I started this blog with a reference to the longest journey starting with the smallest step and as the X Factor starts its run, soon to be followed by (my personal preference) Strictly – though I am still mourning the loss of the divine Matthew Cutler – I am sure we will be bombarded with tales of the participants ‘journey’. I cannot comment on the journey or otherwise of any of the inhabitants of the Big Brother house as pins and eyes come to mind at the mere mention, however I am sure there are some life affirming journeys being undertaken even as I write. It is interesting that journeys of all types have provided inspiration for writers – The Road, Grapes of Wrath, The Iliad and the Odyssey, The Journey of the Magi, not to mention everything by Michael Palin. Journeys also inspire movie makers – road movies, buddy movies are all constantly in production, painters , poets, the list is endless. A journey has long been not just about physically getting from A to B but a metaphor for personal development, and we have had a long fascination with reading people’s journals from Marco Polo to Pepys and just about every politician ever born as they recount their trials, tribulations and triumphs along the journey of their lives.
On my journeys this week – physical and mental, there have been some of each – one trial is currently on going – I know that there are 3 sensational cupcakes in the fridge . They came into my possession as a result of our charity stall yesterday for The John Bury Trust – a successful if exhausting day. I allowed myself one as a treat and reward for helping dispose of approx 400 kitchen utensils to the good folk of Darwen – a whole other journey/story – but in order to avoid Fat Club tribulations the remaining 3 cupcakes must disappear into some one elses body pretty sharpish and the journey to the fridge needs to be ‘The Road Not Taken’ by me!
Fat Club was a bit of a triumph… though heaven knows how – power of positive thought I think, Leaving home the scales had predicted disaster but in the short journey some fat had miraculously left the body to give a positive result. I did discuss the merits of removing what I considered to be rather weighty underwear with my Fat Club compatriots but the look of horror on their faces led me to believe it would be a step to far and so risked the weigh in fully clad.Seeing the unbelievable readout I bounced off the machine at double speed in case the missing pound re entered my body like some form of errant ectoplasm before the faithful scribe could record my achievement in the weight loss (or otherwise) journal.
However my more major triumph this week has been around hills and gear management on the bike. To date the hills have been alive with the sound of my screaming… screaming that I hate them and can’t get up them! So setting out on a ride which involved a long sustained hill – to most a gentle slope – filled me with trepidation. Currently when confronted with a hill several things happen – first I panic, then I panic some more – scream at whoever I am riding with that I hate hills, then I panic some more and pedal frantically at it as if pursued by all the furies in hell, then I panic some more, mangle the gears, scream some more, panic a bit more, stop, get off and walk to the top panting, cursing and muttering. Then going down the other side, I panic again, try not to close my eyes in fear and brake all the way down. I only relax and breathe when I reach some blessed bit of flat ground. Clearly this is not conducive to the concept of relaxing cycle trips.
There has now been – I think – a bit of breakthrough – a milestone on my journey maybe – on the ride up the long hill my patient companion made me realise several things. There is no need to panic, there is no need to rush, slow steady and low gear work will get it done, to trust myself going down hill – not to brake – not to close my eyes in terror – let momentum carry me as far as possible and then just breathe and pedal in the correct gear! Results are already more positive. I am cycling in a more relaxed manner, and it’s not how fast I get there – it’s that I get there!
So on the Cycletta day I may not be the fastest, I may finish an hour behind the rest of the Daft and Determinds, who will have had their massages and helmet hair treatment and no doubt be relaxing with a well chilled glass of prosecco before I heave into sight but I will get there and I will enjoy the journey.