The last couple weeks has seen me tied in knots. Sleep has been hard to find. A virus that finally exploded at 2am on sunday morning has left me weak and pouring snot. My brain has been going overtime, trying desperately to make amends for the body's lack of strength and stamina. Under rocks and behind the tool chest. In the deepest recesses of my imagination, i have been looking for something that will safeguard against a possible future.
I dearly love being competitive. My self loathing and pessimism - the things that whisper negative comments when i am down or hurting - get the better of me when i know i am not up to the task. At the moment, there are very few tasks i *am* up to.
As dawn broke on monday, 3 or so hours after i had awoken, and started sweating out a fever i could see me wasting an allotted window for riding. I sat on the couch with Daisy and watched her play with her toes and sing. I love the snatched time i get with her in the mornings before work, so on a day where the only things on the agenda are what i choose to do, it would be easy to stay rooted to the spot.
But the demon's were all around me. Hissing. With Daisy off to Tiny Talk, i knew that an offroad ride - which is really what i ought to be doing in such glorious sunshine and likely dry trails - wasnt going to happen. I decided to drag the skeletor out and hit the tarmac. Filled bottles, took paracetamol, a couple slices toast with cream cheese and smoked ham - but really my appetite had evaporated.
Pedaling out of the road, avoiding the crush of modern society. Avoiding cars, just. Until i hit the coast road, shy of Helensburgh. Then past Rhu the houses began to fade away and it was just me, the road and the sea. Onwards and upwards, aiming back to Tarbet and inland. But i spotted a half remembered road, signed to Glen Douglas and decided on a whim to follow it.
i climbed up picture perfect swithcbacks. The Cobbler clear in the distance. I dont know the gradient, but i reckon it was 1:8 - my second serious climb of the day and unbelievably, despite the exhaustion, the weariness, the virus coursing n my veins, i felt alive.
Over the crux and dropping into the glen proper. Whizzing down slightly battered road, parallel to some M.O.D land and popping out at Inverbeg on Loch Lomond side. There is a good cycle path along the loch side, and i took this to Balloch then headed back to Milngavie via the quiet roads north west of Croftamie. Then diving back into the traffic, the grind, the dust and the pressure of people once again. 4.10 of worthwhile escapism. I'm suffering now - pushing hard with a bug on board is only going to lead to horrors, but i'm still smiling about the private roads i span along in the sun, so effortlessly, peacefully and the ejuvination of the mind that it brought.