Wednesday, 17 January 2007

The feeling of riding

Perhaps you won't be surprised to hear that I have not done a lot of riding since returning home. But I have done a lot of thinking about my time on the road. Memories come back at unexpected moments. The ripe smell of sweat on the Underground reminding me of a smelly man I asked for directions in Mozambique. The crisp crunch of leaves on London's dry autumn pavements reminding me of the Danube valley in October and crisp mornings in central Argentina.
But this morning, in an uninteresting suburban gym, in a small room with seven out-of shape men and a middle-aged woman, I remembered once again. The class was a Spinning class (pain on an exercise bike basically) and this was the first time since I got home that I have really spun my legs smoothly, watching my feet rise and fall, feeling my breathing and the sweat pricking through my palms and then soaking my shirt and dripping from my nose and seeping into my eyes and the acid burning in the back of my throat, and the music blasting and the relentless spinning of my legs powering hard towards an imaginary summit and the desperation to stop the hurt and the resolve that the pleasure on the other side will be worth it.
I remembered days in the mountains, hauling myself skywards. I remembered spinning fluidly along flat plains, racing the sunsets and daydreaming of home.
And now I am home, racing the fat bloke next to me and sprinting as hard as I can to recreate the burn and the pain and the glory of those days that are passed.


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