Mud is an inescapable feature of winter cycling. So after a heavy morning’s rainfall the nearby lanes were awash with mud mixed with a gentle hint of cow manure running off from the fields and farms. The roads smell of manure, and my bike and I now stink heartily of manure too. I’m glad I didn’t drink from my water bottle.
My lungs really felt the icy northerly wind as I gasped my way up some of the local gradients and as the sun went down I was glad to be heading homeward for a hot shower and a cup of Bovril.
Absent from my handlebars today was my Garmin GPS unit. I’ve become increasingly aware of the extent to which my riding has become completely Stravafied. Instead of just enjoying the scenery and the sensation of speeding along, I’m running through my mental map of all the local Strava segments and getting anxious: Am I pushing enough here? My average speed is dropping off. I’m slightly adrift of my PR. And so on, and so on.
Strava is a great tool and has helped me improve my riding a great deal but cycling is about so much more than the drudgery of stats, segments, and the faux-professionalism of the “athletes” who take it a little too seriously. For my own part, I want to look where I’m going and stop watching the speedo on my Garmin. I’m still logging my miles for posterity, but the GPS stays firmly in the saddlebag until I get home.