to go: 454.25
isn't always about
imploding thigh muscles. I want you to know that.
know it probably sounds
that way. I complain about bike riding far more than I ever praise it.
But then again, I would probably be complaining if it were Pilates or
Pritikin or middle-aged pregnancy: any weird grueling
physical transformation, drawn out
over long months of extreme challenge with only tiny increments of
progress here and there, spotlighted within the public arena of an
Internet journal. That's what I do: I complain about this stuff in the
privacy of my own head, while I'm out there in the middle of all of
this hideous suffering and torment ... and then I come home and write
about it, usually in my private journal so *I* am the only one who is
forced to re-live it, but occasionally here on *FootNotes,* too, for
the rest of you to endure.
always about pain. It's important to me that you understand that.
fun, and about freedom, and about flying down the other side of The
Monster Hill without dragging on the brakes, except maybe for a little
bit on the bumpy parts. Sometimes it's about pushing myself to do just
a microscopic bit more than I did last week, and the amazing sense of
accomplishment I feel when I come home and upgrade the numbers on my
website. Sometimes it's about all of the key elements *clicking* -- the
weather, the trail conditions, my energy level, my mood, my 'riding
ensemble du jour' -- and everything spontaneously coming together into
one glorious Super Ride. Sometimes it's about achieving your Personal
Best, on a day when you would have been perfectly content to settle
for your Personal Pretty-Darned-OK.
was all about.
rode fifty miles
yesterday. I don't mean that David and I rode forty miles on the Iron
Horse Trail in the morning, and then came home later and tacked another
ten onto the total by puttering around the abandoned Navy Base after
dinner. (Which is how I always assumed I would achieve my first fifty.)
I'm talking about fifty continuous
miles ... start-to-finish, beginning-to-end, with only minor
refueling/rehydrating stops along the way. For the locals: we rode
Iron Horse Trail from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to the Pleasanton
BART Station and back again, then the Canal Trail to Treat Boulevard
in Concord, then back up the Iron Horse to Alamo and back, then
another quick anal-retentive fifth of a mile up the Iron Horse, to
round it out to exactly fifty miles.
miles -- in case
you're not a math genius like *I* am -- is half of a hundred miles. Or
half of a century,
as they say in groovy cycling lingo. It's the distance from Seattle to
Olympia. It's the distance from Alameda to Santa Rosa. It's the
distance from my laundry room in TicTac to the refrigerated wine
section of Trailer Town Grocery ... a hundred times and back.
of a long way, in other words.
achievement didn't come without a price. I had to miss JournalCon
this weekend, even though it was held right here in my own backyard. We
couldn't afford to sacrifice the riding time. I'm so far behind on
personal tasks -- e-mail, housework, laundry, exfoliation -- that I'm
starting to feel like I'll never catch up. Plus I'm experiencing some
minor physical glitches as a result of yesterday's megaride. We were
having lunch at Hubcaps in Walnut Creek, half an hour after the ride
ended, when I suddenly realized that my left hand had pretty much
stopped functioning. I reached across the table to grab a fork and
I couldn't pick it up. The ring and pinky fingers on that hand simply
refused to cooperate. This morning they're still mostly unresponsive: I
can't pinch my thumb and fingers together. Obviously I've done some
damage to the ulnar nerve again. Plus I'm sunburned in a couple of
interesting new places -- the backs of my legs and the tips of my ears
-- and I was so exhausted last night that I fell asleep during the
opening credits of "Cops" ... before they'd even gotten around to
arresting the first shirtless nimrod of the evening.
here it is, 7 a.m.
on Sunday morning, and I'm getting ready to go out and do it all over
soon as David wakes
up -- I'm letting him sleep an extra half hour, while I sit here in
front of the computer, in the dark and quiet of early morning, and
enjoy a second cup of coffee -- we're going to hop on our bikes and
head out for our weekly Sunday morning Bay Farm Island ride. It won't
be another fifty-miler. I don't have it in me, frankly ... and even if
have it in me, we don't have enough time anyway. David has to pick up
the kids at noon, and I've got a full afternoon of
aimless web-surfing and long drooling naps on my personal *To Do* List.
be happy with a
sometime in the near
future -- probably not next weekend, because I've learned that once
I've pushed myself beyond the extreme limits of physical endurance, I
need to pull back and recover a little before I try it again -- but
maybe the weekend after that or the weekend after that -- I'll go out
and ride another fifty. Except that I won't stop at fifty: I'll push
ahead on The Iron Horse Trail, another half a mile or so, before I turn
around and head back to the car, and I'll come home with a 51.
what's so cool
about a personal best. Once you've gotten used to the idea that you
have it in you -- once you've finished recovering from it and gloating
over it and driving everybody bullgoose loony with your annoying
incessant nonstop bragging about it ...
you've always got a
out there waiting for you.
throw a rock