All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. Mark Twain was not a cyclist. But he was correct when he spoke these words. It is ignorance or in fact it’s emptiness that allows room for confidence to grow. Don’t over think it, just get on with it. An attribute that allows us to achieve many things. Unfortunately, it is an attribute I do not possess in the amounts that are critical for success on the bike. But this Wednesday night was a turning point. Through a good night on the bike and a poignant observation, the baby rhino finally took a charge in the right direction.
I am a flatlander. I have few climbs around me and the ones I do are minimal and pale in comparison to the true climbs and challenges that test most Strava athletes. This weekend I decided to record my first ride in over 3 months. It’s not just any ride, but one of the regular rides I used to do with my brother when over 20 years ago back in “the D”. The ride is a loop that encircles a man-made lake and quite beautiful little local park area. What I love about this ride is what the Strava score really illustrates. At a glance the mapped out route echos the shape of the Ebola virus. And the topography map is amazingly similar to an EKG heart rate recording. Looking at this recording can tell you more about the ride than what you will ever see by looking at any scores and times.
There is a difference between feeling pain and getting hurt. Pain is draining. Pain is demoralizing and pain is emotionally degrading. Anyone who has felt true pain in a lasting state can attest to it’s burdening effects on mind and spirit. Getting hurt on the other hand is what can make you appreciate what it’s about to be alive.
It’s about to start storming, I am hungry and I realize I am only a mile away from one of the best pizza joints I know. Minutes later, I am sitting, scanning a menu and about to order my pizza Quattro Gusti ( that’s 4 toppings to the rest of you). At that moment I look up in the dark and eerily distant space above the heating vents, window valence, and chandelier I spot her. The celeste green Bianchi that immediately solidified this as the most authentically Italian place in town.
Today was my first day out on full team road ride in over a year. I coughed, gasped for mercy, got dropped, then was allowed to get back on, I gagged on my water bottle, hit a turtle sized pothole, felt my legs whine like little school children, brought up the rear as I limped up the local mini hill, and suffered as I helped lead out during the last town line sprint. I did not set any records for myself. I did not find any superhuman strength in my legs. I wasn’t even able to fully hang on throughout the whole ride. However, I bypassed any efforts I had been able to achieve for quite sometime. All while hanging on to one of the fastest rides I had done in over 18 months. At the end of the ride, I was able to roll in together with the group. Today was a good day.