Manufactured Pressure

I’ve written before about the technique of riding successfully on windy days: go out into the wind so you have a headwind when you’re strongest, a tailwind when you’re weary. Today, for reasons of road-works and holiday traffic I ended up doing that in reverse, with – yet again – an unseasonably strong wind blowing.

The theory is valid; the last third was a real slog. The first third was a tail wind – nice. The second third was a more-or-less favourable cross-wind – not too bad but mind the gusts. The final third was just grim.

I suppose I’ll begrudgingly agree that there’s some kind of grim satisfaction in testing a theory and finding it valid. I think, on the day, I’d have been happier to find empiricism failing.

I was supposed to be out riding with a friend but he couldn’t make it. No big deal; I’m happy riding on my own. He couldn’t make it because, basically, the rest of day-to-day life was overtaking him – he had too much to do to take a time-out to ride. Not major, one-off, special stuff to do, just the run of the mill. We’ve all been there.

I struggle with the issue though: the fact that pretty well everyone I know laments not having enough time, at time going by too quickly, at never getting enough done. I do too.

I don’t know what’s going on. Perhaps it’s a simple product of getting older, an increasing awareness of mortality and the need to fit everything in before it’s too late. Perhaps it’s a product of too much opportunity and all that nonsense pressure to do more: ‘101 whatevers to do before you die’. That’s the sales pitch. The extent to which it even begins to teeter on being realistic is something else entirely.

Perhaps I’d be more accurate if I said time-pressure comes from the myth of all these opportunities and the perception that we should all be ticking off all these things. No-one is happy with all that pressure, yet it is merely manufactured pressure – there to be ignored.