Yesterday was a very beautiful day and I decided to make a bicycle trip from my brothers house in Amsterdam to my parents in law in Zeewolde. And back of course. It was a considerable distance, 55 km one way! I started at 9:00 in the morning and an hour later I was already in the picturesque town of Muiden. I had a nice breeze pushing me and making the ride very nice. The sun was shining and I even took my jacket off since it was becoming too hot. One hour later I had crossed the town of Almere Haven and from that point on I had to follow the dike until I reached my destination. Very nice, water on one side with the sunlight reflecting in it and endless fields on the other side and a nice push from the wind in my back.
On the other had I realized what this wind in my back meant for the trip back… A lot of kilometers against the wind. After three hours I had again a short break and started to feel my legs and butt. The last half hour was tougher than the three hours before and I knew why! Not only physical strain but also my mind telling me I was almost there! I did some sf on that of course.
I ate a nice and healthy lunch at my parents in law and prepared myself for the trip back to Amsterdam. Since I knew the wind could be a problem on the long run I considered to eventually shorten my ride a bit by aiming at Almere and taking the train for the last 30 km.
It was very fascinating to see how the mind is working in situations of physical strain. It can be tempting to go in the mind by starting to have thoughts about anything so you do not have to be conscious all the time here and now facing the reality in which your physical body is undergoing physical stress. So I checked this point constantly to make sure I was not going in the mind. I saw myself projected in the future and saying to myself that in a short while I will be at my destination, something of any help to the actual situation I was living: move the pedals of the bicycle in a seemingly endless movement.
So, instead of giving the mind the opportunity to fuck me I started observing the scenario I was crossing. I started to see there was a lot to see indeed, even when just looking a few meters ahead while pushing hard against the wind. While riding on small secondary roads across farmers land I saw onions and potatoes that apparently dropped from a trailer. But most of all I saw an endless amount of plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags and other waste. I saw the waste along the side of the highway and that I could understand since it is commonly known that really anything is thrown from a car’s window. At least this rubbish is cleaned regularly. But where did all this rubbish along this small road come from I asked myself? Since it was mostly bottles and cans I guessed it was left there by the people working on the fields. Apparently they forgot that nobody is going to clean this on a regular base.
All this was quite shocking to me. Until now I had the opinion that a country like Italy was filthy with litter and rubbish to be found anywhere in nature. I never considered a country like The Netherlands could have the same issue. It has been a little different. Not so much the amount of people just throwing stuff anywhere but less cleaning is taking place here. The typical Dutch model of a welfare state that takes care of everything is fading since it is most probably unsustainable. I had to get rid of this opinion about the difference between the two countries.
While observing the road and the landscape I progressed slowly to my destination that seen the circumstances being a strong wind and painful legs that tended to go into a cramp if I pushed a little more was set to Almere so I could do the last bit by train. I continued to be challenged by the mind that was projecting myself at my brother’s place taking a nice hot shower and having a nice warm meal. At the same time I found out it was getting colder. Even in the train later I had the next challenge. Although I was sitting and relaxing I kept seeing myself having a shower and a meal until I started wondering if I had put the keys back in my bag after I used them at my parents in law’s house. Without these keys I was locked outside and would have to return to pick them up. A quick check in my bag was enough to see this was another mind fuck.
I monitored carefully the state of my body and did not push myself over the limit. Even though I still had enough strength in my legs to do another 30 km I had to consider the cramps and unnecessary muscle strain I would have regretted the next day. The result is that one day later I have no muscle pain and no extra fatigue even though I made a trip of 80 km in total. And my butt? No saddle pain either.