The Creaking Chair - Part XXIV


14th October 1949

Habits form due to practice 
but hobbies are not developed; it’s like having a feeling where they call to you
that’s what I believe 
have you ever heard someone say, I am on a 21 day course to develop a hobby ! 
And there is no specific time when a hobby may prop its lure in your head 
and the trigger can be many
for me my charm for cycling is one of those hobbies which happened to me

I am not yet a professional level cyclist 
but glad I am getting good day by day 
today is special because I hit the 100 Km mark for the first time 
And when I sat to write about it I realized the strongest impressions were of the last mile
The last 10 Km gives you all kind of sensations 
I am not even getting into the famed last mile stretch that the marathoners feel 
thankfully, I did not feel any of those life changing, hard hitting epiphanies 
or the absolute struggles of thinking how would I finish this infinite last stretch 
to be frank, I don’t think I had the feeling that I would give up

For me, the emotions were more of a memory reel
drawing parallels to some of the most esoteric experiences of my life 
the wind rustling through your ears inside the helmet reminded me
of listening to Opera music when I am trying to concentrate 
Also this was the stretch which I enjoyed the most because I was not concentrating on the miles covered anymore
I was looking at the scenery around, the trees and the hues of the sky
Guess because I had finally accepted that I would end up finishing my 100 Km & not give up
the weight of self expectation had gone down & I started to look at it as a joy rather than a task

There was also a bit of palpable anxiety in my throat and stomach 
don’t think it’s weird when I don’t say anxiety in the heart, this is on purpose
this was more of a nervous enthusiasm mixed with a sense of fear 
think of a countryside in wales or Scotland 
now imagine that you had a wonderful day ling drive enjoying the beauty of nature, 
the sunshine, the warm mist of a evening pregnant with laughter of your beloved besides you 
this was the feeling which you get post such a day when twilight settles
and you have reached a plateau overlooking a valley with an orange hued sunset 
that feeling of how fast the day has gone, warming your heart for what a wonderful time it was 
and that nostalgia already settling in making you fear the end of the evening – the moment sun would drop into oblivion in a few moments

Cycling is also dichotomous in that sense 
when you are in the act, you are concentrating on completing the next km & then the km in an infinite loop 
you would feel the troubles of your daily life, would be lost because your entire focus is on ensuring you reach the finish line 
but once you start enjoying the process, you reach a meditative stage 
when you start to reflect on life as your brain sending reminders to you to keep a track on the kms to go from time to time 

~ Ashk

P.S. – The feeling that came to me when I crossed the 100 Km line was that of being in my school Chemistry lab performing salt detection test and the colour changed in the beaker changed to yellow !!

P.P.S. – I need to gather my thoughts more around how does it feel for the first 90 km as well for a complete memoir

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