Training Tuesday December 8

It’s always fun to see the seasonal changes to these guys.

I wasn’t eager to get on the trail this ride though. Years back I was seeking marriage counseling. I said to the counselor “He says I’m thin skinned, but it doesn’t feel that way. I don’t really know how big these things actually are…” She opened her arms wide like those little figurines that say “I love you this much” and said “Huge, they’re huge.”. She told me that I needed to start feeling things, and to stop trying to think them away. Even after it was apparent that she thought my skin was too thick, it still took me quite some time to give up and move on. Life is a lot better now. But still, life deals you huge things to try to manage, even if all the people you choose to have in your life are kind and ernest.

I have so much to be grateful for and I’m very aware of that, but I’ve had a couple of weeks where “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get” is just one of the things riding me and I see that counselor in my mind with her hands stretched out wide. It’s been draining and I’ve been waiting for the big boohoo. There’s nothing like needing a cry that won’t quite come. It’s like you can’t even get that right. The day before yesterday one thing after another piled up, and I wanted to scream. Not that figure of speech “I wanted to scream”, but that “Please let me hold it in, or go someplace where no innocent bystanders will have to hear it” desperation. I managed to get out of the house to run some errands and breathe without any screams or tears.

The next day, yesterday, I got to ride, but I wanted a nap. I wanted to curl up in a blanket and think about nothing, then wake up hours (or days) later and have something warm to drink while thinking about nothing difficult. But, instead, I drove out to the trail and started to peddle. It took me half an hour to warm my muscles up enough to feel like I belonged anywhere other than bed. Just at that moment, right when I realized that I was feeling glad that I worked through it, I came up on a transmission line easement. Frequently the power lines in this easement buzz, but there was no noise this time. There were several birds in the grass beside the trail. They were Goldfinches, about a dozen of them I think. Did you know “The collective noun for a group of Goldfinches is a ‘charm’.”? I didn’t know that until I was looking it up to know how to write about them just now. I startled this charm of Goldfinches, and they flew away from me. But, flying away from me on the path was also flying in the same direction I was cycling, so for several yards, they were flying with me. I was charmed, and I had settled enough to appreciate it thoroughly. And, I thought, “That’s it. That’s what I want to capture for people. Those moments where something beautiful shows itself can be pretty far apart sometimes, but if the camera is always going, there will be a collection of them when I’m done.

I needed it. It felt like a watershed ride. My calm was back. The ride was at just the place in my riding schedule where if I had stayed home for that nap, it would have been so easy to slip back into fewer miles, and then slide on down to even fewer. But, what I did instead was go out and work through it, and while I was there, I found a beautiful reminder of the reason I was out there in the first place.

Training Tuesday August 25-31

Training Tuesday     August 25-31

Goal    67 miles, still shifting toward 2 longer rides

Actual Total 67.5 miles

Wednesday 26th, 24 miles

Thursday 27nd  14.5 miles

Saturday 29th 29 miles

I planned to go out on Tuesday the 25th, but there were heavy thundershowers all day. I was restless and ready to go. By the time Wednesday got here, I was dragging. Sometimes it’s difficult to sleep the night before a ride. I don’t know if it’s related, or just more irritating because I’m sensitive about being rested. I didn’t sleep much and was already dragging when I went out with little rest and a deadline for when I had to be home. I had hoped to stretch the longest rides longer in keeping with my goal to reduce the number of days I drive 97 miles, but on this first ride it became obvious that wasn’t happening this week.

The middle ride is where I put my added 10% of miles this week. I did that on the Greenway. More about that later.

The 29 mile trip this week was from Rockmart to Cedartown and back again, just like last week, except that we stuck an extra mile in there. Pirkle’s Deli saved my helmet for us and we came back with it hanging on handlebar. I think we handled the hills a little better this time, but we started late and I got overheated.

I’m looking at where I am in training and where Russ is. He’s building some of his cardio fitness running, and I think that will be ok in the end. I made goal, but mostly because I had a 3rd day riding in a location that makes me uncomfortable. I like riding 3 days for the distribution of heartbeats. It’s just the fossil fuels I’m burning and the pain in my pocketbook. I like riding in what used to be my go-to location. It’s a pretty winding streambed with good wildlife viewing. But, there’s always a bottle neck or 3 where people who are walking 2 or 3 abreast (or in even bigger family groups) meet other people walking 2 or 3 abreast in the other direction while cyclists allergic to braking enter the mess, as though they could just change states of matter and slide right on through. None of the people who fail to yield or walk single file are ever in the 1 or 2% who wear masks. Covid transmission is a lot less likely outdoors, but, if someone who’s sloughing contagion breathes on you in one of these bottlenecks, well, the damp humid Georgia air is going to transmit it better than any other kind of air, and there’s no way to plan for the traffic jam on a curvy, unevenly crowded path.

I’m looking for a better riding mask solution (sewing project on the way), but that’s still something that protects other people from anything I might have much better than it protects me from them. It’s the people who don’t think about others who have the habits that make them more likely to be contagious and transmitting. Every time I ride that path, I think I won’t do it again until I’ve had a vaccine that I’m confident about.

I’m also trying to figure out how I’m going to shift to accommodate both reality and goals. I don’t want a start date that could actually be anything I choose to push me into riding where there are frequent bottlenecks. I’m looking at some potential shifts, thinking of making 60 a significant number. I may start my recorded full trail rides on or near my birthday at the end of January, when I’ll be 60, and then do it for 60 weeks. That would give me 3 or more extra weeks to be ready. We’ll see. The weather in January could make for delays even if I’m trained and ready on the first. And, at the end of 52 weeks, who knows how I’ll feel. I won’t be able to quit cold turkey, but an extra 8 weeks of full time could feel like an eternity by then.