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”