Owen and I went on an 18 mile ride yesterday to the nearby town of Lonsdale. It’s a decent ride with moderate hills and long stretches of flat. Owen’s ridden the route before but it was a first time for me and I always get a little anxious when we tackle a new stretch of road. On top of that, I hadn’t ridden in several days because of the weather and because I needed to give my body a rest.
I don’t know what a normal ride is for other bicyclists (the ones I see all look like they are having a good time of things). Owen doesn’t seem to be bothered by much of anything when he’s riding. He always in a happy place, it seems, says he’s having fun and tells me that he thinks of nothing but riding when he’s on his bike. I wish I had his brain sometimes. Mine doesn’t quit. Ever. Even when I’m asleep. There are moments when I’m riding when I am able to concentrate on just riding but most of the time my mind is going every which way and it often works against me, especially when I’m pushing my limits, especially when I’m trying something new.
I envy Owen and his able to focus and have fun on his rides. I want to get to that place where I’m concentrating and having fun on my bike but I’m so not there yet. I wonder, will I be able to focus on my riding with more practice? Will I be able to settle in and concentrating on, say, the hill ahead as I get more confident with my riding skills? I really wish I knew because right now I’m at the stage when I just want someone to hold my hand and tell me that I’m doing okay.
But no one is here to hold my hand and I need both for riding anyway. So for now I keep riding and do the best I can to think happy thoughts as I work towards the goal of biking bliss.
And now, just in case you wanted to know, here’s what it’s like to be inside my busy mind on a bike ride. Ready? Here we go...
Mile 0 - In the driveway. Excited to ride but also kind of nervous because I haven’t ridden in days. Mount my bike, clip in and take off with a smile on my face
Mile .5 - Happy that I have on my new Pearl Izumi Left and Right socks because they don’t have that extra sock fabric around my little toes so I’m not wiggling them as I ride.
Mile 1 - Dang, my crotch hurts even though I adjusted my saddle. Why, after 200 miles with the same saddle and shorts am I starting to have soreness issues?
Mile 1.5 - Dang, now my wrist hurts because I think saddle adjustment is putting too much pressure on my arms.
Miles 2 to 3 - cried for at least a mile because I hurt, because I didn’t feel capable, because I wanted someone to tell me things would be okay, because I wanted to quit.
Mile 3.1 - decided to keep going.
Mile 4 - managed The Big Hill quite well.
Mile 6 - hit a new-to-me road with some trepidation.
Mile 6.1 - hated the body-jarring cracks on the new-to-me road.
Mile 6.2 - stopped to check on a funny noise somewhere on bike’s front end.
Mile 6.3 - stopped again to switch my water bottles, figuring the big one was making the funny noise in the bottle cage.
Mile 6.5 - stopped to take off my jacket sleeves because I’m too hot.
Mile 6.6 - felt bad because frequent stops were ruining Owen’s average speed. Average didn’t matter to me at this point, I just wanted to finish.
Mile 6.8 - had a moment when drafting behind Owen felt easy and everything was good.
Mile 8 - arrived in Lonsdale. Realized it takes about 8 miles for me to settle down and really concentrate on riding my bike.
Mile 8 to 9 - meandered through town in search of a restroom. Found one at the ballpark and felt good for a moment because a ballplayer smiled at me. Felt remotely good looking at that moment (see Biking Babes discussion on www.lovingthebike.com for context).
Mile 9 - headed home feeling pretty positive about the trip home.
Mile 10 - saw someone mowing their lawn and wanted to get home and drive my lawn tractor. Or maybe do some weeding. Or go out to eat dinner.
Mile 11 - realized funny front end noise on bike is gone. Maybe it was the bike bottle. Or something that fell off along the road.
Mile 12 - drafted within inches of Owen’s wheel. Feeling competent and like hot biking babe now.
Mile 13 - freaking big hill. Am breathing hard. No longer feel like hot biking babe.
MIle 14 - saw another person mowing and really want to get home and mow or maybe get out my chainsaw and demolish something. Or both. Intermittent saddle soreness. Frustrated.
Mile 15 - figured I deserved chocolate for my bicycling efforts so asked Owen if he bought some when he got groceries. He didn’t. I started thinking about some other suitable reward. Like wine. A whole bottle.
Mile 16 - went really, really, fast down The Big Hill, about 30 mph! I am bicycling goddess!
Mile 17 to 18 - The home stretch. Feeling pretty good at this point though very slow and tired and somewhat sore. Still, I just rode 18 miles. I’m happy I did it. I’m happy I’m done.