I woke up Monday morning and knew I was in trouble… Sunday’s Assenmacher 100 pre-ride took a lot out of me. I really had to work and my legs we’re feeling sluggish from all of the hard miles and an utter disregard for taking time off.
Tuesday night’s club ride was rough. I was able to muscle it out but I was hurting. Bad. I didn’t know how I was going to recover for the actual Assenmacher 100 this coming Sunday and we’ll do that century 10 to 20% faster than we did the pre-ride. I had ridden 30 of the last 30 days and averaged almost 34 miles a day during that stretch.
For the first time this season, I questioned whether I’d be able to get through a ride. I’d felt this before. It was “tired”.
I thought about taking a few days off but poo-poo’ed that. I rode Wednesday, just 16 miles and took a little more than an hour to do it. A minute more. My legs hurt, I could still feel the remnants of the cramping from last Sunday and the club ride.
Thursday was exactly the same, just two minutes faster. Even that was work. How could that be?! Tuesday’s ride was almost 22 and we did the pre-ride century at 20. Dammit, I’m a fast guy! Maybe trying to go 30 for 30 wasn’t such a great idea.
Then Friday. I had a supplier golf outing and we were supposed to get some heavy weather in the afternoon, so maybe I could just take Friday off. Maybe?
I have to be very careful at these outings. There’s obviously a lot of drinking and cigars… Dozens and dozens of them. I once loved cigars, and my drinking history is well documented on this page. Hanging around that mess isn’t always easy. One of the three I was golfing with was absolutely hammered. The other two were drinking, but fairly responsibly…and one was smoking cigars. Ah well, that stuff isn’t for me anymore, though I can have my misery back whenever I want. All I have to do is take a drink and watch my life head straight down the drain.
When I got home it was 87 degrees (F) and rising… And sunny, no sign of a storm. I suited up and prepared for another hour-long sixteen miles. Three quarters of a mile in and I was pushing 19, easy. Must be the wind at my back. Hang a left, second mile at 19.5. Third at 20.5, fourth at 20… Then I headed back west… 22.5 and I was barely breathing heavy. I thought, “Now that’s more like it!”
I ended up with my foot on the neck of my enthusiasm and slowed it down to a reasonable 18-20 mph and just let my legs spin freely – to save it for Sunday, but I was super fired up that my legs finally came back. Responsiveness was back, no pain, no hesitation, no tiredness, just lots of “go” in them. In one day I went from worried about being able to keep up on Sunday, to excited to get it done. By the time I pulled into my driveway the clouds were building and darkening. Halfway through dinner the skies opened up and it rained cats and dogs for about twenty minutes.
If I needed anything it was that ride. Not only for Sunday, but gave me an hour to get my head straight again.
Sometimes I hate being a recovering drunk. People offered me drinks all day long and I turned every last one down. I had to. I know me and what happens when one drop crosses my lips. It sparks an obsession, a craving, that I absolutely cannot control. I am utterly powerless. Fair or not, it is what it is and given the choice, I’ll take this over cancer any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Still, sometimes it’s tough to control my emotions and thoughts – it’s easy to feel like a social pariah because I can’t accept a drink. In the end though, I have to keep my melon committee focused on what’s important, because whining about being a drunk isn’t going to change the fact that I am.
My wife and kids, riding a bike, my business… I will give up everything good in my life to chase the escape of being drunk. This is the definition of powerlessness. In fact, one of the most brutal aspects of alcoholism is that it won’t just kill you. First it takes away everything that’s worthwhile in life and leaves you a shell of a human being.
Finally, for the “sexy legs”… That’s just what happens when you ride a thousand miles a month and eat well. 33 days and counting. 1,063 miles, and I’ll be getting at least 20 more today and a hundred tomorrow. No hill for a mountain climber.