Wednesday 28th August 2013

Workout Soundtrack: –

8.01 (Mountain Bike – trail and road) 27:48

then

Workout Soundtrack: Dropkick Murphys – ‘The Gang’s All Here’ (on the way to the pool) & Link Wray – ‘Rumble’ (on the way home)

50m warm-up (freestyle)

40x25m (freestyle) 21:41

50m warm-down (breaststroke)

I have no idea why but I woke up feeling irritable and agitated today. It shouldn’t have been this way! I’d been looking forward to taking my bike out since last week’s ride – I was planning on pushing past 30km and the weather was looking fine and dandy for such an effort.

No matter what I tried all throughout the morning and early afternoon I just could not get motivated to saddle up and head out. It felt like the athletic equivalent of writers block, I just wanted to walk the dog and each lunch with my Dad and then sit down with some classical music and a good book! Around about 1500hrs something finally clicked – it may have been the fact I was preparing my bag for work tomorrow – I realised today was my last day off work for a while so I’d do well to make the most of it! I find it hard to fit in my mountain bike sessions if I’m on shift because I’m out there usually for two hours or more, whereas I will rarely run or swim (at the moment anyway) for more than an hour.

Anyway, I geared up and rolled the bike out and before setting off I went to take my usual sip of water from my Platypus. It was then that I realised I had left my riding bag indoors with my water, tools, house keys and my phone inside – not a good start! I rang the doorbell and my housemate came to the door with my bag. All good, ready to go. I set off and my legs did not feel great, they felt heavy and tired and this was whilst riding on the road to get to the trail system I use. I couldn’t shake the negative thought process going through my head and more than once I considered turning around and heading home, but I persevered and began to smile once I got on the first downhill trail section and got up some speed and momentum to carry me around a really awesome bit of fast and flat gravel through a section of woods. I came out of this section and headed towards a pretty rough, slowly ascending bit of muddy trail and on my way I spotted a single magpie. I’m not usually superstitious but magpies have some sort of hold over me and I always remember the rhyme, “One for sorrow, two for joy…”, so it was that I began frantically searching the sky and surrounding trees for a second magpie. I didn’t spot one and soon enough sorrow followed! In my search for the bird I took my eyes off the trail and then rode straight into a small tree – ouch. I took this in my stride as I wasn’t going so fast, it could have been much worse for me and the bike if I had been so I actually laughed at my folly, took on some water and carried on.

About a kilometre and a half later I’d pretty much forgotten about the magpie and my foreboding negative thoughts until somehow a small branch got caught up in my drivetrain and back wheel and broke the wonderful silence that I’d been riding in! I hopped off, pulled the twig from where it had gotten stuck and carried on again – the sense of foreboding was back though…as was my nemesis, the magpie. At this section of the trail the ascent levels out onto a pretty bumpy single track before diving into a fairly steep and grassy downhill section, this happens to be one of my favourite parts of the ride and I decided on the way down that I’d take a left (which I never do) and go off exploring to see where it took me – I figured that I’d shake the magpie that had clearly been stalking me and might even be lucky enough to spot a pair. I think you know what’s coming. No sooner had I taken the left, at speed (almost stacking it by braking a little too hard on the grass), than I heard more rumblings from the rear wheel and drivetrain. I slowed right down and looked back to see a huge piece of thorn bush sticking right out from my tyre. I stopped, jumped off and without thinking about the consequences pulled the thing right out to be greeted with a long, persistent hisssssssss. Shit. Not so much a slow puncture, more of an all out evacuation of air. I turned the bike around and hoped I’d be able to make it to the top of the hill I would usually have ridden up had I taken a right. Thankfully I did get to the top of the hill without hitting the rim, I still seemed to have enough air in the tyre to get me to the nearest road section and the quickest route home – ride aborted!

I got to the road section and no sooner did I hit tarmac than I felt the rim touch the floor. I got off the bike, flipped it and took off the back wheel and began to take the tyre off to replace the tube. Tyre off, I reached into my bag for the pump to find that I’d left it at home – I could have screamed at this point! The omens did not look good from the moment I stepped out of my front door without the bag and now fate seemed to saying ‘I told you so!’. Well screw you fate thought I! I delved deeper into my ride bag to retrieve my phone so I could call my housemate to ride out with the pump…and then I promptly realised I’d left this at home too. This time I did shout. I won’t type what I shouted. Needless to say it was an expletive ridden rant against forgetfulness, magpies and fate! I remounted the wheel, and walked the bike home quite slowly so as to avoid denting or bending the rim. Thankfully, after about ten minutes of walking I’d calmed down sufficiently to enjoy the sunshine, the birds singing, the wonderful scenery…and the conspicuous lack of magpies in the vicinity!

I think the walk home did me some good as I returned with a clear head and I felt quite lighthearted about the whole affair! In fact, on the walk home I daydreamed about running in Pisa and also about running an ultra marathon in the near future. As well as feeling lighthearted and clear headed I also returned motivated and of a mind to extract some positives from the negatives! So I had a quick bite to eat, drank some water and headed off to the pool.

The swim wasn’t my fastest kilometre and it wasn’t my slowest. In fact, I noted when I finished that I had swam exactly 1 minute and 1 second slower than yesterday’s effort – I was very, very pleased with this as I really enjoyed the swim. The pool was quite busy but I just felt like I was in the zone from lap one onward – there wasn’t one point where I felt like I lost my rhythm or where I felt tired or heavy! I’m definitely beginning to love swimming – when I started out on the path to 70.3 I was dreading the swim training and swimming in general. It was more like something I had to do than something I wanted to do (like mountain biking) or something I love to do (like running) but now I really look forward to my swim sessions and I think it could well turn out that cycling becomes my weakest triathlon discipline!

That’s it, I’m signing off! Tomorrow is a rest day as I’m running something called the Magic Mile on Friday evening – more on that tomorrow 🙂

Peace out.

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