Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hard and Easy

“I’d like to go for a ride today.”

“You mean a real ride?”

Okay, this is not to say that riding with my Lovely Lovely isn’t a real ride. It is, but she's just starting out, so we only go five miles, and we take it at an easy pace, and sometimes you just need to get out there and go so hard it hurts.

The fact is that I had cabin fever. After weeks of temps in the thirties and forties, it was finally in the eighties and I had gotten off work early and the sun is going down later because the time changed and…and…and…I wanted to ride.

“Go on,” she said.

I love her.

I suggested that I could do a short ride and then come back and we could ride together. That got me a “we’ll see” and I got kitted out and headed out the door. I hit the road and the wind hit me in the face. It was blowing at 20 mph and more, so it was going to be a hard ride, but there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It was a good day for a hard ride.

I got out of the neighborhood and discovered that it was going to be a very hard ride. There’s still nothing wrong with that at all.

I was in a screaming headwind pushing the pedals. Life is good. What do you do when the ride starts with a screaming headwind? Just find your rhythm and settle in. Don’t bother looking ahead to when the wind will end, that just creates stress. Assume the wind will be there forever and enjoy the ride.

I came to the first turn and was now in a howling cross headwind. How do you know that the wind is bad? When you turn into a howling cross headwind and say, “Ah…..” because it feels better, that’s how.

And why is that, when you're struggling up a hill in the wind gasping like a fish out of water (no fish were harmed in the writing of this blog) that a dog decides it has to come out and play? I thought I was going at maximum effort, then a dog came darting toward me uttering dire threats and I found out that I had a little extra energy left. Excellent.

At one point, with several miles in my legs (which had stopped complaining after the first mile) I passed two people sitting on a porch. They had their feet up and were enjoying the sun. As I rode past, their heads slowly turned to follow me, but nothing else moved. I was reminded of the time I passed a herd of cows and one of them had apparently never seen anything like me before…

…Actually, I get that a lot. People have never seen anything like me before. I don’t think this is a compliment…

…and it stopped chewing its cud to stare at me. It had grass hanging out of both sides of its mouth and slowly turned its head to watch me go by.

I turned again and was back into a flat headwind. Two large dogs then decided to rush out into the street after me. I shouted at them and let them have a spray from my water bottle. At least, that was my intention. Did I mention the headwind? I sprayed the water and the wind sprayed it right back all over my body. Undaunted, I let the dogs have two more sprays before it occurred to me that, as all the water was going on my body, the dogs weren’t likely to be dismayed by it. Possibly the sight was humorous enough to make them stop, though, because they didn’t catch me.

Finally, I turned around to head home and the headwind became a tailwind. I suppose I could have taken it easy, but that wouldn't have been fun, so I popped it up onto the big chain ring and continued to ride as hard as I could. I find it more fun to ride as hard as I can with a tailwind than with a headwind.

As I neared home I called my Lovely Lovely on the cell phone and told her to get dressed for the ride.

"What about dinner?" she asked.

"Oh, dinner can wait half an hour. Let's ride."

"Well..." and you could still hear the "we'll see" in her voice... "Let me know when you get here."

I called her again when I turned onto our road. There was no answer, but when I got to the house she was in the driveway, helmet on and ready to go. Do you see why I love her?

We rode around the subdivision for awhile. “How far have we gone?” she asked.

“About three miles.”

“Oh. I thought we’d only gone one.”

See? Only her third ride, and she’s getting stronger.

She was startled out of a year’s growth by a vicious Boston terrier. I refuse to be scared by something that isn’t really much more than a furry speed bump if it dives under your wheel.

I had a good hard ride and then my Lovely Lovely and I ended up doing five gentle miles together, and we both had a great time. Life is good.

See you on the road.

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