Open Goal

For the statistically unfulfilled, there’s a whole demographic of fun* trapped in the Mountain Biking bell curve. Mostly – if the bottom half of the Internet is to be believed** peopled by tubby  middle-aged IT middle managers tediously offsetting a lack of talent and self awareness with expensive wheeled trinkets and DEFCON 1 keyboard warfare.

If you can stay their delusion for long enough to understand their motivation, there will be the trumpeting of how – this year – peaks of awesomeness will be scaled, journeys of a thousand miles shall start with a decent Pinot, and anyway they’ve barely time to waste their time with you because riding bikes is far more important. As soon as they’ve shut down this browser and levered their hippopotamus arse off the sofa.. My good mate and proper writer Dave Barter injects a healthy dose of realism into such aspirations by declaring a strong desire to be ‘a little bit less shit’

For all my predictable digs at fat people who wear Rapha XXL without a hint of irony, this is more than a little displacement activity.  And I’ve quite a bit to displace with six months of nightly self medication poorly mixed with zero motivation to ride in the rain. Anyone spending summer in the UK would simply translate that to not riding very much at all.  My daily diet of stress, angst, bacon sandwiches, lunchtime pizza and evening wine decimation had the predictable effect of adding a chunk of midriff that has become sentient in its’ fear of mirrors and scales.

No matter, New Year is a perfect time for resolutions or ‘goal setting’ as we IT middle managers pretentiously label it. We’ve all been on those courses where some failed hippy in a suit encourages us to visualise our goals and find expression for our dreams. When asked to ‘share my progress with the group’ I tend to go all Yorkshire and declare my dream is this fucking toe curling embarrassment is going to end soon so my goal of being the first in the bar can be enacted.

Apparently I’m missing the point. But so are they; goal setting for the genealogically lazy scores a similar success profile to slamming open the door, pointing accusingly at the sky and screaming ‘will you stop bloody raining?‘.   The only way the insufficiently motivated amongst us can get anything done is to breezily declare, to those responsible for paying wages, that great things of a  somewhat nebulous (but great don’t forget that bit) shall be brought forth through a maelstrom of fervent creation Monday week.

Which gives us ample time to stare out of the window, ponder blank documents, consult with our colleagues in an off-site location that may serve something stronger than horrible coffee before sitting on our hands until Sunday Night. At which point the terror-of-being-found-out fires up the crucible of dubious content and the thing hits the deadline still steamingly warm from the printer.

So faced with suffering nonsense of modified lifestyles, hurty no-fun exercise and moderation of everything which staves off the grim in the pursuit of some fanciful outcome many months away, I toast it with a large glass and instead get back to my alchematic research transforming lettuce into bacon. And that’s worked superbly well right upon to the point when – through half closed eyes behind steepled hands – the they-cannot-lie digital scales punched a blow in my flabby solar plexus that read 83.5 kg.

It may have added ‘one at at time‘ as well – I knownot having stumbled off the scales in search of a some reassurance. Maybe in the form of a chocolate biscuit. In old money that’s 3/4 of a stone of fat when compared to my Pre-Mayhem fighting weight.  This clearly calls for action even for a man with a mission to single handedly ensure the financial health of Herefordshire’s finest fish’n’chip emporiums.

I’ve not really had a love handle to grab hold of – should you be in the perilous predicament of being asked to do so – in 45 bloody years and I’ll be buggered*** if such horrors shall be dragged about for the remains of my existence. So we need a plan which is like a goal but without committing to anything. Before we decide what’s in, let’s be clear what’s out; body Nazism in some sweaty exercise room with misery for company. My current place of employment has a fantastic Gym on site, entirely without cost but heavily laden with guilt. Honestly, just No. I’d rather run up and down the stairs or beat my head against repeatedly the desk both of which are available activities on my employers time.

I could ride to work. Except it is 100k. A. Day. In winter. I’m nowhere near enough nails for that. Come BST I’ll give it a crack, but 9 hours in the office and 5 more on the bike makes me reconsider the calorific value of buggery.  Sure I’ll ride my bikes a bit more but that isn’t going to shift a chunk of chunk. So if we’re not going to be throwing more out, we’d best stop stuffing it in. I’ve moved on from buggery by the way in case that sentence was in any way ambivalent.

Technology offers a solution through the hateful App cheerfully named ‘myfitnesspal‘. Really the developers missed a trick here not calling it somewhat more truthfully ‘get the fuck away from the pie you fat bastard’. The genius of this on screen demon is doubling up your guilt when eating something vaguely pleasurable by insisting you record its calorific value. At the end of which, claxons sound, alarms bray and colours flash to explain you’re exactly one doughnut from certain heart disease and trousers sown from a pair of windsocks.

It’s free of course. Because only a fucking masochistic mentalist would pay real money for it. I suppose 1800 calories day is doable if you’ve no interest in joy entering your life for a few months. Assuming you don’t wish to drink anything other than the stuff fish shag in. So it’s back to no beer in the week, salad not sausages, counting calories not cakes.  And deciding twice the misery could halve the time to endure it, three proper sporting events loom worryingly large in the diary; the wentwood 50,   the illegally painful FoD Spring Classic,  and to start the Dyfi Winter Warmer. Winter warmer my arse, more chance of drowning or frostbite. Fairly sure all competitors will be forced to dress like Captain Oats.

So if you notice a darkening tone to the hedgehog and a few clicks on the grumpiness ratchet be not surprised. Not tonight tho, because Friday night is the weekend and I’ve broken out the grape based therapy. I’m sure the App will have something to say about that, but this is not an issue I have to deal with right now as – due to hunger pangs –  I’ve eaten the phone.

* for a given value of fun

** if I have one new years resolution, it is to PUT THE COMPUTER DOWN and walk away from the Internet. You’d have thought 8 hours sat in front of the bloody thing would have sated my desire to attempt communication with those rocking ‘the dummies guide to grammar and logic‘.

*** Maybe not that. Even a spinning class would be preferable.

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