to go: 937.87
call them "Lunch
Legs." In groovy cycling lingo,
it means taking your break too soon, for too long, especially during
a tough long-distance ride.
that it's a mistake that a lot of novice riders make.
easy to do. You get
to that first rest stop -- somewhere around the eighteenth or
thirty-third or 43,897,621st mile mark -- and all you know is that
you're so damn happy to see bathrooms and buffet tables and vast
expanses of cool green grass, upon which to plunk your weary
overextended butt -- that you get sort of carried away with the
relaxation stuff. You linger over slices of banana bread and little
foil packets of orange goo. You chitchat with friends. You squint into
the digital camera and say "Hickory
Farms" a few hundred times. You
lay your little head down and drool on your handlebars for a while,
snoozing in the Sonoma Valley sunshine. The next thing you know, forty
minutes have passed and most of the other cyclists have already hit the
road again: all of a sudden you're sitting alone in the grass with
banana bread crumbs on your face.
This, I'm told, is
exactly the wrong thing to do.
be doing, when you get to that first rest stop, is this: you
should choke down a quick rubbery Power Bar and then immediately get
right back on the
bike, while your muscles are still revved up and rarin' to go.
Otherwise, your body is fooled into thinking that the ride is over
already -- Thank god!
it says. I thought the crazy
b***h was gonna make us ride to TicTac!
-- and everything begins to prematurely shut down/stiffen up/punch the
timecard and clock out for the day. I'm sure that there is a
fancy-pants physiological explanation for this ... something about an
influx of lactic acids compromising the integrity of your parallel
flange indicators or something ... but the long and short of it
you are too pooped to pedal. When you do
finally get back on the bike and try to pick up the ride where you left
off, your muscles have to warm up all over again. only this time
you're trying to do it through a sleepy post-buffet-table languor.
your Advanced Calculus class after six hours of Study Hall.
this same logic
to the non-biking portion of my life, I guess you could say that I'm
suffering from a mild case of "Vacation Legs" this week. Taking a week
off from work -- five blissful days of no phones/no faxes/no field
instrument calibration logs, plunk in the middle of a hectic Dirt
Company summer -- may have seemed like a good idea at the time. It may
have seemed like a great opportunity to take a few deep cleansing
breaths ... to get caught up on assorted writing projects/household
tasks/personal goals that have fallen by the wayside in recent months
... to reconnect with my Inner Fourteen-Year-Old a little. It may even
have seemed like the only way to restore my health and preserve my
sanity in the aftermath of Hormonal Hell Month.
the truth is that my
vacation was all these things ... and more. But now that it's over,
parts of me are seriously
instance, was fooled into thinking that scrambled egg sandwiches would
be on the breakfast menu every
morning, from now on. The abrupt return to lukewarm Slim-Fast and soggy
fruit this week has met with violent (and noisy) protest.
feet were fooled into
thinking that uncomfortable shoes had become permanently optional ...
and that "Camouflage At Dusk" was the new default toenail color.
My internal clock was
fooled into thinking 11:45 p.m. was an acceptable bedtime.
husband was fooled
into thinking a home-cooked meal will always be on the table when he
walks through the door, from this day forward. My neighbors were fooled
into thinking they'd have to listen to "Happy Town" 24/7 for the rest
of their lives. Plus my hair was fooled into thinking I'd forgotten how
to use a blowdryer, my UPS delivery guy was fooled into thinking
someone will always be home to sign for packages, and my readers/my
parents/assorted online acquaintances were fooled into thinking that I
answer ALL of my e-mail within thirty seconds.
insidious of all,
however, my brain was fooled into thinking that maybe early retirement
had suddenly/magically become more than just a pipe dream ... and that
I really don't
have to spend the nine most precious and productive hours of my day
answering phones and typing concrete test cylinder data until my eyes
Legs are gone in
an hour. You just get back on the damn bike and ride.
Vacation Legs, I'm
discovering, take a little longer to wear off.
throw a rock