On a journey such as this or life, it is perhaps difficult to know when or how to count oneself lucky or ill-placed in the favour of the gods.
The 'correct answer' for the power of positivity crowd is that one's automatic repose should be pure gratefulness for the gifts of the past and present, and that they are forever worthy of future benevolence. A cub scout cum army type would drench you in aphorisms of preparedness producing luck or material in a similar vein of impractical practicalities. A determined scientist and a devout mystic would perhaps point to determinism or fatalism respectively, and dispense with the indulgence of luck altogether.
None of this ran through my head when I found my frame sheared off at speed in rural Bulgaria.
Auspiciously, Plovdiv is the 2019 European City of Culture, testament to this were the new illuminations of the Roman hippodrome surviving underneath the city's high-street. A story beneath the lingerie shops, department stores, and mediocre Italian restaurants, lies an open excavation of the glitteringly preserved U-bend at the top of the course. Across the city, carved out of the rock-face and seeming to perch on the motorway beneath, is the ancient theatre of Philloupoliss. The 2000-seat theatre was only discovered in the 1970s after a rock-slide revealed the lip of row Z. Plovdiv's historical importance is not just confined to antiquity: it was central to the Bulgarian renaissance of the 19th century and the distinctive merchant villas in their Symmetrical Style portray this throughout the old town.
And so a half rest day was necessary to do both the city and myself justice, after my first Saturday night for several weeks was spent in deep and and increasingly drunken discussion with the Rajiv of Utrecht. The conversation had centered around his traditional and typically nationalist perspective of Modi's India; and a novel (to myself at least) Brahmin's defence of the caste system trumpeting the meritocracy, social mobility and inclusion of hierarchical system before the European malicious twisting of it along the principles of 'divide and rule'. Fascinating and for better or for worse not the view taught in Oxford's history department.
The afternoon was a long flat drag eastwards to the coast, trying to get myself as close to Burgas as possible. On such days I tend to open a tele-centre of calls to long-lost friends and long-worrying family, nattering is an effective stiffness and pain relief. Whittling the hours and distance away, my darling Aslita started to dance and shake her hips slightly more than usual on the bends and under braking. I ignored this, and I assumed I had only noticed now because of the monotony of this stretch of road. When the bike switched from salsa and full Beyonce twerking, I acted decisively and shifted the bag of carrots and pot noodles from the front pannier to the back - blaming weight distribution.
The hips still didn't lie, and from the saddle I started to google possible causes. Weight distribution was the only concern of all posts on the forum, until one said 'not to worry you unnecessarily... but check the down tube (part of the main bike frame at the front at about 45*) for damage, that can sometimes be the issue. Still whilst peddling, I reached down and ran my fingers slowly down the tube. I felt the crack in my heart before I felt it with my fingers, and a bitter grin appeared before anger or despair could contort my face. I pulled over, saw the split running around 80% of the tube, and the small new aluminum lip of lady luck smiling at me malignantly in the sunlight.