April 28, 2003
Excuse Me

ytd: 198.48

Rain. Dislocated knee. Bruised rib. Rain. Back-to-back Tot visits. Flu (David). Head cold (Secra). Rain. War. Family obligations. Job stress. Flat tire.

More rain.

The list of reasons why David and I haven't been able to ride our bikes much, the past couple of months, reads like a crash course in Excuse-Making 101. (All that's missing is jury duty, "stomach flu" and a fictional Dead Grandma or two.) Taken individually, any one of these excuses -- my stoopid back injury, for instance, or the war starting last month, or even the fact that this has been a freakishly rainy April, even for the Bay Area -- would, to the average normal non-bike-riding person, probably seem like a perfectly legitimate reason not to climb onto a bicycle. It's when you string all of the problems and setbacks and weird physical maladies together, one after another, that the whole thing starts to smell as fishy as one of David's tuna casseroles ... as though we've been going out of our way to find reasons to get out of riding. 

And that's simply not the case. Honest. Even it smells that way.

David thinks it's because we haven't set a riding goal this year. "Without a goal," he moans, "we're worthless." As loathe as I am to agree with him on this one, I think he may be right. Last year's objective of racking up 2,002 miles in 2002, while often punishing and painful -- I wanted to quit at least once or twice an hour -- did manage to get us out of bed and onto our bikes ... even on those mornings when all we really wanted to do was sit around the apartment in our jammies, eating pancakes all day. It forced us to continually challenge the limits of our physical /mental/marital endurance, every week ... especially late in the year, when time was running out and we were still 247 miles short of goal. Without that sort of motivation now, poking us in the backside like the mighty pitchfork of God, we've found that we're a lot less likely to push ourselves to ride when conditions are less than optimum (read this: when we don't actually feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel like it) ...

... and a lot more likely to sit around the apartment in our jammies eating pancakes all day.

Still -- as we reminded ourselves this past weekend -- it's only April. There's no law that says we can't still set a new goal for ourselves for 2003, even four months into the year. So we've begun tossing some ideas back and forth. It's not likely to be a huge mileage goal: that much is certain. David knows that I would rather squat in a rice paddy and give birth to octuplets, sans drugs, than attempt 2,003 in 2003. But we're both in *agreeance* that it should be something moderately challenging. An endurance goal, David suggests: sixty miles in one day, maybe, or a 300-mile month. Or perhaps another group ride ... just to make sure I get my annual dose of humility and heatsickness.  ("How about a fashion goal?" I suggest hopefully. "Let's see how many pairs of adorable cycling socks we can collect in one year?") We'll be batting around ideas for the next few days, trying to come up with something we can both get excited enough to commit to.

And in the meantime, we did finally manage to ride this past weekend. Nothing major: just a couple of sweaty fifteen-mile sprints around Bay Farm Island ... a ride we both could have managed in our sleep, during the height of the 2,002 in 2002, but which feels a little like pedalling at the bottom of the swimming pool now. It's going to take a while to get back to last year's level of fitness, I'm afraid. Still, I've got to say that it felt good to get out and to get on The Butt D-Luxe and to stretch those flabby middle-aged muscles again. With any luck, we'll be doing lots more of that in the weeks and months ahead.

As long as the dog doesn't eat our bike shoes, that is.

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