My get up and go has got up and left. I suspect my racing mojo has been trying to find a way to break up with me since our shambolic outing in Hackney. Our recent ‘dirty’ weekend, ruined by a tumble in Kent through some muddy tyres and what was supposed to ‘bring a bit of variety’ to our relationship has left us bruised and battered and more than a bit pissed off. But we promised each other the Royal Parks half marathon. Third time is the charm I said. So here we are less than 24 hours away from pinning race numbers and lacing up, its just over 13 miles until we take a little breather from racing, surely after all we’ve been through this year we can give it one last go?
Let’s not mention the Bike.
The Bike is a new Thing. A shiny new thing. That goes faster than I can on foot. That may save me money on commuting, and could also help shift the ‘I’m in training’ pounds I seem to have acquired over the summer. It won’t aggravate my ITB, and I can buy new STUFF for it (and me). And its a proper road bike. A grown up bike.
But here’s the thing. I am totally, utterly, completely shit scared of cycling on London roads. Having a husband who is a cabby does not make this any better. He hate cyclists. Honestly, as a pedestrian in London, I hate cyclists. But here I am with my new toy and grand plans to cycle the Argus in Cape Town in March. So I need to cycle.
I also hate the morning rush hour on the tube more. So between getting over the fear of commuting, to being sneezed on, literally, but hundreds of people TWICE A DAY, its a straightforward decision.
But going to do it anyway. Because these days I have learned to get stick at things, even when they are hard. Or when I suck at them.
This was not always the case. There was the guitar when I was 16 that lasted all of 3 weeks because I didn’t have the patience to actually learn the chords, my hands couldn’t get into the right positions, and the strings bit my fingers. I could manage E minor, D and C. Which I thought was about enough to get through Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’ and then I gave up. And there went that idea, along with my dreams of joining HOLE and becoming best mates with Courtney Love.
A few years later, I decided if I couldn’t be a kick ass rock star, I’d be a kick ass martial artist (thank you Matrix/ Crouching Tiger). So I started Kung Fu and limped through 3+ years of fairly shoddy forms and sub par fitness. I loved the idea of it, but I couldn’t get my head around putting in the work. I just wanted it to happen instantly, without too much blood, sweat or tears. Instant Chow Yun-Fat. I attended training, but only ever gave about 60%. And then I’d get upset when my gradings reflected that. My Tiger form was more fat tabby. Let’s be honest. I was partly relieved when I left for London and it was’t practical to continue.
As a result of these failed endeavours (and many others, there was the brush with Krav Maga that was so terrible I have almost wiped it from my memory) I started to believe that I just wasn’t any good at following through. I avoided committing to anything new, convinced I had a short attention span, and just no sticking power.
Then running came along and changed all that. I never had aspirations to be the next elite competitor, and I just loved that way it made me feel. And I have stuck at it, getting a little better every year. Not smashing PBs, rather chasing them down in a steady and considered way, following through and giving it a good go.
If I can translate some of that into the cycling I think we’ll be okay
Any tips for newbie cyclists like me? Share in the comments!