My ride of the year.
I’m lying on the sofa with a cold, watching a wet stage of the Giro as another rider burns off hundreds of calories firing off the front in another doomed move. I’ve done nothing all day and it isn’t likely to change as I get ready to watch highlights of Bradley Wiggins’ progress in the Tour of California.
As I reach forward to get the remote, out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of my bike in the hallway. Like any member of the family, the bikes live inside.
When I’ve done a hard ride, the bike sits there majestic and proud, a reminder of my exertions. But today it’s a reminder that my cold has lasted a week, left me tired and lethargic, and feeling lazy.
Something has to change.
I drag myself from the sofa and head upstairs, grabbing some cycling gear. Whatever’s clean and still fits.
Heading out, it’s not about speed, it’s about being out. I won’t go fast; I can’t go fast but that doesn’t stop me. As my legs begin to wake up I push it up a short hill and there’s less resistance than I expected. I push on some more.
As I reach the top of the first proper climb - a gentle rise through Bristol’s beautiful Ashton Court - I feel better and push on. Reaching a junction in the road I turn left. Right is home.
The miles begin to chalk up and it’s not getting easier but the change in me is remarkable. My head begins to rise up, my breathing gets deeper, my head feels lighter – I’m getting better.
Two hours later, when the ride is over, I flick on Strava to check my progress (it’s still a ride). There are no personal bests set today, I am not in the yellow jersey and I am not the King of the Mountains, but I feel better than I have all week.
It’s the best ride I’ve done all year.