Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nice ride


After pondering my experience on the Midnight Century for the last week, I've come to the conclusion that it was about the lamest ride I've taken in a long, long time. I had psyched myself out of the ride a few days before the event by resigning myself to the idea that since I'd not been riding much, the MC would just suck.

That's no way to prepare for a ride. Even if I had maintained the same training schedule of beer and no riding, at least I could've approached it with a better mental attitude. And I did try that. But not that hard. My thinking was just that I would back off and enjoy the ride, no matter how long it took me. But I just couldn't back off. So I pushed too hard. And I didn't enjoy it in either case.

Until this year, the MC is the highlight ride of the year for me. Ever since finishing it the first time four years ago with Jake and Jonathon -- which was a fricking awesome ride -- I decided to make the MC my centerpiece ride of the year. I think that meant: be in good shape and go fast and enjoy it. But really, it should mean: be in good-enough shape, find your pack of friends that are riding a good pace, and enjoy it.

In any case, my miserable experience with the MC last Saturday night has left me with an undercurrent of frustration around riding, which quickly descends into angst, since I barely have any identity outside of riding. Aside from a couple trips to the store and downtown, I've not really ridden a bike much in the last week.

I begrudgingly took a ride this morning and was surprised to find how much I really enjoyed it. I took a nice 30 mile spin with some moderate climbs and good gravel roads and the more I rode, the more I enjoyed it. I went alone and I went at a pace that made me happy, which I think has evolved over the years to something that *just* gets my heart rate going -- and then I maintain that -- with pushes on the hills to maintain cadence.

When I got back into cycling years ago as an adult, the part of cycling I loved was just getting somewhere. Look at the first year or so of posts on this blog -- that was the tail end of those years -- I'd pack all sorts of shit on my bike and just set off and tool around. It was nice. But since then, I've found a lot of joy in learning how to climb and how to descend at speed and how to really push myself. And though I've never been at all competitive in any of the racing I've done, it's super easy to get carried away with the performance part of cycling.

There's a balance for me: by being fit enough to hang with the faster people I like to ride with, I can thoroughly enjoy any of the riding that I've done in the past. Right now, I'm too beered up and rivered out to be at that place, but as the daily commute winds back up soon, and summer mode burns off, I'll be back to where I want to be.


Jonathan Eberly said...

Great post. It really connects with me. For some reason this summer, it has been real hard for me to just get out on my bike. Maybe it was the move, stress, or just hating the heat, but lately I've been riding again and really just enjoying the process.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

"...beered up and rivered out..."

Sounds like you have the makin's of a T-shirt, tattoo or country song!

Pondero said...

Struck a chord with the search for the balance between fitness and fun concept. Don't sweat the adjustments, I guess.

Jonathan Hawkins said...

Hey John, we should debrief on KCT. Have some invaluable and painfully won info. 951-3330