Monday, 14 May 2012

Bikes and Blues.....

Over the years my main musical interest has been 'The Blues' - the 60's bands, Zeppelin, Free, Groundhogs, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Chickenshack et al sparked my interest and from there I travelled along a continuing path of discovery, exploring the original source material, which continues to this day.

What's this got to do with cycling??

Well, there is a story relating to a famous blues singer and guitarist called Robert Johnson. He, above most of the other blues artists of the early 20th century, displayed a combination of guitar skills and songwriting prowess that have influenced many, many later generations of musicians. The interesting part though is the shadowy legend that has grown, along with his reputation, over the years. From all accounts Johnson was an average performer, one of many itinerants who played on street corners, juke joints and saturday night parties. Johnson disappeared from the music scene for a while - when he returned, he was the most accomplished musician anyone had ever seen. The legend is that he was 'instructed' to take his guitar to a crossroads at midnight. There he was met by the devil who, in a Faustian pact, exchanged amazing guitar and songwriting abilities...... for Johnson's soul.

The reason I mention this is because I think something similar has happened to Gary.

We went out together recently and chose a particularly tough, hilly route. It's been a while since we had done anything similar. We travelled along at a reasonable pace passing through Ashby de la Zouch and turning towards Ticknall, there was a few short stinging hills and then the long drop down into the village. Onwards towards Melbourne and a particularly nasty 11% climb towards Lount.

As I laboured slowly up this climb, suddenly, with muscles coiled like springs and lungs like Hades' bellows, Gary shot past - and I mean shot - not just gradually moving forward - he went flying past in a quite superb display of raw power - within seconds he was 100 yards ahead. It was impressive to say the least. Soon after that we turned right towards Staunton Harold. Now we had to climb Pistern Hills - a horrible climb and best avoided in my opinion. Same again - only this time Gary set off well in advance, stamping on the pedals. He's pushing a big, big gear and doing it easily - meantime it feels like I'm rolling backwards - I'm struggling even with my lowest gears; breathing heavily, legs feeling like they've been pierced with burning needles. And on it went for the rest of the ride. Each hill we approached Gary would bounce away like a mountain goat.

And so it occurred to me; he's been out with his bike at midnight and sold his soul to the devil - and in return he is able to cycle effortlessly up steep hills. So dear reader, I've decided to auction my own soul to the devil or the highest bidder. What can you expect if you win? - I have no idea. You can't see it or anything. But I suppose you could keep it in a jar or something. Anyway the bidding starts now. Good luck. And if you win, once I've received the cash plus £2 for P&P, I'll send it to you in a jiffy bag.

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