Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Old Friends

Pain and suffering are part and parcel to being an athlete, and as much as I've tried to 'de-tune' myself from cycling, I've found it to be too miserable of a prospect whilst the thought of regaining fitness is equally dire. Since retirement, I have carried on and have attempted several times to become fat and lazy; after about a week, I'm usually so disgusted with myself that I train extra hard to make up for the sloth--the two extremes take an equal toll on my general health. Over time, I've just decided to not become fat and lazy and always mainatain some level of activity.

So, when I woke up yesterday morning after a 71 mile week on the roads with that sore/numb feeling in my legs and racing heart, all I could do was ponder how much it sucked to wallk from the train station up the hill to campus and consider how cool it is to be hard.

Not much is going on here. I'm working loads of hours on my research and lecturing both of which leave me mentally exausted and irritable--those of you who know me probably couldn't tell the difference too easily. My flatmates, however, still live in an awed fear when I come home after a hard day at the office, silently pull a quad shot from the shiney Saecco, don my kit and run, only to return 2 hours later to eat a pound of pasta and pull another espresso.

The United Kingdom would be a miserable place to be a bike racer. 35 degrees and raining is the norm for this time of year. It's nice weather in which to run, and when the cold northerly, drizzly wind hits me in the face all I can really do is think about going north into the hills alone; the response elicited by each gust that pushes me sideways is merely "get some! get some!." My trainiing partners think I'm insane, especially when I attack into the gutter on cobbles or puke during a sprint.

I have a variety of options when leaving my house. There's the Tour de History--an 8 mile jaunt up the river, over the Tower Bridge, Around the Tower of London proper, further up river to Milenium Bridge and through the old Southwark "Borough" home. An optional 4 miles comes when adding St Pauls Cathedral with another 5 on top of that for Waterloo Station, the Eye, Parliament, Westminster and the Tate Modern.

There's the Hemisphere run where I cross back and forth over the Prime Meridian at Greenwhich, around the Royal Observatory and down to the Thames Barrier--a brilliant piece of engineering designed for London to cheat death for another day. This one's cool because I get to run through the tourists and old people at Greenwhich park singing "America, Fuck Yeah!" before I circle the Milenium Dome and mourne the loss of a wayward whale.

Perhaps my favorite is the Vuelta de Mundo Tres--a happy slog through Peckham Rye, Camberwell, Brixton, the Oval and back up through Elephant and Castle. This one is about 16 miles round trip and a good comination of hills, agility dodging syringes and crack addicted squirils, speed-work as I sprint through the gang wars and gun battles of the Favelas--otherwise known as socialised estate housing and finally a long cool down through the yuppie infested dockland wharehouse conversions.

But now, all I can really think about is keeping my feet up and trying to remember where I put my beer. Life's not all fun and games, though. Last weekend, I ended up at London club institution Fabric with 4 Italian student/supermodels and my friend Ian. Thinking through the math on this, one would think that I couldn't go wrong--and they'd be right.

Now there is a little known fact about how I go through my day. I like mornings. Really. In Lawrence on balmy spring summer days, I'd wake up early and pedal the river trail in pre-dawn to see the sun come up over the Kaw. The misty, heavy air would cast brilliant colours and make the second cup of coffee that much nicer when I made it back to my house--to sleep 'till it was time to train. When I saw the red/orange sun rise over the Thames on London Bridge casting its spectrum of colour through the early morning sky I was beset with saudade, and since I was in the back of a cab on the way home from the club, with Elliana and Laura asleep, cuddled on either side, all I could manage through my fatigue was "bella" (while my inner monolog was thinking "damn it feels good to be a gangsta." I love morning.

Well that's it for now; once again it's saturday, and I'm willing the motivation to go out in the cold for yet another session. Edinburgh's only a few months away, and I've been elected to do the lonely middle section of the race--8 miles through the hills north of the city--what's with north, hills and lonleyness? I hope it's windy too, so I can run in the gutter.

thanks for reading

Ben

2 Comments:

Blogger BusterK said...

Someone screwed up and told me that I passed the Bar. So I'm a real lawyer now. However, Mills still things that the Bar is a reference to some place down on Mass. St.

If you like the sunrise over the Thames try the sun setting over the cotton fields in the Delta. It looks like fresh snow but at 80 degrees.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Passed the bar? Why didn't you at least go in and have a drink or ten?

C'mon busterk, you're in the south. There's gotta be some good bars that you don't wanna passed. Hell, you could just get drunk and go hunting. Yeeee HAAAWWW!!!

10:10 PM  

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