I've never been much of an athlete. Left to my own devices my activity levels resemble that of a cat's. Finding a sunspot and staying there all day with a novel is an excellent use of time in my opinion. Leaving said sunspot should only be for the purposes of making more tea or sourcing food. At school I spent more time with my nose in a book than on a playing field. Half-hearted sporting attempts were along the lines of gossiping by the netball goalposts with the other team's Goal Defence, having been selected for the position of Keeper myself not through skill, but height. The one and only time I have been skiing my feet didn't move from the snow plough position for a week and even then I still managed to career too quickly down a green run headlong into an angry German resulting in a nosebleed (my own), profanities (his) and a fairly humiliating trip the wrong way down the ski lift because of busted ligaments in my thigh.
Since meeting AM however, I have come to find myself, bewildered, on the side of craggy mountains, jogging in the snow, and today, perched atop a road bike, clad head to toe in Decathlon lycra, ready to enjoy the delights of cycling. Despite laughter from friends who know more about the sport than me (read: everything) when I told them what we were planning, what I hadn't counted on was adjusting to the shoes that AM had insisted I buy in order to become a 'proper' cyclist. Normal trainers on normal pedals apparently would not do. Adorning my feet in their place were what appeared to be shiny go-faster sports shoes, but what were actually instruments of humiliation and fear. Once clipped in (I believe the correct term is cleated but it feels wrong to use the correct terms until I have stopped being a complete girl about it all) setting off and coming to a stop without falling sideways into a hedge or onto a grass verge is what one needs to achieve. Unsurprisingly, over our hour long excursion I achieved the exact opposite and ended up in a limb-splayed heap. Three times. Then cried and told AM in no uncertain terms what I thought of the shoes he'd chosen for me and of cycling in general, had a bit more of a strop for a few minutes and then fell silent, while he patiently waited, offered words of encouragement then taught me a few balancing techniques, declared that I had done very well and maybe that was enough for today and should we go home and have sandwiches and tea?
While the kettle boiled I examined my knee grazes with a mixture of pride and dismay at the knowledge that I would have to do it all again on our next trip out. Tomorrow we watch the professionals do it in Liege. I will be brimming with more admiration than before today.