My mind, body, and soul could no longer take being inside and biking on my stationary trainer. It was to be the warmest day of the week and I happened to have it off, ironically, due to taking on a weekend shift at work. The downside of this gloriously sunny and mid-60’s day was the perpetual wind that blew around like an invisible tornado. “Hey, you’re on your bike? Let me blow at you from the front and side. You haven’t tipped over yet? Well, let me try again!”
I did have to stop in at work for about an hour and soon after headed over to the bike shop to change and leave my “normal person” clothes on the floor of the coat room. Yeah, I was going to go riding and go riding in style! Well, something like that.
I headed out to the start of the trail and decided to go clockwise (normally I always go counter-but I was up for a challenge and clockwise is my least favorite way to go.) The moment I hit the trail and headed towards the underside of the College Drive bridge, my heart soared and I had the biggest, most ridiculous smile on my face. The sound of my tires against the pavement were intoxicating and I can’t deny that I felt like I sounded (and looked) pretty awesome. I imagined myself looking somewhat ninja-like, a woman on a mission; I had places to go and some fresh air to inhale!
The wind was tough and I absolutely am not in love with fighting against it, and I was doing that pretty much the entire ride. However, there were moments where you could shift into a faster (harder) gear and pedal without a breeze blowing at you/on you. Those moments were like flying and they felt amazingly good. I’ve been riding to work (most days) as fast as I can, because I miss that thrilling “flight by bike” feeling that you can achieve with the right wind conditions. Plus, for me it just feels good to go fast. It’s a liberating and heart-pumping feeling that gets me in a positive mood.
I finally got to the part of the trail where there was still some snow in the way, and stopped to take a few pictures of my bike (and the snow patch) before my batteries chose to die. It was a good spot to take a few moments to rest. I did use my inhaler before my ride, but when I work so hard to ride against the wind it still provides enough to put me into a small coughing fit. (Oh the joys of exercise induced asthma.)
I had enough of a break and chose to continue on my ride; dead batteries meant no pictures, and frankly the scenery still looks brown and lifeless. You can’t take pictures of the warmth, the comforting farm smell of fresh cow manure out in the fields, and the sounds of the outside. You can’t take a picture of my spirit that was virtually glowing with exuberance and revitalization. I road through a sloppy part of the trail and water flew up into my face and on my sunglasses. I saw a person ahead and then laughed when I realized (too late) that I road past a friend of mine. I considered turning around, but she has a new bike that is faster than my Karate Monkey and I was heading into the downhill of the switchback too fast to really want to stop and kill my speed-high.
I eventually made my way up the torturous incline that goes past another farm, the most agonizing part of my clock-wise rides most times. However I feel like I went up the incline better this time than the last time I rode up it. Maybe some of my indoor training this year helped with that, or perhaps I just felt more positive about the negatives that usually make me go “aww man!”
When I got to the Dug Road trail I went through a trough of water and totally got my back/butt sprayed. It felt great! I didn’t care one bit because I knew I would be changing my clothes once I got back to the shop. When I arrived at the bike shop I walked in and took one of the cookies Travis had offered me at the beginning of my ride for “riding fuel.” I filled Travis in on my ride, the observations made, and how I was okay with having just one loop in today.
Today was a great day to ride, even if I had to fight against the wind. Sometimes fighting for something you love is just plain worth it.