Hmmmm…..philosophy is for Jessies!

by wjohngalloway

Since posting the pics of the new Look frameset and Hinault and Lemond yesterday I’ve had a few interesting discussions about memory and the nature of what I suppose is best called self motivation.

The big trigger for this post though was the result of a diversion by car through Roslin Glen from Loanhead yesterday. As Ailsa and I opened the car window to get some air the scent of the wild garlic and honeysuckle growing by the side of the steep narrow climb evoked a memory so vivid it verged on hallucination.

I was a 19/20 year old (relatively) newly skinny John in a Nike hooded sweatshirt and tight sweatpants wearing a pair of blue mesh Sidi cyclotourist shoes (with toeclips and straps). It was just before AAH, Ailsa and I headed off to the Cambridge Folk Festival and then the Auvergne. As I heaved up the 20% climb I imagined I was chasing Fignon or Hinault, loving the sensation of my body working hard. Every day after work, despite the distractions of a beautiful young woman waiting at home I could no more miss my 25 miles on the bike than stop breathing.

Step back a further 8 years and you have a plump pubescent me rushing home from school at lunch to work out another Jimmy Page or Bert Jansch lick, slowing down that Tampa Red album to 16rpm to try and nail that bottleneck sleight of hand. I’d already played for an hour before going to school and would play all night after getting home. It was a buzz showing Al those “fast blues licks” and learning from everyone I played with. Breathing? A poor second best! ;o)

Two years after the bike memory you have an intolerant, impatient young man hanging on to a piece of rock with grim determination. It’s two feet above the ground in the South Quarry at Salisbury Crags. He’s hung on to the same bit of rock every night for the last two months, unable to nail the final move of the rock traverse. A subtle hint from a friend suggests dropping a heel slightly and suddenly the door is opened and the move, formerly impossible, seems easy. A couple of years later AAH and I top out in the alpenglow after a gorgeous winter ascent of Crowberry Gully. Al and I share a magical day at a bolted slate quarry in the Lakes. I didn’t go more than three days without climbing for nearly ten years.

Cycling?  I went five years without missing a day on the bike . I’ve played guitar every day I’ve been at home or near a guitar since I was 11. The point is that these weren’t pastimes, they were the fabric of my life.

And yet now they’re aspirations, desires, goals. I miss the time when they were behavioural imperatives that brooked no argument.

I suppose I’m looking for a way to continue motivating myself on the wee steps it’ll take to get back to a level that doesn’t offend me or accept that those times have just gone. Not depressed, genuinely fairly happy, just a bit lost.

Bloody nose and memory synapses, you’ve got some explaining to do!