Thursday, 17 September 2009

Salad Days

Baby spinach, rocket, grated carrot, whole baby beets, fetta, protein in some format (summer, usually tuna), celery. Salad. Time to start living off it again. A variation on the standard of meat and several veg. An attempt to shed body fat, drop a few kilos to gain a few watts.

My salad lunches are noted at work. I have a reputation for eating rabbit and cat food. Today's comment was: that's very healthy (hmm I could be rich for every time I hear that). Standard reply: too healthy. I really want fish and chips. Then I get: no wonder you're so skinny (hmm debatable, there are much much skinnier in the office). If I didn't race bikes, I would be skinnier!

Therein, for me, lies the joke. The joke that makes me think about cycling, racing bikes, the things we do to ourselves to have some kind of success (truly only measurable by ourselves). Today, over my salad with tuna, rabbit and cat food, I came across some writings by a guy called Nathaniel Ward. Nathaniel writes for Embrocation Cycling Journal. But his articles today, he wrote for me. Timely. His words even reminded me of my dressage days, and the beauty in that sport; the years of study, training and learning I undertook to become a "natural" with talent and feel. Those memories reminded me of how long I have been in cycling, and where I was at half a life time ago, with the same number of serious horse years in my riding boots.

It was timely because I have been sitting here wondering why the hell I am in this sport, mainly because of the barriers that present repeatedly. Dressage would be easier in many ways, but only because I realise that I have done the hard yards already. I understand the professionalism required of that sport, intrinsically. I am still learning in this one. By professionalism, I don't mean being paid to ride, but behaving and acting with professionalism. There is a difference between just racing, and being a racer. I am finding my way through that gap. Often I get lost, or scared, or frustrated, or tired, plain bone-tired, or unbelieving, mainly unbelieving. Just as I did learning the way of dressage, over many hard years, to the point where I can feel dressage in my bones, my muscles and nerves, my blood, even right now as I write of it.

Funny how things come to you, when you need them. Nathaniel's words did that today whilst I was munching my salad. And I finally made a connection that I have been looking for, but didn't know what it was or where to find it. Guess it was there all the time, just waiting for me, under the baby spinach.

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