Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Brevet Dreams/Nightmares?

With the week of the Mines to Pines 300k here I have started to have brevet dreams. These are the dreams where you stay in some control too long looking for something, you take a wrong turn, you have to go back for something. You name it, it can happen in a brevet dream. I have not dreamed I forgot my clothes on a brevet though thankfully (you know the showing up to school/work and discovering things are a bit breezy below dream). Last night I was trying to find a control in the middle of an urban alley (must be a throw back from when we met at the alley in Casa Grande, though that was hardly urban). At the previous control I kept discovering something wrong when I got ready to set out and had to go back and by the time I finished everyone was gone. At another point in the dream it was dark and I had hoped to finish before sunset. I don't think I have ever had a brevet dream where I finished at the head of the pack in record time. I suppose it might be a defense mechanism so I am sure I will be all setup when the day arrives. Kind of like dreaming you missed an appointment and the relief you have when you wake up and get there on time thanks to the anxiety your dream created. One thing the dreams all have in common is frustration and hopelessness. Fortunately, most brevets you can muddle your way through despite what dreams say. Perhaps it is the body preparing for the stress a ride like this places on it. Perhaps it is the insecurities one feels before an enormous task which is laid before them. Perhaps it is our secret fear of the unknown manifesting itself. The fear that this ride might be different somehow. That we might not meet the challenge. That forces beyond our control will stop us in our tracks. Perhaps it is a combination of all these. In any case, come Saturday we shall see what is to be feared, and what is to be conquered, or perhaps both.

1 comment:

Bruce's Bike Blog said...


It is the brain trying to preserve itself—it is an evolutionary trick/dilemma that we must face as ultra riders. We are still Pleistocene humans (late-stage ice age humans) and we are designed to run, travel, explore—move. Our brain is much like a couch potato in that it tells the body, “hey, you’ve been in the saddle an awful long time—you know, you should quit because it’s gonna hurt soooo much. Anyway, you can’t do it… Better stop now. Hey look, there’s a DQ! Ice Cream” The selfish brain wants to be happy and not have to work and manage the pistons, pulleys, and the heating and cooling of the body.

But when it has too, the brain can force the body to take on incredible obstacles, turning on and off pain, fatigue, and hunger.

Your dreams are your brain trying to sort out what it’s about to be asked to do—and why you’re asleep, it is working away on how to undermine your attempt at this brevet.

He’ll come along, but reluctantly!

Cheers! Bruce