Day 2 to Coleford 77
We wake up where we went to sleep though having walked through a few acres of campsite to find a nice hidden spot, we discover we have also set up by a discreet back entrance, which, fortunately, given the preponderance of cows, is a cow proof gate. Our payless escape would therefore be made much easier were it not for the rough equivalence in size between our fully laden bikes and a calf. Calves after all, being rebellious youth, are the most immediate targets for cow proof gates. We fret for a while, concerned that escaping via the awkward entrance will take us entirely off the map. In reality this train of thought is just our arm muscles taking hold and finding the prospect of reaching into our wallets for money to pay a less strenuous proposition than lifting bikes loaded with tents, wet clothes, mixed nuts, cans of tuna, gas canisters, renegade slugs and squashed bananas. They do make specialist banana cases for cyclists, but I was naively underprepared. They make them breathable as well, so the poor banana doesn’t have to suffer while in transportation, this would be in direct contravention of European Law.
The question of optimism versus pessimism finds itself in my head as I slowly drift down the hill after another uphill and before another uphill. Generally, I think of myself as having an optimistic mentality. That may just be an egoistic projection of what I'd like to be though. These hills are making me reconsider. When I take the optimistic approach and think to myself, and repeat, and mantricate that this hill is almost over, when the corner comes and reveals that the far edge of the road is still above my eyeline, I feel somewhat deflated. My pace slows, and thoughts like "well you’ve made it this far, you deserve a rest" begin to materialise, or rather idealise. However, when I adopt the pessimistic approach, and convince myself that I am in fact on a never ending hill, I am elated to suddenly find that my fears of eternal purgatory have been, at least temporarily, allayed. I conclude that contrary to the language that each of these mentalities is couched in, it is "I am on a never ending hill" which is actually the reflection of an optimistic outlook. "This hill is about to end" actually means that I don’t have belief in my ability to reach the top. "This is a never ending hill" by contrast signifies my commitment to continue pedalling and hence my self belief.