At GrassupthemiddleCC HQ (the bench) yesterday morning, it was suggested that we need more ‘high brow, cerebral’ blog posts on the website, so I’m not sure how I’m going to fill that brief here, but let’s see where it takes us…
One of my favourite podcasts is BBC Radio 4’s ‘Don’t tell me the score’ where Simon Mundie interviews a range of guests to find out what we can learn from sport that we can then use in life to help us get more of what we want. On Saturday I listened to a great episode with former New Zealand All Black and mental health champion Sir John Kirwan, who, after experiencing severe anxiety and depression, was sharing his top tips on how to move from surviving to thriving.
He focused on self care and stressed the importance of taking time out for us, and suggests we should all switch off from our busy lives and reboot at least 6/7 times a day. For him, it is having a shower, a cup of coffee, playing his guitar or just staring out the window. During these times, he focuses on being mindful, and notices when he gets distracted and brings his focus back to the activity at hand. That is mindfulness in a nutshell. Took me a while to understand this. It’s just noticing when I’ve got distracted and bring it back to the present moment. Takes constant practice!
Yesterday’s 60 miler with Graham in the lanes and tracks of Cheshire gave me numerous opportunities to switch off and reboot. But like anyone, I get distracted by unhelpful thoughts that take me back into the past or forward into the future and I am developing the skill of noticing when I’ve been distracted and can bring myself back to the present moment.
Yesterday was a really lovely day on the bike. An early coffee with the GUTM gang at Riverside Coffee which has great coffee and lovely staff (I think Paul’s got an addiction to their custard Danish selection!) Empty trails and great conversation helped the time fly by as we pedalled to HQ, to continue the catch up. Time off the bike and yapping is an essential part of any GUTM ride and we probably spend equal time sitting and riding. While some had to head back home, Graham and I headed toward’s Pickmere Lake, following quiet country lanes bathed in beautiful sunshine. Cheshire reminds me so much of my home county of Norfolk. A whole network of interconnecting quiet lanes, beautiful trees, flora and fauna that make cycling so much fun.
As it was the weekend, and the sun was out, the lake was busy so we kept our distance, watching the open water swimmers and paddle boarders from a far. But it looked beautiful and will definitely revisit when less populated. A quick maintenance and shop stop and then off to hunt for ice cream in Great Budworth which was well worth the wait. Covid ready with a bike park full to the brim, it was lovely to chill out on the grass and enjoy a delicious cone.
Lots of lycra on show today, and great to see so many people out on their bikes and in the cafe but as a grass up the middler, it’s great to go into an eatery without your bits on show. Never a good look!
We swung by Tattonia on the way back and then headed back to Stretford via the gravel trails around Carrington Estate which included an overgrown detour and a Brooks saddle malfunction that saw a saddle bag become a bar bag!
After spending Saturday in the apartment, when I was definitely spending a lot of time over thinking and inner chattering it was great to be out in the fresh air, cycling with great company and trying to be in the moment as much as possible. Did I get distracted and moan and get annoyed? Of course. I find it nigh on impossible to not rant at 4×4 drivers, especially Range Rover clones! (‘Why do you need a car that big?!’) But the more I practice noticing, I can refocus and come back to the present and look for more of the lovely stuff, of which there was plenty on show today!
Tune in, Turn off, Reboot…with GUTM CC 🙂
Don’t tell me the score
Mental Health – Sir John Kirwan
Words and pictures -Kevin House