I don't know where defeat comes from but I do know that is doesn't appear at the moment you stop peddling, or indeed in the moments leading up to it. It is born hours or perhaps even days before and it is sly and elusive - it doesn't come with a shout and a jeer but rather with a mutter, a whisper - a soft goading voice barely audible for the noise of dreams and of living. By the time the group met for a ride this morning I was already uncomfortably aware and resentful that I wouldn't be able to make it; I'd rehearsed endless failure during the night; visualising other riders riding away from me, feeling the weight of leaden legs and bursting lungs  and worst of all, staring up the near vertical hills that I knew I couldn't climb; all this, long before the first birds had chorused the day. Where did it come from this spoiler and how did it gain such credence? I suppose I may never know but I would like to be able to deal with it or at least control and minimise its effects. I set off on a ride today with a body that could do what was asked and a mind that refused to ask, so I ended up cutting short a ride that I badly needed and 'bottling out'.

This thing has happened many times before to varying degrees, most notably on a climb out of Askrigg on the 'Firkin Challenge', it's an easy climb, and it is short but inexplicably my head has said NO twice now and it has become a bete noir. I guess everyone suffers from this phenomenon at times? FUCK IT!

Where to now?