I’m in a very weird place this last week. Times are great for getting work, I have a lot of business, but I’m a lot short on manpower. In fact, it’s one of those, “it’s never easy” periods in my life. Of course, I could whine about how difficult things are, go out on a prodigious bender to escape, flushing twenty-two years of sobriety down the toilet (the escape is what most drunks chase, usually to their demise)… I could, but that would be stupid because any idiot who has tried that in the past can tell you that it doesn’t work. Believe me, I used to be one of those idiots. In fact, the drunk approach makes everything harder and worse – every time. It’s that simple.
So, I can’t curl up in a ball and suck on my thumb or I can’t suck on a bottle of whiskey, ending up curled in a ball, sucking on my thumb. What to do, what to do!
Look, in context my problems are really quite awesome. I’d choose mine over another’s problems nine-point-nine times out of ten. Even so, once in a while I need to take an hour to step back and change my perspective and to do that I go for a bike ride. Sometimes it’s an escape, if only for an hour. Others, it’s just a way to stop thinking for a minute so I can come back with a fresh perspective. Either way, a bike ride is an opportunity to break some endorphins out of their cage and that’s always a good thing.
The prodigals at the Weather Channel were calling for a pretty crappy day – warm, but rainy. When I got to the office (around 6:15 – I had to meet one of my guys) it was foggy, misty and just plain ugly. By the time the afternoon rolled around, I’d had enough, I was beat down. Long about three in the afternoon, the rain stopped abruptly and the sky started to clear. By 3:30, the sun was breaking through the clouds and I didn’t care that it was supposed to be a rest day. I packed up my computer, completed a few last-minute tasks and got my butt out the door. I pulled into the driveway close to 4:30, unpacked the car and headed straight for my bike clothes. It was warm compared to the last month, in the high 40’s and the wind was blowing like crazy but I didn’t care, I figured I’d take it really slow and call it a recovery ride. The goal was to take a full hour to do my normal 16 mile route.
Into the 20 mph west wind, keeping my tempo down wasn’t too difficult, in fact I even managed to keep a lid on my warmth-and sun-charged enthusiasm with the crosswind, only hitting between 15 and 18 mph depending on headwind or crosswind. I did get into trouble about nine miles in when I finally had a little help… With the wind at my back I turned up the heat a little bit, ranging from 24-27 mph… There’s just something about a tailwind when I’m on a bike – comparing it to something illicit wouldn’t do it justice, but suffice it to say, I can’t control myself.
I pulled into the driveway with a couple of minutes to spare but in truth, I was a lot closer to that hour than I figured I would be when I clipped in. That ride was exactly what I needed to get back to a place where I could be proactive rather than reactive. I had a nice dinner with my family, watched a few minutes of TV and then enjoyed one more advantage of daily bike rides – I slept like a baby. Today is a new day and I’ve got what it takes to do what needs be done and I will… Then I’ll go for another ride this evening – whether I need it or not.