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Willing Oneself to Finish the Ride. In or Out, There is Little Room for Gray.


A small group of us rode almost 72 miles yesterday, in 3:45:20…  that’s a shade better than 19 miles per hour.  The first 65 were easy.  At no time in that first 3 hours and change did I struggle to keep pace.  I rode that ride with a smile on my face and thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

That last seven miles, however, was brutal.  I went from positive, happy-go-lucky to “Holy crap, can I crawl home?!” seemingly at the flip of a switch.  We only stopped once, about 42 miles in, for a quick restroom/bottle of Coke/Payday break and that was part of the issue.

We went out, into the wind expecting it to push us home. We were not so lucky. The wind shifted on us shortly after we turned for home.

So we cross over 60 miles and I’m still good but I can feel my energy flagging. I decided to push through it rather than fire down a Gu. Sure enough, that was a mistake. Two miles later, my legs hurt, my back hurt, and my butt was more than a little honked off. Should have had that Gu.

Not only that, traffic was getting thick and with a big crosswind, we were all eating it.

Now here’s some context… Next Saturday I’ve got my first century of the year. Not only that, we’ve got some mountain climbs in that one. If I’m struggling on 70…? I played the mind game for a mile.

“I should just sit up.” “I’m just tired and hungry, we’ll be stopping every 20 miles next week so it’s no big deal if I sit up here and spin home.”

Instead, I put my head down, got down in the drops and told the committee to shut up and buckle up, it was about to get bumpy.

I made it back just fine and even started to feel quite a bit better in the last two miles.

All too often, my assessment of my condition on the bike, even after all of the miles (30,000+), is lacking. I have a lot more in me than I sometimes think when I’m in the middle of a grind.

Every now and again I have to will myself home. I have to grit my teeth, grip the drops and grind out some hard miles if I’m going to stay with my friends.

On the other hand, once I give up and leave the draft, there’s not much chance I’m getting back. There is no gray area. I’m either in or out.

Most days it’s not all that dramatic. I hammer that $#!+ out and it’s all good. Then there are days like yesterday, where I have to tell the committee to sit down, shut it and buckle up.

Everyone should be lucky enough to have my problems.

We’ve got 50 glorious miles on tap for today, on the tandem.

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2 Comments

  1. The unlikely runner says:

    Can’t all be good days. There’s always the ones that like to throw a little self doubt at you. Well done on getting through it.

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