What else would you do? What else could you do? You’re riding your bike and you turn into the road that goes along the railway line. As you make the turn a train comes along, one of those long, long ones loaded with a gazillion tons of coal from out west. It’s going relatively slowly for a train, 30-35 kph, and you discover that you can just keep up with it if you go really hard. In fact, you could get to the end of this road, 2 k’s away, before the train passes you, if you maintain the effort.
No matter that you haven’t, for various reasons (or excuses), ridden the bike much in the last month. Discount the fact that this is not the beginning but the end of the ride, during which a fair bit of fuel has already been burned. Gloss over your brilliant idea that you really ought go to the gym today, but it’s such a beautiful day and a bike ride would be fantastic – wait, you could ride your bike to the gym, and throw in a loop through the dirt to add in a few extra k’s. Ignore the fact that you inadvisedly did a few sets of squats at the gym and your legs are jelly.
No, you’re a bloke, with an inner boy egging you on: “Race the train, race the train!” So you do what the pesky little kid is telling you, and bust a gut to stay with the train, which is of course unaware and unconcerned that a race is going on. You get to the end of the road where you have to turn off, still level with the train, and you just manage to gasp out a victorious “Yesss!”. The train rolls on oblivious to the fact that it has been bested.
You are, however, comprehensively buggered. For the rest of the day, which has a full agenda including lots of up and down ladders, you struggle.
What ought one to do? Act your age? Stop chasing some untouchable goal of being as tough as you used to be? Be sensible?
In the end, to the court of public opinion, you plead the usual defence. Boys will be boys. Of course you race the train. Even if it kills you. Even if you are 60. That’s what boys do.
(Image credit corbisimages.com)