Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For Me Lately

I'm just going to let my fingers do the talking on this one. I want to tell you all about the ride I had this weekend that would quickly turn into one of those "Okay... but what have you done for me lately?" types of topics if I allow it to linger too far beyond tonight.

I didn't do this one alone. As it turns out, I wouldn't have thought to do this ride or put in the effort that I did without a training partner. And before you all think I'm about to get all bromantic here, it makes for a huge difference mentally to have someone suffering, questioning their existence, and able to help you along riding next to you (and sometimes in front). It is something I have not had in this particular fashion on the bike before and I believe it will make us both stronger because of it - we are pushing each other at our most vulnerable.

Now, I say that I wouldn't have thought to do this ride without someone suggesting we tick away at it because it's true. I'm a sucker for the same stuff. Same rides, same routes, same whatever I have to do to not get myself lost and feeling like a helpless puppy... you get it... I'm a sissy about some things. When an opportunity like this presents itself to me (i.e. someone else is navigating), I'm not going to back away without feeling like I'm taking something away from myself easily. That being said, limits are taken when the legs aren't there or when the weather turns way too sour for a quality ride to be had and I could just ride my trainer for proper fitness and not cycling equipment testing.

That being said, when the esteemed weather-folk give us the "sunny skies in the middle-to-high 60s on Sunday" and things are actually "cloudy and fog all day with a chance of some rain for some of you with temperatures holding in the low-to-mid 50s"... don't you lie to me! Okay, we can't complain for the weather turning out that way in JANUARY, yet in principle no one appreciates feeling lied to when they plan their lives...

I'm going to go ahead and pump the brakes on my fingers here. The tangents are all generally understood.

Anyway, I wish I had brought my cameras. Filming on a day like this would have been amazing. What else do I have a weatherproof camera for!?!? Obviously, I'm kicking myself for not bringing it along as well as my new point-and-shoot for the gratuitous post-ride pictures. We were soaked, chilled, dirtied, tired, and in awe of the ride we had just experienced.

The Experience.

Have you ever ridden through and above a rain cloud before? This day's experience is one I do not think I will soon have again. Riding somewhere between where fog you drive through and the clouds you look up to - we rode into a rain cloud. Surely one has driven through this sort of thing, but there is hardly anything I can use to describe it when I was so intimately a part of it. 

You were not there feeling the pain through your body as lactic acid lit fire to every muscle sending your blood scour your lungs for every molecule of oxygen available. You were not battling kind of pain that makes your mind turn against you as a way to protect itself pleading for your submission. You were not wanting to quit like I was. I had forgotten this kind of suffering and how much it makes me love riding. 

For a moment we saw the sun this day. You did not.

In that moment of bright, blue, partly-cloudy skies we were reminded that everything experienced on this would be for the better in days to come. I know that some day ahead I will have the benefits of this day's suffering and feel stronger than everyone else around me... for a moment. The moment passes as the cold, wet fog engulfs us through another descent as we still have many miles yet to ride back.

And when it is all over with, it is a ride and experience like this that simply reminds me how lucky I am to continue suffering like I do for it. I know I am achieving no worldly "greatness," but in my own way I can say that I am able to experience more than so many others through my highs and lows on the bicycle. I ride for that pain and suffering to know my limits, and to push beyond them and my mind telling me to stop. Because sometimes its nice to feel that control where the rest of your world seems to dictate so much and hold you back.

Thanks for reading.

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