Exactly 3 weeks on from the day that I fell off the bike and lacerated my knee, I ended 21 days of boredom with a ride to work. Not exactly boredom as I had the Cricket World Cup to watch but driving to work made me feel dirty and £9 per day out of pocket. And I find driving to work 4 days running to be very boring. I did do a few errands up to the shop but nothing too strenuous- I needed beer to help me through the end of the group stages as New Zealand did their best not to qualify for the semi finals. Even so my monthly distance suffered frustrating my goal to ride on a average once a day and break 100 commutes for the year.
I know that they say that getting back in the saddle is the best thing to do as early as possible after a fall but I couldn’t do that for fear of putting pressure on the stitches on what is a key joint when it comes to cycling. When it was time to remove the stitches, 2 of them had come away probably because I did play cricket in the meantime. Which wasn’t all that wise but didn’t want to miss anymore of playing than I have already. I had changed clubs and was keen to impress which I did only to break my little finger last week trying to stop a ball. Now I have to stay away from cricket balls for the rest of the season (I am too old to learn but never too old to play).
So back to cycling. When I did get back on, I was tentative and nervous. The objective part of my brain was telling me not to worry- it was only the second big off in my 51 years. The subjective part was telling me to be scared and stay safe. So I forced myself to take a few easy off road rides to get my confidence back. Yesterday, Tuesday I drove to the supermarket and unloaded the 29er for a mostly off road route to work. Not exactly exhilarating or fast but it was back to a familiar routine. I avoided the trails where the overgrown nettles had cut up my legs the day before. It was good to be out and my finger was only a little bit tender from the solid bumpy trails. I took the quick route back listening to the semi final as I rolled along the river. I don’t ride much at all with ear plugs in as my hearing isn’t so good so only had one in on the left side (the metal boxes pass me on the right in the UK). Only weeks before I had been moaning about how it needed to warm up some more to be summer and was fed up with the air being so cold. The sting of sweat in my eyes and the overgrowth of wild grass and nettles is a welcome feeling that finally summer riding is here.
This morning I set off later than usual on the crosser as I could get to work faster on, instead of off the roads. I lacked any rhythm or speed and dawdled in although I bypassed several cars backed up at some temporary lights causing a massive rush hour bottle neck. I stopped counting at 50 and took a side road ending up on the other side of the lights counting 87 stationary cars waiting in the opposite direction. I expected impatient drivers wanting to pass me at every opportunity after their inconvenient hold up. They didn’t disappoint but I didn’t see a single vehicle that I passed earlier. Yep, riding is way better than driving.
I spent the day at work listening to New Zealand’s fortunes via the radio commentary from Old Trafford. I knew that we had posted a low score and that not many gave us a chance against the worlds best, India. But I also felt that the wicket was bowler friendly and we would beat them IF we bowled well and so it turned out. We won a thriller by 18 runs and are in Sunday’s final. I spent the rest of my day at work trying to source resale tickets on the ICC website. Seems that the Indian fans aren’t over their shock or they’re awaiting the outcome of tomorrow’s semi final between England and Australia. If England win, there will be less for re-sale as I think that they’ll turn up en masse to support England as their 2nd preferred team because most of them live here anyway.
I had a tail breeze on the way home and took the shortest possible route home to be back in time for the highlights on the tele. There were lots of other Kiwis on the same road back with the same idea. The one driving the black Audi was the most desperate. But only to kill their passengers/me/on-comers (maybe all of the above). Unlike him/her I made reasonable time without trying.
I think that I’ll go off road tomorrow…