Seasonally Affective Despondency

Andy is haunted by the spirit of despondency

For reasons best known to my inner self, my motivation to train and ride cyclocross this season has deserted me. The effects of an injury sustained late this summer were swept away by a glorious four-day tour in Shropshire, so why the malaise and feelings of guilt?

Well, reading the news articles detailing the achievements of a certain Sir Chris Hoy haven’t helped. If anything, they highlight the extraordinary determination and resolve that someone of his calibre must possess and which I, sadly lack. It is all to easy to jump in the car or take the train if the weather looks grim or you’re simply not in the mood and easier still to go out on Sunday just for an hour, ignoring the racing calendar.

What is it that makes people like Hoy bounce back, not just from injury but the euphoria and adrenalin rush of winning three Olympic golds? There would appear to be nothing left to achieve; how easy must it be to say; “that‘s it, job done, time now to rest on one’s laurels and bathe in the glory”?

Perhaps one key to this puzzle is the injury itself. Perhaps it is what provides the drive and willpower to return. Certainly in cases like that of the Australian sprinter Anna Meares, who broke her neck and was given little chance of riding again, one might imagine the case for unfinished business is the catalyst, but for Sir Chris and his injuries the opposite could have applied.

Here was the perfect excuse to retire at the top. But the inner steel Sir Stephen Regrave required to win five golds at five Olympics is the domain of a chosen few, so let’s stick to our mortal level and consider winning anything just once. And, if you have done so, the phrase ‘one hit wonder’ is perversely often used as term of disrespect, ignoring completely the sacrifices and hard work needed to achieve just that one career win.

So there you have it, no wonder motivation is so hard to come by at times. Maybe it is easier just to go out for a potter. After all, its tough enough just thinking about racing.  

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