Oh boy were my legs tired after rides no. 27, no. 28, and no. 29! The Cumbrian tour kind of took it out of me, and I was thrown back into work as soon as I returned – so my next ride didn’t happen until about four days after I got back.
It was a little gem of a ride – my local Latrigg after-work loop, up and down and around the fell, and then a beauty of a descent in Brundtholme Woods. Best part of the ride? DRY. TRAILS. No power-sapping sodden grassy climbs, no slippery traction-less mud, no infinite bogs to negotiate – just good, old fashioned, dirt trails. What a novelty!
I do this ride all the time and I don’t remember the last time it was dry like this – probably back in November. And, alas, it is gone again for another who-knows-how-long, as the rain/sleet/snow has returned with a vengeance this week and all the trails are back to mud. 😦
I suppose Cumbrian weather (and the resulting trail conditions) act as a metaphor for life. You never know what will happen tomorrow or next week – you need to recognize the beauty of what is around you now and appreciate it, and take the opportunities in front of you. As in … if it’s dry or the sun is shining, get off your arse and get outside, because in Cumbria, it might just be snowing tomorrow! 🙂
Seriously though, I have been thinking about life and how easily one can get caught up in the trivial distractions of modern existence. I think a good (if slightly morbid) benchmark for reflection is thinking about death and regrets. If I am unhappy with something in my life, be it my job or the way I structure my time or my priorities, I think about it like this: what if I died tomorrow? Or at 30 years old? Or even when I’m 45 or 50? What would I look back on and regret having done/not done?
In all likelihood I wouldn’t look back and think, ‘oh yes, I definitely regret not working more!’, or ‘I wish I spent more time worrying about things I couldn’t change!’. I would more likely look back on my life and think, ‘that mountain biking adventure to the Chilcotins where my mates and I almost got stupidly lost was fucking amazing!’ … you get the idea. Times I definitely do not regret….
When I look back at the time thus far I have spent on this earth, the memories that resonate the most with me are the moments and experiences that connect with my priorities in life, those things that hold meaning for me. Things like spending time with my loved ones, being on my bicycle, being outside amongst the mountains and the trees, and in whatever way I can, contributing to a better world.
Time and time again, when reflecting on life and pondering my ‘next steps’, I think about these things that hold meaning for myself and use them as a guide. Make these meaningful things the focus of my life. This is not just important to avoid having regrets in ten, twenty, forty years time … but also because, life – just like dry trails and sunny skies – is fleeting. It comes and goes in a flash. So take opportunities when they come, seize the life you want to live for yourself, and – for gods sake- get out on the bike when the weather is brilliant! (…. and, even when it’s not 🙂 ).
That’s enough sappy life reflection for one evening – good night, all.