Wrestling The Bear

Sport is a strange beast, you can put in the hours of training and on the big day fail miserably, conversely you can feel awful before a match winning performance and a good friend of mine sums this up with the saying. Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.

A Few days before Christmas I was reviewing my cycling stats for 2013 and discovered I was about 300 miles short of completing 8000 for the year. It’s no great milestone that I HAD to complete but it would be worth having a go to try to reach a target.

Unfortunately the bad weather of Christmas Eve and then the Big day conspired to impede progress and I got the figure down to do 150 miles in the last three days of the year. Sunday morning was a club ride of 50 miles so with mileage to and from the start, 60 in total, leaving a manageable 45 for each of the last two days. The forecast was for clear skies and that meant a frost so opening the curtains to a white blanket was no surprise but a walk down the drive to the road confirmed black ice as the wet roads of last evening were now a skating rink. I decided to abort the club ride and leave it to nearer mid-day before venturing out when hopefully conditions would have improved.

At 11-30 I decided to give it a go, I felt strong as I set out to try to get 50 miles nearer my target. While a lot of the roads were just wet any areas that were subjected to surface water from the fields and were in shade had frozen hard. A couple of times I felt the back wheel go and it was not easy riding. One particular stretch between Wyck and Farringdon was a nice shiney sheet of ice so I decided to get off and walk and it was at this point, walking with the bike I went down. Over the next couple of miles the slippery surface and my reluctance produced a very twitchy bike, that was enough and I decided to return home. Gingerly negotiating the lanes until I came to the main road I thought the traffic on the main road was less of a risk than the icy lanes.  All the way back the little voice was saying that was the sensible thing to do, no point in breaking bones,  only problem is sensible is not an adjective Mrs B would use to describe me. I had only managed 15 miles and the remaining two days did not look good, the bear had eaten me.

I was half thinking of having a quick lunch and then trying again but when greeted by Mrs B saying she was off to the hospital to visit her lifelong best friend who had fallen and broken her hip and arm I took this as an omen not to push my luck for a whimsical target.

The following day, Monday saw gale force winds, torrential rain and flooded roads so this left New Years Eve and with yet more rain I eventually got out for 35 miles before dark.

I had fallen short of my target by 100 miles but felt far from being a loser. By having the good fortune and health to cycle 7900 miles in 2013 I cycled up the drive feeling that I had well and truly eaten the bear.

Happy and safe cycling to all in 2014


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