Free Association here…nearing a hallucinatory state…expecting to fall asleep any second now…
On Memorial Day in the United States of America in the year 2006 I got to ride a bike through the rolling suburban hills of North Texas. I saw the flags waving in the well manicured yards. I noticed the folks pulling boats, either on their way to or just returning from the area lakes. I observed the light amount of traffic on the roads…hopefully everyone was enjoying the holiday. I contemplated how appreciative I am of the sacrifices made by the women and men in both the past and present to ensure I had the opportunity to enjoy some leisure and freedom on this day.
It wasn't as hot as Friday…only 90 or so…and I set out while it was still morning. But, the hills were the same. The wind was the same. And, it was the same flabby rider. I rode 40 miles and averaged 15 mph. But, I took a few shady breaks at the tops of the hills to get my heartrate down. So, despite the appearance of improvement, my time/distance average is surely more like what I did on Friday.
Speaking of Friday, I did NOT follow the advice as prescribed by KarlaBabble and take 4 Advil and 2 shots of Jack to ease the soreness. Primarily, this was because I don't possess those two items, being a Vodka and Excedrin man instead. But, also, I decided against following KarlaBabble's advice because, quite frankly, I don't believe she holds the proper and requisite degrees or accreditation to be diagnosing any treatment programs for pain in my nether regions. (that's a joke, in case anyone missed it…)
I have often thought while riding that riding is surely on the same karmic/cosmic level as catching the big wave as HawaiianMark describes. Despite never having surfed, I've seen enough movies/TV and read enough about surfing to have a fair appreciation for it. Cycling would seem to me to be similar. Pushing yourself…cresting a tough hill in the 12 ring (versus the 23 granny gear)…zooming down the other side of the hill at 35-40 mph and having the wind cool ya down while your heart rate drops just enough to hit the next hill and start over…that's what it's about.
Today, there were a couple of spots where people had their sprinklers running and the spray was hitting the road. Each time I cruised through the waterspray and thought about the squirtgun wars WriterMother fotographed and discussed. It would have been fun to do that upon returning to the house.
I didn't get rained on, as always seems to happen to CoolCat. If he ever complains about getting wet while riding, I'm gonna suggest he move to North Texas.
James at Heavy: Lift With Caution always seems to have friends or relatives to accompany him on his rides. Unfortunately, I didn't have a traveling companion and was alone with my thoughts. But, I did see lots of other cyclists out and about, which is always nice.
Speaking of thoughts while riding, I contemplated long and hard what I thought about the whole blog crush idea. I realized that, having been on the losing end of unrequited love many times before, this blog crush thing is no big deal. But, more importantly, I decided that connecting with people is as much about physical fortitude as it is about mental clarity and pure thought. To be in true and complete shape, both the mind and the body have to be operating at peak efficiency. And, this epiphany came to me right at the base of the toughest hill of the day.
Upon returning home, I paused for a moment and thought about grabbing a cold brew. If I were in England this would be standard routine (or so I fantasize). But here, for some reason the Puritan in me (or the fitness geek) has this idea that exercise and alcohol don't mix.
For some strange reason and for as long as I can remember, the poem by Robert Frost (from which I have borrowed for the title of this post) has worked its way through my head while riding. It's an eccentricity, I know. Cycling as a companion to a Robert Frost poem? Surely this is a joke, right? It's not. I think of it as my guide…my goal…and my conscience. There's no stopping. There's no time to dilly-dally. Get the ride done. Get that fitness. Wear yourself out. Be competitive. You have miles to go before you can sleep.