Friday, November 6, 2009

Something Lost - Something Gained

I wanted to go for a bike ride yesterday. I promised myself that I was going for a bike ride yesterday no matter what. Then I discovered that someone had stolen my bike pump. My tires were too low to go anywhere. So I didn't make it out on my bike ride after all. I was really grumpy because I was so sure that the weather would be crappy today and that I had lost a prime opportunity to ride.

Aside from my regular work duties, today's schedule was supposed to filled with thumb therapy, allergy doctors, and a hair appointment. But when I walked out of the therapist's office at 9 a.m., and the weather was so pleasant I didn't need so much as a jacket, I knew I had to go for a bike ride. Screw everything else!

I hurried home, changed my clothes, hopped on my bike (the lack of a pump problem had been solved), and rode away. I didn't know where I was going, but I didn't care. I was on my bike. And it felt GOOD!

I had ridden several blocks before the thought came to me: "You're not thinking about your thumb!" It was true! I hadn't thought about my thumb. Amazing! That hasn't happened in nine weeks!
"Wait. Yes you are thinking about it! You're thinking about it by telling yourself you're not thinking about it."
"Maybe. But I'm not complaining about it, and it's not bothering me, so it counts."

When I had left home on my bike, there was no wind. Not even a couple of miles later there was a fierce cross wind blowing, and by the looks of the direction the flags were pointing, it was going to be a headwind on the way home. By mid-ride, the fallen leaves were swirling around me so violently that I thought I might be carried off to the land of OZ. Nnnnn...ok, maybe it wasn't THAT bad. I've ridden in worse. But the effect of the swirling leaves certainly made it seem worse than it was.

Speaking of leaves, I made it a game to try to run over the biggest cottonwood leaves I could find. They made a great "Kapow" popping sound. I also enjoyed listening to the way the layer of thousands of fallen ash leaves sounded like someone had just lit off a bundle of Black Cat firecrackers. This is the sort of stuff I only notice when I ride by myself.

Because I was by myself I was able to do a lot of thinking. I thought about how, even though I feel like lately I've been lazy; in truth, physically I'm doing great. Cardio-wise, I felt better than I can ever remember feeling. The only time I even felt like I was pushing it at all today was during the 14 percent (actual) climb combined with the 30 mph (estimate) headwind. That got me breathing pretty hard.

But much of my thoughts were about how mentally defeated I feel. I was really on top of the mental game by May of last year. Probably to the point of cockiness. At that point, I knew I had finally achieved prime mental and phyical strength. And then I proceeded to destroy it all with accidents and injuries. I couldn't help but notice how tentatively I rode today. I hate feeling like that! It's going to take some time and many confidence building rides for me to feel like I'm mentally back on top of things again.

I really needed today's ride. I'm crossing my fingers for more beautiful 70 degree days for me, and you, to enjoy. I know it won't last too much longer. That doesn't matter: there's always Nordic skiing to look forward to.