The Lone Wolf…..April 30, 2017, 8:14 am
This week the bike had to be taken in for a much needed service. Cables snapping, worn chain, worn brake pads, loose fixings. Safety first ahead of the big push towards France. While I sit waiting for the bike shop to call, this is an ideal time to look back and reflect on the progress made, not only since training began in January but also on the past 12 months, as I enter year number 34……
Much like the bike, it was me who had been in need of a service recently……2016 was a tough one from a personal perspective, mentally challenging, soul searching, and probably too much time to think! Anyone who knows me well will testify that despite the random blogs and slightly controversial statements (made for comic effect rather than representing my actual views), that I’m naturally reserved, very rational, a speak-when-spoken-to kind of person and I could happily spend two weeks locked away playing Metal Gear Solid without any human interaction (best holiday ever…). When I’m not feeling my best, it’s easiest to revert to type and walk my own road.
Michael has touched upon this in previous blogs/articles but it’s hard to quantify how much of a positive effect cycling (and exercise in general) has had not only on the body, but also on the mind. Without wanting delve too much into The Darkness of James (or seek any sort of sympathy whatsoever!) I wanted to share a few thoughts about the improvement in my mental state because of the cycling. A happier, more relaxed Barry is good news for everyone!
Cycling for hours on end may seem boring and time consuming. It’s not for everyone. It’s hard to comprehend how you’ll sit on the bike for 5, 6, 7, 8 hours at a time. Turbo trainer, aye, that’s tough, 1 hour and you’re done. If you’re not bored to tears, it’s because your notcha has gone numb.
But outside, riding along, I find that time flies by (podcasts also help!). The mind almost goes through a de-fragmentation process. Thoughts are compartmentalised and rationalised without realising. Yes, on tough days, you can go to some dark places but it only makes you stronger. Coupled with the physical exertion, for me personally, it’s the best medicine for the blues.
So in the months since January, I’ve spent a substantial amount of time cycling (and running), mostly alone (but the rides with Neil have been the most enjoyable!), resetting and rebooting. The oscillations of emotion endured in 2016 have subsided to a calm, gentle wave and I feel more in control over my thoughts and, as a consequence, my actions. A big help is having a goal, something to focus on, and the Tour de Force and the desire to once again raise life changing sums of money for the WWMT is a huge motivation. Perhaps I’ll need to keep setting goals once I’m done to maintain this contented state (marathon next year, anyone?)! Obviously, for Michael’s benefit, throughout this period, I’ve been fully focussed on my work, my love for the tax never wanes……
Whilst I’ve done my best above to make it look like I’m a lone wolf, I’m not really, friends, family and colleagues are all there for me if/when I need them. However, I’m very conscious that not everyone is as fortunate as me and that’s why the work done by charities like WWMT resonates so much. Giving people help and hope when previously there was none.
Anyway, hopefully people can see the positives in the above. To paraphrase Jerry Springer, take care of yourself and each other…..and get out on your ******* bike. The less serious blogs will return next time, more than likely featuring Rafa Benitez, Anthony Joshua and HMRC.
The Quest to Become the Knightside Chris Froome continues…..
- April 30, 2017, 8:14 am
- Category: barry