Fight for your right to fight yourself

Night RidingFour days at work, four days commuting by bike. And I even got some more work and improvements done on the single speed MTB and the other bikes (and in my job at macrobert as well). So far my training for the next trip is going well, I even managed to squeeze in some hours night riding on the mountain bike with some cool folk from Edinburgh, to be continued next week. At the moment I can’t believe that winter is almost upon us, last night felt more like a warm summer’s night with some rain, but nothing like late autumn or winter. Looking out of the window I am pretty sure that pleasure will be over soon, but I am also much less afraid of those conditions then I used to be a year ago. Cycling more than 12.000 km this year has made me tougher, much tougher than I used to be.

Last night’s ride illustrated that I have come a long way in terms of physical and mental fitness since I started commuting between Edinburgh and Stirling and doing some (epic?) trips in between. I wasn’t really in the mood for cycling yesterday after a long day at work, but gave it a go anyway. The initial plan was to take the longer route along the Union Canal back to Edinburgh, all in all about 75km. For some that might seem like an eternity, for me it is a bit longer than the normal commute, but an amazing ride on the cross bike. However, the ride to the Falkirk Wheel could have been much smoother, I didn’t really get into a proper rhythm, and when I got there I preferred to jump on the train instead. At that moment of time I just couldn’t be bothered, craving for same food and convinced myself that I wanted to go home, as soon as possible. So I cycled off the planned route into Falkirk, just to find out that the train had left four minutes before me, and another one was 28 minutes away. Whoever knows Falkirk, knows it’s not the sort of town you want to wait for that period of time. So I got back on the bike, heading towards Polmont, the next stop en route. By that time it started raining and I was about to regret my decision not to wait. But then again, it was still reasonably warm outside, too nice to stand around or sit on a train. So I kept pushing on to Linlithgow, another 3 miles down the road to the next Sainsburys. I deliberately made a break to buy some oat cookies to treat myself, and to miss the train in Linlithgow again. By the time I came out of the supermarket it was pissing with rain, but only for a short time. Not willing to wait for the next train I simply cycled home to Edinburgh, as I had originally planned. I would have been home earlier if I wouldn’t have taken that many detours to catch trains, but in the end it was fun.

Here are some things that are illustrated in the little story that I found out for me. They are useful if you don’t want to spend your life on a couch, and they can be pretty much applied to all aspects in life. I had committed to cycle home, and I finally did it. How I got there didn’t really matter in the end, I even added some adventure in by taking different (and even new) routes than the planned ones. I would have been unsatisfied with myself if I would have taken the train and broken my commitment as the conditions were almost perfect, and there was no need to bail at all. I had proper lights, my legs weren’t the freshest but still pretty fit to cycle the distance home. By finishing four days work and cycling at least one direction each day I had reached my personal goal for the week, and I had fought my doubts as well. There is a great quote from Black Swan I remember all the time when I fight with myself, and it helped all the time so far: The only person standing in your way is you! If it comes to this, feel free to fight yourself, and win. Now for the weekend and some , biking?