Slow down, you’re moving too fast

This might sound a bit contradictory considering my post last week, but I’m always getting that feeling that everything is going too fast.  It’s the modern disease as we are constantly told and no matter how much I try to slow life down it carries on accelerating regardless.  So when I read an article earlier in the week in the Guardian called The Art of Slow Reading I thought I’d had a eureka moment. However, I failed in even meeting the prediction of the first paragraph – the only way I got past the fifth was by skim-reading and the promise that I’d get around to reading it later.  And here’s the paradox – later hasn’t arrived yet.  And so it is that everything becomes a rush.  Or is it?

Books are an interesting learning point for me.  Late last year my father-in-law lent me The Ghost by Robert Harris, telling me that given an interest in politics I’d enjoy it.  The book sat there for several months before I decided I had to read it before we all went on holiday together last month.  What a decision that was.  The book was fantastic – for those who’ve not read it I recommend it. The parallels with a certain British ex-PM aren’t hidden and it raises interesting geopolitical conundrums.  But best of all, I couldn’t put it down.  So much so that I started taking slower trains to work to get those few precious minutes longer with the book.  Yes I read slowly, but this time I was enjoying it.  I’d found how to slow time again.  Give me some quality reading time and I’ll take it now.

But when I am on my bike, time becomes all important again.  I’m conscious of the time available to ride, seeing each session as a moment snatched away from other chores and tasks, something to be traded off.  When I’m on the bike I’m thinking about upping that average speed, cutting time off my time for that route in pursuit of improvement.  All in all I now feel tired and even the recovery ride turns into another dash. It’s that spiral of lost time again.

So what I need to do is slow down. Treat the cycling (and most other parts of life) like a good book: slow down, immerse in the moment, revel in the quality and (you couldn’t see this coming could you) feel groovy. (I can’t believe I did that either!)  Tomorrow I start afresh.

Too much too soon – a lesson

Yesterday was an experience familair to many a cyclist – I planned to go out, get the miles in even though the weather forecast didn’t look great and lay down some more foundations towards September.  The first few pedal turns were hard enough but usually something I overcome after a few miles.  But this ride was one of those rides. The pedal turning was diffficult throughout.  The supposed head wind seemed to be in my face all the way around a neat 28 mile loop of south Staffordshire and the hills seemed steeper than normal.  All in all, what I kept telling myself waws an easy ride for most turned into my own version of today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia (okay, there’s no dirt roads but this winter has left a fair few pot holes).

One of the problems I usual face is my over eagerness to ride fast.  As soon as I have hit Wolverhampton’s city boundary I am either spent or flying – and if its the latter I’m usualy spent not long after.  I need to hold back. I keep recognising this but keep making the same mistake.  Again, its not unique to my cycling but something I keep doing time and time again. Of course I end up living with the consequences which are usually some degree of burn out.

So the message of today’s blog? Nothing complicated. Just to take one step at a time and not to rush. I’ll get there in the end and be stronger for it.  Looking back on yesterday it was good even with the rain.