The Saturday VC Revolution club ride takes in sweeping downhill pass at about 35 miles which is about as majestic as Essex gets .
(i.e. not very, but it’ll do).
This morning a speedy little downhill section left me feeling quite moved.
There the road curves gracefully down, with the estuary stretching into the distance ahead. It heads left through a fast sweeping bend and then up to a sneaky little uphill sprint before finally dropping down again into Mistley village.
There are less than 48 hours to go until ‘the big meet’ with my oncologist.
On Monday, he’ll tell me how much my tumour has grown over the last three months and will make an estimate about whether it has yet turned malignant.
He will advise me whether to begin radiotherapy now to shrink the tumour (it can never be cured) or to take another look in three or six months’ time.
With such a life changing event on the horizon, what was I doing riding my bike, grinning from ear to ear, taking in ecstatic gulps of sea air as I chased the back wheel of a guy I knew would eat me for breakfast once the sprint really started?
It’s about control.
I do not know when my brain tumour will turn malignant, but I do know it will. I don’t know how quickly I will deteriorate once it does, but I do know it will happen. I don’t know when the tumour will kill me, but I do know it will.
I have no control.
On the bike. On the road. I do.
I decide how fast to ride, and how far. I decide where to go and when. I can push it or take it easy. I can decide to go uphill. I can decide to go down. I can ride alone or with others.
It was on the sprint at Mistley, again with VC Revolution, that I had one of the first seizures I later discovered was caused by the brain tumour.
Three months on, and with the seizures now controlled by drugs, I can choose to go out with the same guys. I can choose to race with them up and down the same roads. I can choose to enjoy the same view.
It might not seem like much, but to have that little bit of self-determination in a future that has spun forever out of my control makes me extremely, ecstatically happy.