Some days, I’m very happy for a coastable drivetrain and a multitude of gears. I knew Monday would be bad, but even yesterday, my legs ached and bitched most of the way to work and back. All because of the phone call I got on Sunday.
“Hey! Where are you?”
It was a trick question really. It was my wife. And there was really only one reason the question was being posed - because I was not where I should have been.
Y’see, cycling is one of those things which tends to dislodge me from linear time. During brevets, there have been hours of purgatory which only took a couple of minutes. Minutes of tricky, technical descents which took merely seconds.
What tricked me is that the usual direction is towards expansion. Like yoga, acting or meditation, you seem to find the time within the seconds to observe, ponder and react. You see the way a hawk tweaks its tail before changing direction, how a bee scrambles to stay attached to the fabric of your jersey before releasing and disappearing aft. There have been distinct moments when my front wheel slid out on loose trails, and somehow I sat back, looked up, picked up the front of my bike, lofted the front wheel and brought everything back upright. A quick flick of the second hand that took minutes.
Occasionally though, it works the other way.
“We need to leave in about thirty minutes.”
Now, that couldn’t be right, thought I. Somehow, I’d lost an hour out on the breezy, sunny Sunday right. I’d swooped the trails and hummed over the roadways. I’d enjoyed a double espresso while watching sailboats navigate the Racoon Straits. There had been plenty o’ time to spare the whole day.
But, as Peter Sellers once observed, “Nit Anymere…”
From where I was, still climbing the tail end of Camino Alto, it was a 45 minute ride to get home, via the MDR*.
“I’ll be there in about 30.”
Rolled up the gear on the Quickbeam, used every trick I knew and made every light except one. And just to toot my own horn, I rolled up to the porch 31 minutes later. Showered like there was water rationing and was dressed and ready in record time. I wasn’t particularly popular for a while, but we did arrive on time, at least. Though I think it might have taken another hour before my heart rate dropped back down. Really hadn’t planned on Beryl Burtoning my way home, and things were stiffening up as we sat through the play that evening.
Monday’s commute? Well, as I mentioned, tiny gears and seated, easy pedaling. Goddess, I was sore.
And yesterday? Hit the first climb and my ox-brain let me shift up and come out of the saddle.
Uh. No. That h’ain’t a-gonna work. Big gear, meet burning thighs. Eased up and sat down, finding a gear that worked a bit better. But clunky with a capital “K”… Yoga helped last night, so we’ll see how things are today.
*MDR = “Most Direct Route”
Curious danged thing… I seem to be poaching a ride that didn’t cost any money, doesn’t offer any t-shirts, waterbottles, commemorative tchotchkys, low-rez/ill-lighted photos with an annoying watermark posted to a website or even an official rest stop. Couldn’t be happier.
I think the first place I noticed it was via perennially pleased Harry H, who can reliably be found at RBWHQ&L on Saturdays. He of the alliterative moniker had mentioned something about the “April Challenge” over at 30DaysOfBiking.com. 30 Rides in 30 Days. Hashtag it on your twitter feed. Any distance counted - the idea was just to get up, get out and ride. Sounded like fun, but was attached to the interwebs by the historic computer, so decided to remember to sign up when I was using the newer appliance.
Which of course I promptly forgot until reading Kent P’s post, at which point it was April 1st. And the 30DaysOfBiking site no longer allowed people to sign up. Which kind of sucked. I mean, I could see cutting it off at midnight on April 1st, since if you hadn’t ridden by then, you really couldn’t do the program. But, I had and was just trying to join the gang to celebrate spring, riding, feeling good and life.
Well, mostly, I’m just trying to do small, insignificant things in a methodical and steady manner, trusting in momentum. But, I think that’s a bigger thought than I can address right now.
Anyway, the good news is that the 30DaysOfBiking site seems to be scooping up the #30daysofbiking tag regardless of whether you have signed up. Which means that my sub-parenthetical utterings are dropping into the stream. Which means I’m poaching the ride…
A dismal success?
I don’t know, that’s what it felt like this past month. Dismal in the beginning, successful towards the end. As mentioned last month, I knew that Jan/Feb were going to be impossible for free time and energy. Mentally ready for a slowish start to the year, the nasty flu/infection kind of blindsided me. In the last week of February, it felt like a cold coming on, then just rooted itself into my brain and ate all of my energy. A solid three weeks of no extra energy and certainly no riding.
And the weather helped by remained cold and rainy for most of it. Which I guess is not as bad as looking out the window at gorgeous riding conditions. But, to paraphrase my old rowing coach, “…cycling is an outdoor sport” and since most of my bikes are rigged appropriately for changing conditions, it’s really hard to say that there’s “riding weather”. There’s glorious and easy days out in the sun and there’s hard and challenging days which make for great stories. But I digress…
The first week riding, I was pretty wiped out after four easyish commutes, and opted for naps and recovery on the weekend., and then, with the first day of spring, strung together a consistent run except for one day when I needed to be behind the mic in the middle of the day. The second half of the month I rode 14 days out of 18, managed to get back to my yoga classes and in general came back to life. And just to show how much Nature appreciated that, she even deigned to bring the sun out with Monday’s ride.
By the end of the week, I engaged in two rides whilst wearing shorts. While shocking and unsettling to any onlookers who may have observed the pallor of my gams, it nonetheless felt grand.
March Mileage - 184
2011 Bikey Miles - 598