Saturday, 14 November 2009

Crocodile Harris...

I suppose most people wouldn't have the foggiest who Crocodile Harris is (was?). He's a musician and had a hit with an anti-war song called "Give me the good news". Mind you, despite the song's title, don't listen to it when you're within reach of sharp objects!

But I digress. Been doing a fair old bit of thinking lately and I came to the conclusion that it is all too easy to get hung up on what is WRONG with things/the world/people/etc. And once you've aimed your focus there, it can be damn hard to shift it away again.
Truth is there ARE many things wrong all around us. Yet at the same time there are so many things that are good and right and simply awesome!

I went cycling along the Plym valley route, cutting through Saltram House as I tend to do. With a severe weather warning in place I knew I could expect around 25 to 30 mm's of rain in an hour or so, but I still needed to go riding.
At Saltram I was diverted due to a rock slide having closed the one path, but I couldn't get close enough to take pictures, so on I went.

At Plymbridge, I came back on the lower path, which runs between the canal and the river. The canal was overflowing at the usual spots and at one place I had to cycle through roughly 25 cm's of muddy water. My shoes got completely soaked - before they were only quite wet.

But  it was good. No, it was better than simply good - it was brilliant! I was sopping wet, very muddy and loving every moment of it! The few dog walkers I saw out gave me some strange looks, as I was singing along with a great big grin on my wet and mud-splattered face!

I've also found recently(ish) that I've levelled off in my cycling. My times weren't improving anymore, although I am still getting better at hill climbing and my technical skills are certainly improving. I just found I'd cycle the same route at the same speed as before.
Not entering any competitions, this shouldn't be too much of a problem you might think, but I know I can do better and that is driving me on.

On the way back from Plymbridge I cycled in on the Embankment. I was feeling pretty happy with the world and I realised I was going faster than normal. This made me pedal for all that I was worth, and I ended up with a new personal "self-propelled" best speed of just shy of 27 mph. Only speeds done on my own on level bit count as "self-propelled", so while I've gone much faster on downhills, those times don't count.
Even better, I reached that speed cycling into a bit of a headwind. And for the seasoned roadies scoffing at such a slow speed, please remember this was done on a full-suspension MTB with knobbly tyres (even though the back tyre is badly worn and so not very knobbly at all).

Yep, I'm chuffed with myself! Still, sprinting along at that speed, I soon realsied that I couldn't maintain it for any great distance and I soon slowed down, puffing like a steam engine. And that was the second brilliant thing of the day: I've discovered what to do to start improving times again, and I'm faced with fresh new challenges on my bike.

Isn't life great!