Monday, 22 April 2013

Mondays, Metiers and marginal gains

It's Monday morning and the world is sad. On the metro people look at their feet and shuffle along. The cafe seems a little less busy and somehow the sun a little less bright. Monday is when the world gets up to an alarm, makes a unsatisfactory sandwich, puts on an itchy jacket and goes back to work. That is apart from the miniscule part of the world that spent Saturday and Sunday galavanting about in lycra and has allotted to spend Monday recovering from excessive amounts of exercise.

Before you get all angry at me lording it up on Monday morning without a care in my little world please consider that on Friday night (when you were no doubt down at Dino's bar and grille) i was tucked up all on my Tod catching 40 winks in order to be up on Saturday in time for a disappointingly slow bunch ride. On Sunday morning i forewent the temptations of chocolate con churros in order to enjoy the tribulations of 5 hours with 3 sst blocks.

Nonetheless i enjoyed my weekend. the sun shone, Catalonia was beautiful. Sure, at points my lungs hurt and this morning's trip back up the steps to my house was completed at a pretty geriatric speed due to most of my anatomy feeling like it had been beaten with a rod but at no point on Saturday or Sunday did I look the people in the metro do on Monday morning. I simply cannot imagine doing a job i hate 5 days a week and spending the other two days moaning about it. I can't see there being any wage which would convince me otherwise.

At the risk of sounding like a Disney character, it's all too easy not to look around you every day and see how beautiful the world is. The little things which can make your day a little bit better sum together to make your life that little bit happier. But only if you let them (it's those marginal gains again), you could walk right past a beautiful view, a great piece of street art or a conversation waiting to happen. Today i spent 3 hours talking to a 75 year old man. Admittedly that means i got bugger all done at the archive, but i'll have more time at the archive. I might never see him again and through talking to him I learned a lot, when someone who has been alive 300% as long as you is willing to sit down and banter about the quality of coffee in Italy and  Vietnam, the evolution of romance languages from Latin and the cause of the obseity epedemic you owe it yourself to listen. Toni turned out to be a bit of a legend, but i want to write about that later.

I've been thinking a lot today as i went through my rest day things; making soup, cleaning bikes, buying a HUGE jar of honey (which looks like something a brain gets stored in in films) and staging my annual attempt to encourage kombucha to grow in my kitchen ( i have great success with less desirable fungi). Yesterday a guy whom i rode with in the winter of 2011 was struck by a porsche being driven by a driver under the influence of Cocaine. I wanted to write about that and be angry but I decided that wouldn't really solve anything, There are very few people who would argue that the driver wasn't a massive dickhead, i'm not really going to stop anyone coking and driving. If you're the sort of tosser who does that you're not reading this you're too busy snorting enough money to feed a family. So rather than being sad i decided to place my focus on being happy.

It's cliche to day that every day could be our last and i don't think you should live like that (for a start Imagine the chaos it would cause when all the shops sold out of chocolate). To me the thought that your last day should be any more or less enjoyable than any other day reflects badly on your life choices up to that point. You can't make up for a dull life with a great day. Surely we should focus on extracting as much enjoyment and beauty out of every day as we can. I like taking photos and writing things, not to show off how fu**ing awesome my life may or may not be (thanks for that facebook message by the way) but to share with everyone that there's nothing remarkable required to enjoy every day.

Being a bike racer is great, being a historian is wonderful. I get a lot of time to myself and to think but, in both cases it's only good if you can enjoy the process and not focus on the goals. I've smashed myself into enough pieces on bike to know that, if i focus only on winning then i crash, i'll get pretty down. If you can enjoy every kilometer, fly down every descent, appreciate every snippet of birdsong when you roll past and smile every time you catch 3 feet of air off a speedbump then winning doesn't get worse, but the day to day, the metier if you will, becomes a lot better. So go and smile at someone on the metro

Also, if you've enjoyed anything i have written, please take the time to click across to AYUDA and drop a few pennies in the Jar. it's good for your soul and someone else's health


  1. Ah James, good blog - just what I needed when I was feeling glum at having a boring day - brought a smile to my face & made me remember that actually I had been lucky enough to get out on my bike earlier & it hadn't actually been all work after all :-)

    1. Thanks Tracy, Always happy to help where I can :)

  2. I thought as I was riding along that sometimes it feels like a job, but it's a cool job

    1. it's the long rides on your own when two people you know have died riding in the last 3 days that feel like a session in self psycho analysis which are less cool