Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Poor Performance Denial - A Guilty Cyclist's Tale

This week I think I experienced my first case of what I will call "Poor Performance Denial" or PPD.

Having had a whole 10 days off the bike for the first time since April 2013, I returned home from Wales and took my first morning commute on Monday. The 3 miles (no, I haven't missed a 1 off the front or a 0 off the end - it really can be as short as 3 miles!) felt difficult and I was jumping up and down the gears like an amateur. On arriving at work I felt positively knackered and decided it was probably the wind….and absolutely not the bottle of wine I'd enjoyed the night before.*

Luckily for me but unlucky for Charlotte, she was off work following a bout of food poisoning so I was spared the trip home at lunch to let our dog Lolli out for a run. Obviously then, my next encounter with what was appearing to be the quite foreign activity of cycling was home time. Hating work and loving not, naturally means I look forward to this special time of the day and even the dark nights don't dampen my enthusiasm. Getting on the bike didn't feel like the experience I'd been looking forward on returning home from Wales so I decided I'd go back home the same way I came that morning - yep, just 3 guilt-ridden miles!

On reaching the half way point of the journey (for those still dozing that 1.5 miles) things were going so badly that quickly started looking down at my tyres, convinced that I had a puncture. As you can see, this PPD thing is starting to become quite serious.

There are some fairly disruptive road-works along significant parts of the route so, on being forced to sit behind a long line of stationery traffic, I checked that my wheels weren't suddenly four sided, my bag hadn't turned into a giant parachute and wasn't suspended high above me like a sail and carried on with the rest of the journey home, giving it some beans (insofar as I thought I was) wherever possible.

On crashing through my garden gate and scrabbling about for my door keys it suddenly occurred to me that there was a stupidly obvious reason for the terribly slow and physically draining efforts I'd experienced that day so, on entering the house, I immediately started examining the brakes - convinced that they must surely be stuck on or something somewhere be caught between the pads and rim.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that none of this was the case and that the PPD was now so far advanced that my denial was causing irrational thought processes about mechanically impossible scenarios. **

On finding that I had no other excuse for the day's torrid times (on the bike at least), it took some time to accept that I just didn't have the legs and was simply having one of those days. Depressingly, a week of heavy drinking, eating, a slight cold and exactly 10 'rest days' won't go by without their consequences - which was a bit of poo realisation by all accounts.

Its just funny how I was happy to deny that my performance and relative suffering could in any way be my own fault or short-coming! Charlotte would probably say this merely exemplifies my entire personality! Nevertheless, its now Wednesday and luckily today my legs seem to have woken up and met my mojo. I'm hoping this means no more PPD for a while…

* purely to round the holiday off of course!

** technically it is mechanically possible for a set of rim brakes to become 'stuck on' but the conditions for this could not exist on my bike on account of the mutual respect between man and machine that exists between us.