It’s been a while since my last blog. I can put that down to three things; a week-long shift, racing the Tweedlove International Enduro and receiving some horrific news from a very close friend. My training hasn’t stopped; while I was away I completed a personal best 10km run (45:59) and the Tweedlove Enduro weekend provided 100km and 4553m of climbing but, my mind has very much been elsewhere and dealing with ‘stuff’.
Heading into the Tweedlove International weekend I was not interested in racing in the slightest. I had a bike on test which I wanted to ride but concentrating on trying to be fast was not, unusually, of interest. All I wanted to do was go for a blast with my mates, have a laugh and enjoy that day of experiences as what I have re-learnt the past week is that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Fi at Tweedlove was brilliant; she let me drop out of the seeded rider list and join the masses, importantly with many of my regular riding buddies.
Day one I was rubbish. I could not ride a bike for toffee. Every corner I went into I was not processing what I was seeing meaning line choices were awful, I was not pushing the bike where I needed to be and spent more time rolling around on the floor rather than riding the bike. I didn’t really enjoy it and peddling back into Peebles I was quite happy to just call it a day and spectate day two. I also wasn’t happy with the bike setup which may have had something to do with my lacklustre ability to pilot a pedal bike so that evening I tinkered with the bike, changed some things and just had time to think.
Starting day two I was a bit more chipper as I met up with my buddies at the start line. At the start of the first stage that day (a technical starting trail followed by Morzine-esq bike park fun minus the millions of braking bumps) I took a moment to look around. Ross (of Heriot All Star fame) was having his usual put-on-elbow-pad faff, Scott was tinkering and Mark was eating runny honey from a squeezy bottle. Suddenly nothing was different, it was a normal ride. Stuff the timing/racing element, enjoy the event, the ride and the laughs. From that moment on I enjoyed the rest of the event. I was still very disappointed with my result as I know I can ride better but, there were some far bigger things learnt.
As I hit the deck, again, in front of the awesome crowds at the bottom of the last stage I just sighed. What a horrendous race but what a great weekend riding some amazing trails, with amazing people, being cheered by amazing marshals and crowds and an amazing event village atmosphere back in Peebles. Thank you Tweedlove for bringing what you do to the Valley. Having my family greet me at the end was the perfect bit though and everything that I had experienced in the previous 4 days was immediately put into perspective.
Yesterday I then joined Trev, Cat & Ross from Enduro Magazine for a ride – the therapy I get from riding my bike is quite unexplainable and I had a brilliant ride. If there is one thing I will say – don’t delay today for tomorrow as tomorrow may not be there.
It is now only 37 days until I start my challenge of the #RatRaceCrossing – I feel physically good, a few sore points…., but on the whole I hope that the 1206km, 40910m ascent, 111hrs and 61 logged rides I have done so far in preparation will help me. The support I have received from Lynn (my wife) has been immense and the kind words from so many folk are making me look forward to starting now. Kind of. I have hit 50% of my fund raising target, all of which is going to two charities that save lives, and hope to smash through that over the next month.
Donation page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CharityCrossing
Cover photo credit: Off The Back Photography