Life: a racing metaphor

A two-hundred mile drive early Sunday morning, enjoying along the way the usual diet of beetroot juice, a honey sandwich, a couple of bananas. And a strong espresso from a thermos before the warm-up.

Riding flat-out from the gun and still dropped like a rock within the first half-hour. Legs bursting and the constant feeling of being about to puke. Not even halfway in, the thrown towel - no point driving oneself to sickness for a second time this month. Early call at the showers and a two-hundred mile journey back.

- - -

Lack of doping controls, unfair game play, all the other conspiracy theories notwithstanding - it remains a challenge I can't seem to master easily, with different weaknesses rearing up each time I let the guard down and fail to attend to any seemingly diminutive detail.

And yet, hours into the drive home, the void feelings from the empty endeavour still mixing with the endorphines, the realisation that the only way out is through: more.

- - -

Any similarity to real life is obviously not just a coincidence.

- - -

Stars of track and field, you are.


Douro Deja Vu

Late March. Somewhere over the Pyrenees. The eleventh flight of the year already, on a machine named after Erlangen.

In spite of this having been my third training camp installment in this still young season, my training volume to date is likely the smallest since attaining my current category. Work commitments, health concerns, and abysmal weather kept epic outings and frequent interval sessions at bay. Instead, I'm now happy to simply work out a sweat on the indoor trainer during early morning sessions, or follow wheels of my loyal training partners as we fight the elements on the roads south of Munich - or, just now, the wet shores of the Douro river. I still hope to convert the vast amount of overtime clocked into miles under more inviting skies, and draw encouragement from the fact that, even with all the woes and interruptions from yesteryear, the season still ended successfully - perhaps even stronger due to the freshness off the forced break.

- - -

If life does begins at Forty, the Thirties are providing for a most interesting, roaring prelude, shaking up the concepts of career and work-life-balance, relationships, luxuries, or sporting goals. Not the manager, but not quite an employee either. No longer racing the Bundesliga, but still unwilling to drop the towel. Not exactly committed, yet neither absolutely single. Far from riches, and while insisting it is not splurging, rewarding myself more often, say, with a new suit... or four.

American essayist Flannery O'Connor once posed that "(n)othing needs to happen to a writer’s life after they are twenty. By then they’ve experienced more than enough to last their creative life".

I gazed over the snow-covered mountains overlooking dry plateaus in the distance and, devising a traversal crossing of the range, established just how little applicability I could find in the writer's statement above.

- - -

As if those twenty years hadn't been busy enough.


Nihil obstat

The wind was gnarling with the waves breaking high against the seawall.

DCFC's New Year began playing just ahead of a silent countdown.

As fireworks went off in the distance, a Swiss army knife opened a beer for the toast.

I drank a bitter sip and felt a sudden urge to throw the bottle off into the dark waters. Instead, I offered the sea some and brought it back to the recycling bin.

- - -

The Last Time I Saw Richard was on as I poured the remaining coffee and packed for the upcoming ride.

Picked for its symbolism, it was the ride that ended '16; now it should begin '18.

This time - perhaps it was the warmer weather, perhaps an altogether different mindset - I thoroughly enjoyed the descent.

- - -

Deep Blue Something gave way to Natalie Imbruglia and Alanis Morissette as the endorphines of a sun-soaked five-hour ride hit me in the evening. One more day to go. This gift comes with a price. But in such moments I realize just how much I'm glad to pay the bill, time after time.

- - -

There's a sunset somewhere every second of the day. But when one happens to watch it...