A Suitcase of Excuses

I think that it was Paul Sherwen who said something along the lines of ‘he’s going to have to dig deep into his suitcase of courage’ when referring to a rider on the Tour de France several years ago. I don’t have a suitcase of courage myself, more of a small seat pack perhaps, but I do boast a fine collection of excuses, probably a suitcase full in fact. After no riding at all for about a month due to snow and lethargy I have found myself reaching into this suitcase to fumble around for a credible reason for my slow pace, sorry did I say credible?

Anyway try these for size:

  • Man flu (Cold)
  • Stiff legs
  • Virus
  • Over training
  • Under training
  • Square bearing in hubs and bottom bracket (I’m sure these exist)
  • Bad knee
  • Low iron
  • Pot holes
  • Bone idle
  • Heavy bike
  • Lungs not big enough
  • Changeable wind
  • Friction
  • Gravity

And oh yes how can I forget… rubbing brake blocks

But it has been cold hasn’t it? So much so that even running has been difficult, and I haven’t been going very well at that either. I tried using the rubbing brake blocks excuse for my slow running then realised that it seemed a bit implausible so had to look for something else. That’s the problem with running, equipment based excuses are limited apart from ‘my lace came undone’ so you can only blame yourself, which is no good at all.

Going back to Sherwen’s quote, he usefully combines the suitcase with the other cycling staple that is always yelled from the sidelines ‘Digging in’. Whether you are doing a time trial, a road race or a hill climb people will always tell you to ‘dig in’ as though you are preparing for trench warfare. I would also bet that they shout it at cyclo cross events too, even though I have never done one. Why this should be peculiar to cycling I don’t know. I even find myself doing it, when marshalling for example. What should I say I think as a cyclist or cyclists approach, I probably run over several responses in my mind as I stand there before involuntarily yelling ‘dig in!’ as they go by. I think that it must be subconsciously implanted into our brains when we join a cycling club. Saying that, I’m not complaining as people used to aim other less encouraging comments in my direction when I used to play football.

When you actually think about it ‘digging in’ would not be a very good tactic for a cyclist to employ, it would only slow you down surely as it suggests that you want to entrench yourself, making yourself difficult to shift. ‘Float across the ground as though you are lighter than air’ could be an improvement, if a little more difficult to remember, no that wouldn’t work, I just couldn’t imagine Bryan Bevis shouting that out.

The one advantage of the cold and icy weather is that now it’s eased a little us cyclists seem to value the opportunity to get out on our bikes more, at least if the numbers getting out on the club runs are anything to go by. The talk is of events that we will do later in the year as we try to imagine clear spring days and warm summer evenings, all we need to do now is ride through the sludge on the road through February and March and get ourselves fit.

Paul Christon – February 2010

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Posted on February 7, 2010, in Article. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on A Suitcase of Excuses.

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