This morning was the first time I pushed myself around my weekly training ride without deriving any enjoyment from it whatsoever. Yet again the weather was kind to me (I’ve still not been out in the rain to date) with it being dry and almost entirely windless. Granted it was a bit cold as I set off just before 6am and I almost turned around after a couple of miles to pick up some gloves but eventually my finger tips started to warm themselves. I wasn’t in the mood for riding at all and wonder whether I would still have ridden if it was raining. I was deprived of sleep which was entirely my own fault; a very late poker session on friday night had been followed by another late night on saturday although no alcohol was involved on either occassion. I was recovering from quite a heavy cold which had been passed around the family and this resulted in me producing pints of snot during the ride, but the main reason for me struggling was that my head was all over the place. I am approaching a crossroads in my working life (well more like an intersection that resembles Spaghetti Junction if truth be known) and will be in limbo for a few days before I know which way I will be going. This has sent my mood spinning over past days and I certainly couldn’t focus on the task in hand this morning.
The ride itself should have been interesting as much of it was new to me and I managed to avoid getting lost this time. I headed out through Simister towards Birch past a half mile long line of car-booters queuing at just after 6am to get a good pitch at their chosen venue. This reminded me of the legendary Studley car-boot sale that we would enjoy and occassionally partake in ‘of a Sunday morning’. I then rode past Hopwood Hall and picked up the Rochdale Canal getting my kicks on route 66 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network. I had taken the canal to Rochdale before but this time I carried on along it to Littleborough where I got back on road and climbed up onto the Peninnes at Blackstone Edge. The climb was neither especially steep nor especially long but as I was still not in the right frame of mind I didn’t attack it as I should have done. My trusty MP3 player of inspirational music was on shuffle which in hindsight was a bad idea as I had started to recognise the sequence of tracks and hadn’t realised how much I liked knowing what was up next. The battery faded out after less than 20 miles anyway – great!
I dropped down into Ripponden and turned sharp right onto the Oldham Road although I was disappointed to see 11 miles to that particular destination on the first sign I spotted. I had ridden back from Oldham on my previous outting and as most of the ride home was downhill, I knew it wouldn’t provide much additional resistance to my tired legs. So I did over 40 miles, which was good but the manner and spirit in which I rode was not so good.
After today’s ride I have a new respect for professional riders realising that to perform to their peak they need to ensure their body and mind are in the best possible shape. If I had tried to do the C2C in the state I was in this morning I’d really struggle. I need to get over my cold, make sure I get enough sleep and most importantly sort my head out.