My two favourite pastimes are running and mountain bike riding. You can be sure when I secure a little window of ‘me time’ I am either tying up my shoes laces or buckling up my helmet. I love both very much- but I have a very different relationship with each. I am sure those that run in particular will be able to relate to the following analogy!
My relationship with running is complicated. It is at times exhilarating, at times exasperating. When it is good, boy is it good! It feels so natural, so visceral- it can feel at times like I am flying. But when it’s bad, it can be very hard work. I can feel like I am dragging a tractor tyre behind me. And the most frustrating thing is it can be almost impossible to know beforehand which one it is going to be on any given day.
Imagine going to dinner with your significant other and the conversation is easy, yet deep, engaging and witty. You are in raptures- how lucky I am to be with someone like this?! On the next date however the conversation is forced, broken, dull- then the night culminates with them throwing their plate at you! Where was the person from the other night? How do I get them back? Imagine trying to marry someone like that? You spend months and months planning the wedding of your dreams. Everything is going great, until on the big day inexplicably they leave you stranded at the altar! Many people who have attempted a marathon can relate to this. They have a perfect preparation only to have their achilles tendon swell with pain and stop them dead at kilometre 20. WTF?!
For me cycling is nothing like that. It is predictable, reliable, trustworthy. Before I start a ride I already know how it is going to turn out. As a partner, I know that when we go out, the conversation will be steady, easy and pleasant. Nothing wrong with that- but it does lack a little zing. But hey, vanilla is a lovely flavour- and at least I know if a plan something far into the future I can trust this one to actually rock up!
If I had to choose one of these partners to spend my life with, I’m going to choose number two every time. Fortunately I don’t have to choose between running and riding. I can have both. I can have the tumultuous, thrilling, aggravating love affair with running undergirded by the solid, yet gentle cycling to fall back on when running breaks my heart!