I'm working. Oh yes, meaningful employment, with remuneration and everything. A perfectly formed three month short term contract, working out well for both me and employer. Really well for the employer for I will be honest, for this project I'm major league motivated, and capable and realise I have somehow acquired this really specific expertise that apparently nobody else has. The deadline for the first stage of this is 1st April implementation and until I coincidentally popped up my head and asked if there was any chance of work, things were looking like being postponed, and indeed that could well have been monies lost. So everyone's happy.
The bike is happy because on the back of me getting paid again, new forks, handlebars and brakes have been acquired for the MTB. I've promised it a new seat post and saddle too. And there are nightlights.
Working, however, does compromise a little you would have thought, time on the bike. Except the van is not insured for commuting to work so I have joined the Manchester masses of cycle commuters. Getting a 40 minute or so session on the bike in twice a day. One journey I even dared to call it an interval session on the way home. In panic mode, I did my week's bigger ride on Tuesday before work started on Wednesday. Dicey Icy roads so the hybrid trundled around with me sat on it for 60K or so. Since then, the miles have been ramping up courtesy of commuting and today's club ride was, for me, a gentle ending to a week of riding. Tomorrow has to be a day off. In reality, realising how my legs were today when I made any kind of effort, I reckon I could probably do with Monday off too but it's not going to happen until I sort out some alternative transport to work.
The club run was good. It was odd turning up on a ride which I knew was going to be relatively short and relatively flat, but which I was doing purely to gain some of the knowledge of how to ride within a group. Soft skills preparation for the sportif in April. I am embracing marginal gains philosophy. Feeding and fluids, clothing and tyres. Detail indeed. So, going along knowing it was about group skills, I chose to ride in the "slow" group. Oh my god it was slow. I should perhaps have had more faith in myself. But chose instead to properly focus on what I was doing, on road positioning, on not half wheeling, on following a wheel, on learning the new to me hand signals and new to me shouts. I focussed on how to be a quiet but vigilant group member, and chatted to those who were alongside me, learning from them as I went. I was, in honesty, relieved by the sections known as "hills" (I am questioning this) when we were given free rein to go at our own pace and meet at the top. It's good to breathe from time to time, innit? And I may go again, although the next couple of weekends aren't going to allow it.
Next job, working out how to get a 60 - 70K ride in during the next 7 days. It's not going to be easy. Damn that necessity called work.
Oh, and in honour of the song going round my head in the slightly frustratingly gentle paced club run, here we go with a bit of Queen. One, two, three, are you ready ...