I've wittered on at some length in the past, usually to whoever is unlucky enough to find themselves in ear shot about the 'flow'. That mystical thing bikers crave, when bike and rider are smooth and as one, the bike seemingly controlled by thought alone.. Taking responsibility upon itself to hit the sweet spot of each corner perfectly with no loss of pace. Those kinds of rides don't happen very often for me, I'm usually scrabbling for grip, frustrating myself over a lack of pace or bravery or just wishing i could do it all a bit better than i am.
But what if the problem isn't me.. But is 'me'? Two things have happened recently that have changed my perceptions. Firstly I heard an interview about the English cricket team and then i read a book whuch built on the theories already in my head.
The interviewee explained that Englands recent test success and resulting world no. 1 ranking was due, in part to a shift in attitude. Victories would no longer be celebrated by an almighty piss up and then swept under the carpet before we get too big for our boots, they would instead be seen as reward for hard work and lessons would be learned. Wow. How often are successes analysed as hard as the navel gazing typically associated with a damn good thrashing?
We no longer let the other chaps off either.. Aggression to the end, don't win.. Demolish them without remorse.
The book mentioned setting goals, goals which were SMART to borrow from business speak, but spoke in terms of "by next june i WILL be.." and they should be short enough to be read in less than a minute.. Succinct stays in the head. and, although it wasn't the real theme a message i took from it was about goals and belief. Too often as adults we let real world cynicism get in the way of achievement.. Its not practical, there isn't enough time, wrong type of leaves on the line..
I've given it a go. I suffer with the typical British trait of playing down success, doing well can be explained away by a whole load of reasons.. A triathlon i finished 16 out of 200 in was because it was 'only short'.. How stupid.. I'd worked dammed hard, trained and deserved what i got.
I've set a goal.. I'm going to stop justifying success hard earned in whatever area of my life.
Early days but last week it came good. Whilst on an early morning sunday ride with Rex i kept only positive thoughts in my head. My fitness from countless* hours in the gym were paying off, strong legs strong lungs and a sharper mind. I loved every second. My reborn confidence saw me carry speed into muddy rooty corners that i wouldn't normally allow.. Whole bike slides were greeted not with a handfull of brake and reduced speed but a small giggle and hard pedalling to the next section.
I had found the flow, not on a dry summer evening but a wet autumnal morning. Its locked inside us all the time, we just need to find the key.
*Actually that's not true, i know exactly how many it is. I'm both ashamed and proud of the figure