Sunday, March 6th
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on decisions I’ve made and thinking about how to move forward. Today in particular was full of reflection.
A new job late last year and a long stretch of 14+ hour days, 6 or 7 days a week certainly didn’t help my hopes of getting fit. That job is no longer an issue and while I’m still in retail, I sell bikes and have time to ride but haven’t. As I woke this morning, I was really wondering if this was just it for me and cycling. The mounting back issues from late last year got much worse over the winter and, while I’ve made progress and improved, I’m not sure I can get back to riding hundreds of miles a week like I need to let alone start running to help prepare for that half ironman I signed up for in September. Since I first started riding, I’ve never gone this long with so little activity, I’ve gained weight (again) and fitness seems far away. So, is this it? It feels easy to just let it go.
Fortunately, my wife Melissa knows how much cycling means to me and how much it helps my state of mind and physical being so she’s great about encouraging me to get back to it. “Who are you riding with Sunday?” she’ll ask. We only have one day a week with each other since I work Saturday so I appreciate her willingness to give a few hours away for me to ride. The answer to the “who” question today, as it has been so often, is Tom Holt. Tom is responsible for me ever turning a pedal on a road bike in the first place and he’s still there to push me to get back out … and kick me once we’re riding. As I clumsily assembled my gear to meet Tom at his house, feeling like it’d been a life time since I kitted up for a ride, I took my time to ensure I remembered everything: helmet, shoes, ziplock for my phone and some money, bottles, Garmin charged – I’ve got it all. But then, more reflection on the way over to Tom’s house. This time it was the reflection in my rear view mirror; there should be a bike in that reflection, sitting on the rack on the back of the car but there isn’t a bike in that reflection because I forgot it.
After a delay to return home to get my bike, we eventually head off to ride. Just like we used to roll, no real route, no preloaded GPS data, just a general direction and a neat old country store with a friendly owner were we hoped to take a mid-ride break. As we rolled along talking about the usual wide range of topics, I was reminded of what drew me into the sport in the first place. This sort of camaraderie, being outside, feeling the effort, it all seems so much closer, so much more obvious that I will get back to it and find my legs again. If I needed any extra motivation, more reflection was there to show me the truth I need to see. We all have this ability to see ourselves differently than how we really are. I’m quite adept at convincing myself that I’m not that heavy and frankly, I’m not for non-cycling folk but for even a recreational cyclist, I’ve grown portly. As Tom and I rolled along side by side, the reflection in his sunglasses was as honest as it gets and I’m quite round … ouch. I mentioned what I saw and Tom was quick with the polite comment “well, the lenses are curved so it isn’t an accurate reflection” which made me chuckle. What a nice friend but there has been enough denial … and pizza …. already.
I’ve got some ground to make up to be fit like I want and need to be but I’ve got people who will help me get there, the looming reckoning of a half ironman event in just six months, and a love of riding a bike. I’ll make it and hopefully, soon, the reflections will be much kinder.