides. Consequently, you lose even more fitness. Then you get to the point when you say fuck it, and just get your ass on the bike. You ride with your usual crew, you lag on the hills, but you feel stronger the farther you go, drawing on the energy from the simple act of being out, turning the legs and breathing fresh air into the lungs. You get caught up in the little sprints and KOMs, and find you still have something in the tank. Deep, buried reserves forged from la vie. You finish the ride feeling rejuvenated, tired but refreshed. You vow to ride again tomorrow. But there’s a deadline to meet, proofing to be done, a last mintute article to write. Life gets in the way. And so it goes.
I know. I have ridden my bikes probably on average twice a week for the last six weeks. I was supposed to be doing a race this weekend. I’m glad I’m not. The principle reason for not doing it was money, the very coin I’d spent on getting a bike to race on conspired against actually racing. That, coupled with a grand in dentist fees, a visit from an Aussie friend which helped drain the bank account, then an ensuing illness and my race fitness, which was well on track those six weeks ago, has now all but disappeared in a cloud of debt and lethargy.
Yep, life gets in the way of having a life. A life of riding. But I still have a life of cycling, it’s just being lived through other means right now. And that’s better than not having a life at all. I will be back. Vive la vie Velominatus.