A lot has happened since the last blog post, I'm busy and struggling to sit in front of the screen long enough to finish off the half written post about the Malvern Mad Hatter.
That's a shame because the ride was fantastic and went utterly to plan. As a natural self critic I am perpetually disappointed in my own performance, able to find the smallest issue and honing in on it until all other good stuff is lost.
Not so this time, the 104 miles of the Malvern Mad Hatter passed under my wheels in 5hrs 49 minutes and I finished feeling bloody great. The last 10 miles were a bit of a slog as my nutrition plan of stopping only once and being self sufficient for the remainder
of the ride saw me moving on when the group I had happily stuck with for 40 miles pulled in to take advantage of the generous feed stations, that coupled with a few stinging climbs and a bastard headwind meant I was in a head down get there mindset for the first time all day.
My stretched goal of achieving a gold medal worthy time of 6hrs 30 minutes was obliterated as I rolled over the line 40 minutes ahead of it and I didn't suffer the normal issues I get from long rides thanks to a little care and the excellent products on offer from High5.
I've enjoyed the increased fitness I've gained over the course of the summer and my regular Wednesday night rides in the exceptionally hilly Symonds Yat area were all achieved on a singlespeed, not only that, I was storming away from my mates in the process up the
steepest of hills.
My last post of exile appears to have been written just before an important tipping point. On the last of my wednesday night mountain bike rides before I set out to attempt the Malvern Mad Hatter I found myself at the top of what I considered to be a nasty little drop in on a downhill trail, I reasoned that after investing heavily in both a new bike and higher levels of fitness, smashing myself up to
simply prove a point (to whom I wasn't sure) only three days before my first imperial century was a little foolish to say the least. The result of this was that I just wheeled down the chicken run and watched whilst my riding buddies ummed and ahhed for a while.
That's been an epiphany for me, rather than battering myself mentally I accepted I didn't want to do it, my mates didn't immediately dis-own me, the world didn't implode and I wasn't denounced as a coward when we walked into the pub a few hours later. Since then, my off road riding has seemingly come on, my jumping is better, my descending better and I just have my mojo back. The crisis of confidence has left these shores, at least for the time being.