It’s a familiar feeling to anyone on a bike!
Initially within the safety of the bunch. The general ebb and flow of riders. You drift effortlessly forwards, following the right line, easing onto the right wheel. Life is good. You relax and allow yourself to slowly sink to the back of the bunch, before recycling yourself forwards again.
Never allow yourself too far back or you risk making life difficult. Too long at the front uses just as much energy. This is where you want to be in training or if you’re working for someone else.
On a good day, time in the bunch is sweet. Distances are covered easily. Conversation flows and it feels good. It makes riding a bike such a joy.
Dropped on the other hand is agony. Moving forwards becomes harder, more difficult, too difficult…
You fixate on the wheel in front. Nothing else matters. Your pedalling becomes more and more ragged. You need to sprint, just to keep in contact with that single wheel. The sprints become harder and harder. More and more ragged until eventually you are riding flat out and the wheel begins to inch away. You know that it’s inevitable now. You play tricks with yourself, convincing yourself that you can hold the wheel. Eek out a little more shelter, recover ever so slightly and begin to move forwards again. A slight change of wind direction, slight easing of the gradient, slight slowing of the bunch and you’ll be OK.
But you’re not!
Dropped is no place to be…
The heartbreak as the commissaire’s car eases alongside you, window slowly lowered just enough to tell you that you’re on your own, before surging forwards and leaving you to your own devices on the open road.
Rarely is ‘dropped’ a good thing to be. This was a first! My pain relief was dropped. Just as when your legs (or your head) start to blow, you can feel it coming on, so it has been with the cocktail of drugs I’d found myself on. I’d gradually eased off them, eventually accepting the inevitable: that they weren’t going to be part of my recovery going forwards. Accepting that I wasn’t going to need any of it, not even on a bad day was quite a step. Finally delivering them to our local chemist was an even bigger step.
In the end the response was as underwhelming as the surge of a commissaire’s car. What seemed far too dangerous to keep at home was simply placed on the counter. No forms to sign, no explanation needed, just a simple “Thanks.”