Friday, 7 February 2014

And the heart grows fonder...

Mountain biking has pretty much dominated my life for the past 25 years.  From being a kid doodling bikes on school books and scanning price lists in MBUK to years of talking bikes, racing, travelling, cleaning, fixing, coaching and obviously riding bikes it's pretty much been a constant obsession.  I may have had times when climbing and mountaineering took over for a bit and for a few months I might not have been able to name every new innovation available but basically it's been a constant theme.  There have been a fair few times in that two and a half decades when for reasons beyond my control I've been unable to ride a bike, usually because various parts of my body have been encased in plaster.  I've just come to the end of one such period, no plaster this time but the inability to use a thumb has meant that biking has been out of the question.

The frustrations have been the same as ever, the minute you forcibly can't do something the desire to do it multiplies exponentially.  For 6 weeks it seemed like new trails were appearing every day, everyone was out biking constantly and I was missing out on an incredibly unseasonable spell of dry weather (December, not January!).  In part each of these was true but not to the degree that my imagination would've had it.

So finally I decided it was time to swing a leg over my top tube again.  Partly because of some movement returning to my thumb and the pain dissipating but also because I had to get back to coaching at some point, it is part of my job and my kids need to eat!  It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that I was terrified.  What if I just couldn't grip?  What if I'd lost all my speed and reactions?  Luckily a great fun morning coaching with some super enthusiastic kids and their mums chilled me out and then an afternoon with the lads at Rostrevor mostly put my mind at ease.  I still can't grip very well, most noticeably in the fact that I can't really hang on to the bar and cover the back brake which makes things interesting!  There's nothing like forcibly riding with the death grip to make you hit lines!  The only other downside is that using my dropper post means taking my whole hand off the bar which slightly limits its usefulness.  Generally though I felt good and was able to hit the red/black combo loop pretty hard and fast.  In fact it didn't just feel good, it felt incredible!  I can't describe what a stoke it was to be back on the bike.  Even in Rostrevor with its relative ease there was still an amazing buzz to just finding a bit of flow and pedalling hard through the sections.  Absence definitely does make the heart grow fonder and sometimes it's worth spending some time away from what you love to get refreshed and psyched to do it more.  I just hope I don't have to spend any more time off the bike anytime soon!
Loving being back on a bike.  Even though it's freezing and lashing now!

No comments:

Post a Comment