Sunday, May 5, 2013

Half Century Training Ride

Larry - Spring in the central south is having a hard time getting going.  For the second Saturday in a row we've had day long soaking rains with temps in the high 40s.  Not good riding weather.  This Saturday we at least went to the Y and did a spin class sweat fest.  That helped. 
     Today (Sunday, May 5) Martha had the March of Dimes walk as an off branch of her job and couldn't ride.  The weather still wasn't great, with a low clouds, a north wind, temps in the low 50s and a 70% chance of precip.  Still, I had to ride or risk a bad case of cabin fever.
     The local bike club had its regular Sunday p.m. ride scheduled.  I decided that I wanted to see my buds and would ride to the ride.  That's always fun. It was about a 10 mile ride to the club ride start point.  I could make most of the journey on a greenway bike path which follows the river.  That turned out to be a little bit of a mistake.
     Leaving the house I wondered if I had on enough clothes, even though I had given the matter careful consideration.  I was on my tour bike which has a rack.  This allowed be to throw on a trunk with my rain jacket in case things really unraveled.  For the first ten minutes I was on the edge of being cold, then, like it's supposed to, my exertion kicked in and I forgot about being cold just as I swung around a corner and noticed that the rain swollen river had submerged a goodly segment of the greenway.  It looked like about 40 yards was underwater.  I didn't have time to turn around and reroute if I was going to make the club ride start, so I just plunged in.
     The water was not moving and being very familiar with the path, I knew it could be no more than about a foot deep.  I didn't want water in my bottom bracket, so I just shouldered the bike and waded.  The water was not warm.  And now wet feet for the rest of my riding day.
     I did make the club ride on time and had a great time on a little 32 miler.  By the time I got home, I'd done a half century!  I was starting to fade and Martha's spaghetti and meat sauce dinner hit the spot.  I know we'll have a lot of days like this on THE BIG RIDE.  You just have to go with the flow and be physically and (just as importantly) mentally ready for the challenge.
     Today's ride with its minor hardships got me thinking about the comfort cocoon many of us live in.  We live in temperature and humidity controlled homes and offices.  We never feel hunger or discomfort.  If it starts to hurt, we stop.  If we don't want to do it, we don't.  I think part of the attraction many of us have for bike touring is it gives us a little test of ourselves. 
     Can we take a little hardship?  Is it worth all this effort?
     The answer is, course, "Yes!"  It's what takes you out of the sometimes dreary workaday world and let's you feel free and alive like nothing else.  Sure, THE BIG RIDE will have some tough days, but as I always say, "Don't let it get you down, this will be a great story tomorrow".

                                             Clip art - Not me.  Not my skirt.  Not my bike.


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