A Week can Change so much
A week ago, I was counting the wounds, measuring the damage and thanking the fates that the crash was not worse.
On the scale of bike crashes, mine was quite minor. I had road rash, a broken helmet and some sore spots. Overall, I was lucky. The was nothing broken and nothing requiring surgery to put right.
This weekend I returned to riding. I have never been the sort to be afraid to do something that got me hurt previously. If I were, I never would have fallen in love a second time. There was no hesitation to getting back on the bike. I never worried about it, never questioned anything once on the bike.
Saturday was the day of the most important ride on my calendar. The Ride for Autism. I first did the ride in 2012. Now it is my annual focal point. So appropriate that the ride would fall on the Older One’s 23rd birthday. He was very excited that I was riding for him on his birthday.
It was also my first ride since the crash. My only concern was the ability of my body to rise to the occasion, past the bumps and bruises, past the lack of conditioning. There was no fear.
I love riding. No crash was going to change that.
The ride was WONDERFUL! Sixty-two miles through the New Jersey countryside, past horse farms and cornfields, through small towns and along country lanes and orchards, rolling hills and long flat sections. It was a blast.
I was tired and sore at the end of the ride. The body was not quite ready but we managed, my body and mind, to get the full distance in. I might have been able to do the 100 miles. I am glad I did the 62 instead.
Overjoyed? The first time I did the ride it was the furthest I had ridden in 20 years. It was a slog. My good and true friend, NI, pushed me up hills. Exhorted me to push myself, nearly dragged me across the finish…. Last year I was very strong and we rode together well. This year I rode with a group from the cycling club as NI was unable to make it. WE had a good time. They rode better than I did but we finished close together and enjoyed lunch at the end of the ride as a team.
Yes, I was Overjoyed.
Saturday night I sent a text to my friend and co-worker asking him to lead the Sunday ride. My legs were tired and sore and tight. I didn’t think I would be able to ride on Sunday morning.
Sunday I awoke feeling strong and rested with no tiredness or soreness in my legs.
I lead the ride on Sunday. We rode Twenty-five and a half miles. There was one good hill and it let me know the legs were tired. On the downside, I blasted. I went in to the highest gear and spun like mad. I hit 40+ miles per hour and felt no fear at all. Only exhilaration.
I am feeling “right”. I like the way I eat, I like the activity level, I like the way I look. Most importantly I like the way I feel about ME. The inside ME. I feel so right within my skin.
Yes, this is because of the weight loss. It is more because of the changes I need to bring about for the weight loss to happen.
Introspection, deep-diving one’s brains….
Has its place.
Just thought I would mention it.
The Sunday Ride
So, as mentioned above, I rode on Sunday. I led the Sunday ride with the able co-leadership of JS, one of the people I work with at the shop. I took lead, he was the sweep. The sweep is the fellow who ride along at the back of the ride to make sure we don’t lose a rider off the back…
We had nine other riders along yesterday. Nearly perfect weather for eleven riders to explore northern NJ.
What a fine ride. I think the good weather put everyone, riders and drivers alike, in good moods. We had none of the typical close encounters with drivers. No nasty long and loud honks of the horn, no close buzzes…. Several times the drivers stopped to allow us to cross a street or hung back until there was a good and safe place to pass. I cannot tell you how much that was appreciated.
Getting in the 25.5 miles on Sunday told me so much about myself as a person and a rider. I was sore from Saturday. Not painfully so, not “DON’T RIDE” sore, but the kind of sore I might have used in years past as an excuse to chill in the morning, have a lazy morning… I rode. I knew I could work the kinks out. I knew I WANTED to ride.
Felt great. Felt truly great.
Rides like this remind me why I love to ride. I am not a racer. I never was particularly fast. I can hammer it on the flats when the spirit moves me, but I was never a racer. I have never competed on the bike…
I love to ride to the best of my abilities, get out on a beautiful day, feel the road roll under the wheels, the bike banking in to a turn, the satisfaction of getting to the top of that brutal hill, enjoying the thrill of the fast downhill and enjoying the properly sore muscles at the end of a good brisk ride.
And I am able to do this now. Not three years ago. I couldn’t do it. Three years ago, Summer of 2011, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t ride. I could barely walk up stairs.
While riding yesterday I thought about this. I thought about riding 62+ on Saturday and another 25+ on Sunday. Not bad for a man who was close to 320 pounds three years earlier. I kind of smiled as I thought about it.
The Journey… 88+ miles of cycling this weekend. Another 6 miles of walking. All in all a busy weekend. I have done more miles in a weekend that is certain. But it doesn’t matter. What matter is I what I did this weekend. What I will do the next weekend. What I CAN do now. All this is what matters. I can play with my children, take walks with my sons, work in the yard, climb the stairs, take hikes with friends, ride…
I can do this now. The Journey has brought me here.
All it took was deciding to take the first step.