Last week was a roller coaster of a week for me on the bike. While it was sunny off an on, it was still dang cold. I put in a decent amount of miles — getting out every other day, which is pretty good for me, especially in February. And still I can’t say all of them were great miles. Some were downright ugly. Some took an awful lot of work when they shouldn’t have. It didn’t help that Heidi and Russell were both tweeting and twittering away about sunscreen, carbon fiber, hot days and cold pools, endless miles of Arizon roads, and man servants waiting on them hand and foot. Since I was riding solo each of those days, I had a lot of time to think about important things….
On one day, when it was still cold after the first 15 miles or so, I considered just turning back and calling it good. Then I remembered something that has come to mind a couple times in the past month or so. Zohra, the yoga instructor where my wife and I have been put through the wringer once or twice, challenged us to find “the edge” in those tricky poses. Find that place where you normally are willing to call it quits, drop your leg back to the floor, or release your arms from their shaky position, and hold on just a bit longer. Push yourself to go out just a bit further, and eventually the edge gets further out.
I was thinking, “today, this is the edge…there’s no one here to tell me to keep going, it’s cold, and I’m not having any fun.” And I thought I’d go another few miles and see. Pretty soon I’d hit around 30 miles and finally felt warmed up. The soreness in my shoulders had released and I was feeling great, and went for a bit longer. I’m not sure how much longer as the battery on my Edge (ha! no pun intended) died, but it turned out to be a decent ride after all.
On another day, I pulled into Willamette Mission park after 12 miles or so and my legs were dead. I had no idea how they could be dead already. I was on the Cinelli for the first time in months, and I typically feel faster on it, so maybe I gave it all too soon and wasn’t paying attention. I also had only been averaging about 4 hours of sleep the whole week, and that probably coudln’t help, but no matter…I was feeling way too tired.
I pulled off at the park and walked the bike around for a bit. Drank a little, ate a couple bites, and looked out over the water for a few. Still nothing really kicking in as far as a second wind. “Man, I’m a weanie,” I thought to myself, and realized I just had to get on, and cruise back home. I did just that. Wrapped up a little over 20 miles, feeling like I had never ridden any distance to speak of whatsoever in my life prior to that ride. “I should go back to a comfort bike, cruising around the neighborhood in khakis and a sun hat.”
On Saturday, I was hoping to get out and ride again. I had also been instructed by Pat and Ellen to pick up some supplies for my cross bike. (More about Pat, Ellen, and some other riders in a fun announcement to come very soon.) Yes, it’s a long way to cross season, but I’m going to do whatever I can to be a very well prepared beginner so I don’t die a painful AND embarrassing death my first time out. Training is on NOW. When I rolled out of bed, my daughter needed to get to the doctor for a sinus infection, and the morning looked ugly and cold. “Maybe I won’t ride and give myself a break,” remembering how ugly the last experience had been. Still tired and maybe fighting off a bit of a cold, I started reasoning that maybe I’d take the weekend off and regroup and feel better on Monday.
As I’m thinking this, my mail lights up and Pat asks if I’m riding today. Thinking he has some sort of mind melding powers locking into my wussification for the day I let him know that I’m planning on it, but not until after I get back from a trip to Dallas and the doctor. If he wants to ride around mid-day I say, I’m open. As it turns out, I think we both probably needed a little motivation to get out. I can’t speak 100% for Pat, but the sun finally peeking through around 1:00 was the final push to get me out the door.
After riding out to my place, we take off and roll out on a very familiar Windsor Island track. We chat along the whole way, not breaking any land speed records, and me hoping I’m not dragging Pat down too much at my tempo. At each intersection I ask which way he wants to go, and spout out my knowledge of the distance we’ll be going with each decision. That’s the geek in me. Pats out to ride, and I’m collecting data. Gotta get back, log miles, record info, blah blah blah.
We knock out around 25 miles, talking pretty much the whole time. I learn a few things — about gear, riding, cross and just the rider I’m with. And the ride is over before I know it. I wonder, “why don’t I do this more often…ride with other folks?” Oh yeah, my schedule is wacky and I’m the impulsive rider guy. Still, this motivation of someone else getting me out, and occupying that space and time next to me on the road…I think I could really get into that. I’m sure of it. Just like when James dragged my lazy butt out of bed a few weeks ago on a cold morning…yeah, exact same thing.
It’s not anyone else’s job to pull my lazy butt around the roads so I’ll have motivation to ride…but it sure does help when someone else wants to join in the game. The great news is this year is already bringing plenty of opportunities to share the effort with other riders…I’m getting pretty excited about the days ahead! Bring on the rain, I think I’m even getting out today…putting those Michelin Muds to good use with a little off road.
Oh, and after reading Heidi’s report today, yeah, I’m totally a wuss…..