Einstein may have said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. The internet seems fairly clear on the attribution, but the internet also thinks that it was Marco Simoncelli who said “you live more in five minutes on a bike like this than some people do in a lifetime” when I’m pretty sure that was Burt Munro, or at least, Antony Hopkins as Burt Munro in The World’s Fastest Indian.
I am on holiday. Holidays are for having fun and trying new things, so I have booked two days of off-road training with the very lovely Jim Bryant of Enhanced Riding.
Readers with long memories will recall that 4 years ago I booked two days of off-road training with the BMW Off-Road Experience.
I didn’t enjoy that terribly much.
I hoped this time would be different.
I want to take part in the VINCE next year, riding the trails in the Spanish mountains. I want to go on social rides with my local TRF branch, who organise regular outings as far afield as Devon and the Peak District.
Group training gets away from me very quickly – my learning curve is more of a flat line – so I thought that learning on my own would get me started and soon I would be trundling round the dirt with grace and power.
But of course, that was bonkers.
“Why are you so hard on yourself?” asked Jim.
Because ten-year olds can do this. To get used to the bike, Jim asked me to make a big figure of eight – left round a tree, down a gentle slope, right round another tree, back to the first tree and repeat. Four hours later I’m still trying to manage the left turn. On day 2 I could do it sitting down but couldn’t persuade myself to stand on the pegs, which is also bonkers because I was quite happy last week standing up on the lanes behind my house. We never got onto riding up and down slopes or bumping over obstacles.
I hate myself on days like this. It is, I think, a mental block. People talk about having a mental block when they can’t think of a name, or find their keys. This is something different, a huge, visceral, and absolute refusal.
Turn the bars and look where you want to go.
Stand on the pegs so we can do this properly.
It is my mind, it belongs to me, and yet it will not do what I want it to do.
This is disappointing.