Thursday, February 07, 2008


For the first time in weeks I hit the snooze repeatedly in a feeble attempt to catch a few extra winks. Finally prying my sorry rear out of bed 21 minutes after I should have, I stepped into the shower and evidently some sort of strange time warp. Somehow by the time I was putting on my cycling clothing I was only about 5 minutes behind when I am normally ready to go??

When I was a kid I was forced to play little league. I remember stepping up to bat every time knowing I was going to get hit by the baseball. I can remember the one game when I didn’t get hit… I stood there holding the bat watching the baseballs go by, never swinging the bat. We lost the game, but that was the best game of my years playing baseball. Every other game, I’d get hit with the ball and the coach would tell me to “walk it off.”

I can remember one summer riding alone on my way to Missouri Valley, IA from the Twin Cities on my way to attend RAGBRAI. It was day three of a grueling attempt to reach my destination. I’d covered over 350 miles and I was continuing down the road into the wind, baking under the sun. Tumbling in the mind were all sorts of irrational thoughts. Wishing that someone would pass me in a pickup seeing through to my inner desire for someone to offer a ride or stop to ask if I was all right. I remember stopping at a gas station only about 20 miles from the end, getting a soda. I gave in and the words came out: “can I get a ride to Missouri Valley?” I then remember the humiliating feeling of being in the back of that truck for what remained only a few miles in an otherwise epic journey.

There comes a time in every adventure that is the natural low point. I could be wrong but everyone must reach a point in their life where they felt like throwing in the towel or at least found themselves wondering what they are doing. A race where in the back of the mind you’re secretly wishing for a flat tire or mechanical that would provide a excuse for dropping out.

Be it a ride, an adventure, a relationship… whatever. The times in life for which I am least satisfied with myself are the times when I knew what I was capable of and chose to give in and take the easy way out. Thursdays are my low period in the week. Today was no exception. My legs are tired from a week of riding harder than I have been. With the warmer temperatures this week, I’ve ridden harder… The temp dropped last night to 6 when I woke up. By the time I left though, it had risen to 9? (More time warp or the fact that some light snow was moving in?) Today was one of those days when I would have liked to have taken the easy way out.

I was chilly while preparing to go. On the road, more thoughts tumbling. Some might call it stupid, perhaps it is… but I think I have a pretty good idea of what I am capable of. Part of me wants to keep pushing to find out where that boundary for failure might be. Knowing where I have let myself down helps me know where to dig to find the energy to not give in.

Instead of giving in… Today, I took the extra long route into work. It was beautiful. Snappy cold, very light snow, hoarfrost appearing as time went along. Bike got frosty and snowy. It was great and I am satisfied with myself for having learned my lessons... Another experience of having completed something I originally set out on with no real burning desire to do. Get up, don’t give in, walk it off… learn where to dig.

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