denouement

There comes a time when one comes to the realization that either they are pushing themselves too hard, they just aren’t that good at what they’re doing or both.

This post has been a long time coming. Not really knowing how to approach the subject I just haven’t said anything. I’ve been on and off my game all spring long. After I dropped down to the low 170’s in March, I kind of slacked off. I kept riding but started eating kind of crappy. Spring is supposed to be all about prep for summer and I just wasn’t feeling it. Easter was the tipping point with all the extra treats around the house, but mostly I was just bored. Not craving BAD foods, just really sick and tired of eating oatmeal for breakfast and a damn salad for lunch every single day. There have been MANY days over the past few months when I’d walk down towards St. Paul street on a lunch break, pass 15 places to get food and go back to my desk without buying anything because nothing looks good AND is good for me. For riding, anyone who’s read any report I’ve written in the last 2 years knows I’ve made a place for myself as a defacto sweeper. It’s fine and dandy to be able to ride 100-150 miles, but I was looking for something to help me ride stronger at the front of the pack rather than always coasting in solitude. At the same time I was picking up on some non-cycling muscles that needed a better workout. It would take me a few weeks to actually act on these feelings, but that’s where I was.

May 2: Seems like forever ago. I woke up to a fresh rain. I was on my way to work as usual for a Wednesday. As my memory serves me it was one of those days where it hadn’t rained for a few weeks before and the pavement was kind of slick with the funk of 10000 automobiles. I was pushing it for my commute and hit a corner on San Martin Drive just a little too quick. My front wheel went out splaying me all over the road. Aside from thrashing a pair of new jeans I made it out of that one ok. My confidence on the other hand got pretty beat up and I remember feeling like I was riding on eggshells all day long on the Monument to Monument. I didn’t mention it then because I figured why embarrass myself. No harm, no foul.

We went on vacation at the beach towards the end of May and I got back to my regular eating habits for the most part after that. On the training side, I was still looking for a way to punch through my funk when I decided to start the couch to 5k program 4 weeks ago. Didn’t write about it here because even though I was feeling good, I didn’t want to jinx it. This has been enough to keep my weight to the low 180’s. I dare say I’ve even enjoyed being awake just after 6 to get my heart rate up before work. Riding has been neutral. The running wasn’t making me any faster, but I was only half way through the program and my runs were more about building a little endurance in my legs, trying something different, and working new muscles than it was a cardiovascular workout. Intensity was penciled in for week 9.

July 4: Woke up with a rough plan to ride out to Bel Air and tag-in at the in-laws house for a cookout. I ran hard Tuesday morning and didn’t feel like a really huge effort. I was caught between the idea of a mid-level 35 mile ride which was less than what I wanted to do and a 75 mile loop out to Havre De Grace that I didn’t have time for. I ended up doing neither. Around 9:30 I decided to grab Pug and just go out to R.E. Lee park and back for a few hills. Everyone’s been talking about how terribly hot it’s been, but for the most part it’s been low humidity and I just haven’t felt it. Wednesday morning was beautiful riding. For a relaxed 10 miles with a few hills it was a really good time. I was even treated to a nice conversation with a gent who called out while I was descending into the park to ask some questions about my wide tires. He admired my bike and I admired his which happened to be a logo-less Arrow frame sporting some really nice components like Phil hubs, classic XT derailers and thumb shifters. On my approach to home I was feeling great and decided to do a few of my hilly run-ups on the grass near the local ballfields. All was going fine until I hit a gopher hole or something on the 4th descent, my right foot came off the pedal, and my leg went straight into the chainring. At first I didn’t even feel it and went for #5. When I got to the top I looked down and decided it was time to make a b-line for home.

Under that bandage it doesn’t hurt as bad as this one did, but it sure does look HELLA worse. My uneducated opinion is I’ll be back to jogging a week from now with no more than a little pain to deal with, but we’ll see what the specialist says on Monday.

I’m gonna practice the guitar, watch the tour and try not to snack too much. Thank god I don’t live for summers the way I used to. Once I get back on my feet I’m ditching any remaining fantasies of speed, strength, or endurance. Riding at any pace is cool even if the lead pack is 10 miles out. Sitting on the couch every evening and getting driven to work is not. It’s especially uncool to always end up off the bike not because of some glorious crash in the throes of competition, but because of some stupid unforced error while I’m out goofing around by myself.

Oh, Sagan won a third stage yesterday with a bell on his handlebars at the start and posing like The Hulk as he crossed the line. Good to see someone’s having fun with cycling still.

Stay safe out there yall. Do neither as I say, nor as I do.

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7 thoughts on “denouement

  1. I could fill space here pointing out how I think you’re being waaaayyyy to tough on yourself, but I won’t. I’ll only tell you that along with being one of the strongest bike riders I know you are also one of the best riding companions I’ve ever met.

    Need I remind you of the sage observations of Hoss? Are you sure your not just “racing against the fun”?

    • Thanks, couldn’t ask for a nicer complement from a better rider & friend. Given my track record, I’d say I’m “racing to keep up” πŸ™‚ Regardless, I’ve got a little mandatory time slated for a ‘hard reboot’. Hope to see you out on the road again soon.

  2. Dave, what’s your yardstick here? You seem to be saying that you are some how “losing ground” in fitness. How do you know that it’s not your own changed expectations? I, personally don’t see evidence that you’ve done anything other than get stronger over the last years. I challenge you to PROVE what you think may be true.

    Remember, that on every Ramble you are miles ahead of those who are too out of shape to even show up.

    Coming to Glen Rock?

    • Elaboration on the yardstick would spill out of this comment box, but point taken.

      I sure hope so. My big goal over the next week or so is to make it to Friday without misplacing another 1/4 cup of blood πŸ™‚ Gonna take the doc’s advice on Monday, see how the week goes and make a decision from there.

  3. You inspire a lot of people, you just don’t see it that way. Most importantly you inspire me. I think you are the greatest and I love you.

  4. Jen, a lot happens on these long bike rides of ours, but I’m happy to say that I won’t be telling Dave I love him here.

    Hope you two got some good beach time. Best. –B

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