Rescuing the motorcycle with the bike.
My personal cycling life has been in a severe depression the last few months. Probably since my Dad Died I think. Don't get me wrong, I have loved doing the rides with my sons, and I think I am getting closer to finding good ways to motivate my oldest daughter without getting really frustrated from the whining. One of the greatest regrets of my life is not keeping up on cycling with her and I don't think it is too late, but it will be a hard road to getting her in shape and excited to cycle again. That's not what this post is about though.
I have been in a bicycle depression. I have not been commuting by bike, I have not been able to train since riding with my kids is not fast enough to challenge me unless I am towing my youngest on the trail a bike. I maintained my commitment to support the August Brevet but I did not want to be there. Whether it is jealousy or something else, I kind of resent that whole deal as it is not a part of my life right now and it feels like there is a piece missing. I have been suffering a bit feeling that my fitness is falling. Stumbling upon a youtube video that showed me topping the hill on Shea during the Tour de Phoenix pains me as I know I was about as close as you can get to Platinum shape without being platinum. My time would have got me platinum last year. At the time I knew it would be my last hurrah for awhile in the back of my head.
I believe it is worth it in the long run to spend the time getting my kids up to speed on cycling and that I am investing in something that will pay off big in the long run. It hurts right now to miss that other part of me though. I do think I am slowly getting back a bit. I rode my bike to vote earlier this week, and I also rode my bike to pick up my motorcycle where I had left it after I fixed the flat our van had and drove it home (the bike rack I built for the Motorcycle needs a few refinements but it works so far). I am starting to get motivated to squeeze in some bicycle time for me when I can. I think I am adjusting at long last and I do not resent my bicycle anymore.
I got a bit of a chance to escape this morning though as the boys need a rest day before Saturday (at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). I asked my wife if she could get the kids to school while I take an hour ride and she said yes. So, after I downed a few pieces of toast and a glass of water, I tucked a few CO2 cartridges and my lipstick pump (my backup, too small to get the tire to full pressure but enough to get me out of a situation) in my seatpack, pumped up the tires, searched for my sunglasses, remembered to put my contacts in, strapped my helmet on, and left. Of course I was not out the door when I wanted too but seeing as I was at work by a quarter after nine it worked out.
It has been weeks, if not months, since I was able to open up the engine and let loose. By the time I was out of the neighborhood I was steaming along like a charger with a lion at his heels. Gingerly I took the turn lanes and worked my way up towards Usery mountain. I was going uphill but stayed above 15mph. I was a spirit set free from a thousand nights of darkness. I could feel my breath start to accelerate the further I got up the hill but I did not slow, I had a moment of freedom and was not going to squander a second. I could ride slow with the kids and would get more of that than I needed, now was the time to release, to push the envelope, to see what was lying dormant beneath weeks of repression and depression.
Turning up towards the pass I move in front of a racer in full kit further down the road. knowing I am a cyclist on the physical rocks, I expect him to blow by me but I wait, and wait, and after a surprisingly long time he passes me before we get to the stoplight where I catch him again. He turns. I am hurting but I hit the hill and though I slow somewhat I am still thrusting every last ounce I have into it.
I turn down McDowell and force myself along with the same intensity as I accelerate up to 30mph. Halfway down the hill I fly by the racer who is spinning down the hill, likely resting between intervals. I don't care, I am riding my own ride and what a ride it is. I have a tailwind but the wind is strong in my face as I pedal down the hill. Turning on to Power I find I am at 17.6 mph for an average and I know I can push it over 18 before I get home.
I squeeze the speed out despite the stoplights which are determined to box me back up. I am cruising at 25 mph between lights and as I pull into our neighborhood I have averaged 18.3 mph having climbed 450 feet over 16 miles. Were I to be able to sustain that I would have gold at El Tour, but I have not trained the distance, nor is it my goal at this time. I am content. I will ride El Tour, albeit 40 miles, but it will not be for me but for my sons and their goals. I will enjoy it. I am greatly relieved to know I have not lost everything for my sacrifices. Things are well today. Someday it will likely be my sons and daughter pulling me.