Cycling, the new challenge, as well as the old mainstays, the jogging and the gym weights, have all tested me this year. Minor niggles, unexpected setbacks, receding goals . . . This week saw me tackling my new weekly cycling target of 110 kms for the second week in a row, and yesterday I set off on my regular week’s longest exercising stint, 50 kms in over three hours.
Rain had been and rain was forecast, but the skies were clear, and I was hopeful. A neophyte, I’d never taken the bike through wet weather, and to be honest, I was apprehensive, so my thinking was that if luck was with me, the clouds would stay light-coloured. An hour in, the fluffy variety left, dark skyborne beasts flew in, and suddenly the sky erupted into a violent storm. Suddenly I had no choice. Wet I’d get and wet I’d be, so I put my head down, tried to maintain visibility and took a slower pace through the trails of Melbourne. Rain lashed. Rivers flowed down the tracks. One of my under-bridge routes can be seen to be washed out.
Here’s what surprised me. In the moment, coping as best I could, and determined to log 50 kms onto Strava (let’s be clear, the Big Year demanded that), all my exercising grizzles vanished. I was fully absorbed, bleached of mental struggles. I just kept on. A tyre punctured. I recovered. Arriving home wet through and covered in trailside grit, even more weary than usual, I grinned with pleasure. This Big Year works!