At the height of the cycling season my bike feels like an extension of my body; everything is fluid and symmetrical and in sync. Mindlessly, I dodge through corners; going where I will without thought. I am completely relaxed on the bike; even at full exertion.
Now, as I begin training again after a lengthy rest, this is no longer the case. I feel awkward and stretched out as I ride. Pedalling feels ungainly and after a couple of hours I start to develop little niggles in my back and my knees. Riding through the city, I am cautious; my nerves are blunt and dodging through traffic and taking corners on leaf covered sidewalks at full speed no longer feels natural.
It will take time. I am starting slowly now; riding for only a couple of hours per day and enjoying the fall colours at a leisurely pace. Inevitably my volume will increase, my pace will ratchet up, and I will bring myself back up to a form where riding is blissful and movement is free. It is a process but it is one that satisfies; it is hard work but the end that I strive towards is ethereal.