Yesterday, I rolled my tuned-up Cannondale out of my shed. I put on my bike helmet and gloves. The day was sunny and beautifully June warm… albeit very, very windy.
But then I realized something. I hadn’t been on this bike since October… and I really, really didn’t know if I remembered how to shift, brake, stop. You know, important things in cycling.
I stared at my sweet lime green bike like it was the first time I saw it. I even panicked a little. I offered a bit of this panic to Jane, my Triathlon Muse… and she smiled and said everything would come back to me. It’s like, Jane said, riding a bike.
I was ready. Kind of.
I live on and near lots of hills. I had a 45-minute route (per my Hal Higdon training program) mapped out in my head… one that would keep me near home on this first training ride of the season in preparation for the DanskinTri. A route that would avoid the biggest hills.
I walked my bike to the busy intersection a few dozen steps from my house and I stood there, thinking, thinking, thinking. I was thinking why am I avoiding the hills and staying close to home. Thinking if I am going to do this thing, just do it balls to the wall.
So I did. I hopped on my bike and maneuvered through the gears (with major adjustments, to be sure). I headed straight down Marlborough Street and up toward Main and right down the big hill toward Goddard Park. I knew I’d have to go up that hill on the way back… but that was something to worry about later.
I made a commitment in my head to stay on my bike the entire ride… which meant getting my water bottle from its holder and hydrating while riding and getting my Energy Bites from my bento box and eating them while riding. Both of these things took some getting used to last year as I learned to ride my racing bike.
I rode. I got up to 20.7 mph for one fleeting second, but mostly stayed in the 12-14 mph range. The wind at some points had me down to 7 mph, barely able to stay upright.
But it was Mother Nature who got me to stop. Stop in my tracks.
As I rode down along the little beach at Goddard Park, Mother Nature was putting on such a magnificent show that this Grandma stopped in her tracks. I listened to the water rush against the beach. I heard the wind rustling the leaves in mighty force… a residual wind from the previous day’s storms.
I marveled at the beauty and took out my phone to capture some of it…
I did stay on my bike the rest of the ride. I did make it up that big hill on Main Street (breathing heavily, to say the least). I did ride an extra 15 minutes because I felt like it, putting in a total of 12.5 miles.
Training and racing and exercising has become a very important part of my life over the past couple of years, and I am loving every second of it (even the panic moments!)… but acknowledging the magnificence of Mother Nature is something that fills me with awe.
I think she gets me out on the road just about as much as anything else… and if I hadn’t headed to those big hills and a bit farther from home, I would have missed her afternoon show.