The Distance Diaries: Part Three

The Reawakening

Long-distance riding offers more time for reflection than any other discipline in the sport. ‘The Distance Diaries’ is a series of journals penned anonymously by a randonneur who, kept from the sport he loves by a hip injury, is now preparing to undergo surgery.

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I fell asleep in the MRI. I guess I was scared. Scared of the premature babies. Of the woman in the waiting room who, minus her jaundice glow, reminded me of my Grandma. Scared there would be nothing wrong with me, that it had all been some internal lie. Scared for all of us and our fragile futures – wishing none of us were here.

The technician suggested I bring music, advising some people dislike the isolation of the machine. Being alone for so long can be quite overwhelming, they say. When it comes to filling empty spaces, I’m looking to master the craft. The idea of some medical attention gave me a mental spring in my step and I allowed myself to see in poetry again.

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I thought about serendipitous synchronicity – that alignment of movement present in the every day. As if rhythm were to pass a hook through time and snare moments together. I see it everywhere. Two cyclists riding alongside each other. They oscillate in their symmetry. For moments their cadences match and one is the perfect reflection of the other, before briefly pulling away and becoming their own person again. A sip of water, a yawn, a song in the head.

I thought about circuit training and how the gyrating limbs look like a wind farm. How as the staccato beat of footsteps on floorboards starts to fatigue, it sounds like the patter of rain. How we orbit our apparatus like wild comets that sweat. Exhausted we fumble, touching tails, colliding in a sedate supernova.

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All of this deep pondering of reason and connections – increasing with scale in either direction, enlarged or dwarfed, but always returning to infinity – the end point of even the greatest conceptual giants. And me. Asleep, in a machine made possible through space travel – the exploration of the infinite mass; extending externally, while I’m viewed internally. More symmetry, snared in the hook of rhythm and time.

I never used to be scared about seeing medical professionals, no matter who they were. Part of me would fantasize that they’d find something on a scan, some glowing light right at the centre of me, only visible on the x-ray, or observable after a lifetime of medical training. And they would look at me and say, “You are truly special – you have what it takes”. And I would believe them. Instead they found a tear in the cartilage of my hip, likely caused by some impact with the head of my femur, which was misshapen by genetics. I guess that will do.

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The hospital has the best cakes. I’ve been sampling the selection, one per visit. The brownies are like an apology. I wonder if they were under any other roof, would they still taste as sweet. Outside the atmosphere’s swollen with summer, everywhere people are wading through the air. The birds amass on power lines, one by one they plunge to the ground like a dripping tap. Light cuts neat divisions through the car park and I suddenly miss my camera.

Nothing’s changed, but the world is starting to feel different.

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The Distance Diaries: Part Five

The Other Side

Long-distance riding offers more time for reflection than any other discipline in the sport. ‘The Distance Diaries’ is a series of journals penned anonymously by a randonneur who, now on the other side of corrective hip surgery, is battling with re-entry into the sport he loves. 

The Distance Diaries: Part Four

The Summit

Long-distance riding offers more time for reflection than any other discipline in the sport. ‘The Distance Diaries’ is a series of journals penned anonymously by a randonneur kept from the sport he loves by a hip injury. In this installment, he reflects on his recent operation and the long road to recovery.

The Distance Diaries: Part Two

Limbo

Long-distance riding offers more time for reflection than any other discipline in the sport. ‘The Distance Diaries’ is a series of journals penned anonymously by a randonneur and, a few months on from the first entry, our rider laments a long-term injury, and the mental challenge of being in limbo.

The Distance Diaries: Part One

Letting Go

Long-distance riding offers more time for reflection than any other discipline in the sport. ‘The Distance Diaries’ is a series of journals penned anonymously by a randonneur and this, the first in the series, is a revealing and personal tale of the obsession behind distance.