Thursday, July 19, 2012

Time's The Revelator.

Stage 17 - Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes.

"I can no longer keep a journal. My life erases everything I write."
 - Robert Kroetsch.

Last night I felt as bad about cycling as I've ever felt before. Driving home from an hour's worth of medium paced motorpacing with Cam, feeling the fatigue seeping from my throat into my brain, slow fog rising, I decided that I was quitting cycling, that I was going to sell all my bikes, that all my dreams were false. Gillian Welch was on the stereo, and when I pulled up to the house I sat in the car and waited for the song to finish. For about fifteen minutes.

When I went into the house James and his mate were leaving. "Hurley was just here!" James exclaimed, "he asked me if I had a 49 (tooth chainring), then said something about racing a Madison tonight." For some reason this made my day. The fog started burning away. I grabbed my pub bike and rolled down to the track.

There were a bunch of folks I used to train with down there. I hadn't seen any of them since January. Some of them had gone from strength to strength, some of them hadn't touched a bike for months, most of them in varying states of disrepair. We sat in the infield and talked shit. When the Madison started Gav Sittampalam and I wandered up into the stands to get a better view. The racing was scrappy, two teams dominant and the rest making up the numbers. It wasn't great racing, but, as Gav pointed out, both of us were sitting there wishing like all hell we could be out there.

Eventually the cold got too much for us, the results beyond a doubt, and we left. I rode home shivering, sprinting from the lights to stay warm. Somehow the fatigue hadn't taken root. Somehow I'd danced up against it and not fallen in. Fifteen minutes later I was on the couch reading A Man Without A Country, the heater blasting against my legs and a cup of tea in my hand.

Sometimes, both in my line of work and in my personal life, I get to hang out with pretty clever folks. Generally I think I've got this life - and my own personality - pretty sorted out, but occasionally one of these clever folks says something that resonates louder than I expect. A couple of days ago someone said to me that "It's not the thinking that will fix things. It's the time passing." That's a difficult one for me - I tend to want to barge in and figure stuff out. But last night I took it all in. I stopped thinking and let time pass. I didn't watch the tour. I went to bed.

When I woke up, I felt a little better.

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