I miss being hungry. That deep down, aching stomach, hollow ribs, hang on the fridge door, spoon peanut butter out the jar, gnaw cheese, eat one supper while you’re making supper, gaping cavernous pit of hungry you get after a good long ride. Then have biscuits.
I miss being a bit wibbly, bitey bottom lip, toughen up princess, last ten miles, I’ve done this too many times before, one more hill, forearm sweat, gnnnn, you get at the end of a decent ride.
I miss being tired. That treacley deep down, head nodding on the sofa, legs pulsing heavy and sinking into the mattress tired you get when you’ve properly deliberately happily worn yourself out.
I miss being out all day, putting lights and an extra layer in your back pocket as you leave just after an early breakfast, stopping for lunch somewhere anywhere, watching the sun and shadows move, headwinds to tailwinds, distance, other landscapes, skin polished tight in the breeze, crazed lips, dehydrated cracking throat.
I miss being somewhere else.
I could batter myself on the rollers or sign up for one of those on-line racerides and suffer myself in the front room (sorry, I mean pain cave, gotta ego it up), but I love Cycling not just turning pedals. I stopped playing at screens with Daytona USA and Sonic The Hedgehog and while I can absolutely see the benefits of cycling’s hamster wheel it’s not for me. I need to feel the wind on my face, experience weather, movement, crunch under my tyres, distance, not the sensory depravation of looking at another screen, wall or tumble dryer. I need to focus on something that’s miles away. My head needs to play outside for all sorts of recharging, resetting and quieting reasons. This does not have to even be far, release can come as soon as I veer round the first corner or reach the top of that initial hill where I can still see my house. And another hill, and the horizon.
I miss something to look forwards to and work towards. This endless no future in sight nothing is an aimless stodge.
While this whole thing feels very much still Over There it is tip-toeing nearer as close friends are saying they know people and have family that have died, someone a few doors up the road has succumbed, the separation is narrowing.
The new normal is now a normality and I definitely have it very easy compared to many others but there is an underlying level of simmering stress, from the waterfall of news to the proximity avoidance that is perpetual and exhausting. The wave of tiredness and sleep may come quick but it’s not the same as being road weary.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.