The last competitive mountain bike event I did was the Moonride - admittedly it was 12 hours long - but it was in May. It's now January. Which is not to say Artemis has been gathering dust since then, but the rides she has been on haven't exactly been noteworthy. There was a once-off ride with Cam what now seems like months ago (and was supposed to be a weekly thing. Really took off, obviously), and the occasional boost around Bayswater, but I was certainly in no shape today to be keeping up with Steve - who leaves February 5th to become a mountain bike tour guide in Bolivia - and his singlespeed.
Marie-Helene Premont would be ashamed.
I love mountain biking - I really do. When I can do it without feeling like dying climbing up gentle inclines laced with tree roots. In May, I would have laughed at my efforts today. I'm sad to say I've become one of those road cycling losers, burning up the tarmac but coming up short when it comes to the forest. I'm determined to turn this around.
What amazed me was Steve, to be honest. He became the first person to ask if my tattoo was a Rage Against the Machine star (bingo!), to share my unabashed worship of Haile Gebrselassie, Tirunesh Dibaba, and Hicham El Guerrouj, but - unfortunately - became one of the rabble who describes Bad Religion as "thrash punk" or something equally disdainful. Sigh. Can't win them all, hey?
I'm stoked with my Sunday. For once, I actually got out there and did something constructive with my time. I managed to kill two birds with one stone with the realisation that I need to whip myself back into mountain shape before I go saying anything about ripping up the XTERRA field this April. Something must be done, and it will be.