When I thought that I would start a blog I logged onto a site to create the blog and started filling in some of the details, then I got to the screen. The screen where you have to name your blog, sum up what you are about in a short, memorable title. Panic set in, what is that I want to say, what is it that is important, what will get people interested? There are so many things that I want to say, so I decided to tweet for some help, “considering start a blog but stumble at the first hurdle, what to call it? suggestions on a tweet…” to which a friend replied “that is a good title”. The more I think about it, the more apt it is.
I stumble physically and mentally all the time, often embarrassingly with witnesses. I walk into shop signs. I fall off of gym equipment. I have thoughts in my head that stumble into each other and often when they come out they make no sense to anyone, sometimes even to myself. So why would I want to put these thoughts out into the world for all to read?
Everyone stumbles but it is what you do following the stumble that is key. Do you sit and stare at the hurdle, do you lick your wounds and make them worse, do you stand up, dust yourself down and retry the same hurdle, or chose the next hurdle to try, or give up hurdling completely?
Stumbling at the first hurdle is pretty apt title really. At the start of 2010 I decided to do the L’Etape du Tour, a leg of the Tour de France for amateurs. The 2010 edition consisted of a 180km ride which included three mountains. Considering my history of being unsporty, unfit and lazy, not to mention having been morbidly obese a little over 3 years ago it was a massive undertaking. At the time I only owned a hybrid bike and could cycle about an hour at a leisurely pace. I knew that the Etape was hard but there was something that inspired me. From January-May you could pretty much guaranteed to find me either asleep, working, or donning sexy lycra and riding Kirk (my trusty steed).
I was riddled with self-doubt but was getting the miles in my legs, was training hard and occasionally hitting the deck, but that was all part of course. In late May I felt incredible, invincible and, for the first time, felt that I could complete the Etape. I had just completed a 216km solo ride around Dorset, ok it took me almost 13 hours but I proved something to myself. There were times during the ride when I wanted to quit and stopped every 20km or so, then something flipped 60km from home, I was running low on water and feeling sore but I knew that I could make it. There was something driving me on, some small piece of self-belief that I could do this.
They say pride comes before a fall and I was proud of my efforts and achievements of that 216km ride. Two days later something literally flew from left field (well actually right) and knocked me flying. Whilst out training (post sleep & pre-work) a duck flew into Kirk’s front wheel. I hit the deck hard. Initially I did the classic post-hitting-the-deck cyclist thing of “is my bike ok”, I knew I was still alive but was Kirk? A few hours later it was apparent that this was more than just a little stumble, my wounds were pretty bad, road rash to leg, hip and back + one separated AC joint requiring emergency surgery. The doctor was literally going use two buttons to sew it back together.
I now find myself almost at the beginning of 2011, following seven months licking my wounds, physically repaired wondering what is it that I do post-stumbling at the first hurdle…