As the year winds down, so too have my weekly miles, because this fall brought a few impediments: much needed rainfall to the Bay area (a reminder of how spoiled we cyclists were by a dry winter last year, albeit cursed with an epic drought), and the holidaze.
The holidaze began with my crazy decision to cram a 4 hour ride and hosting Thanksgiving all into one day. I had about a hot second to wash the road grime off my legs and get the turkey in the oven. After that exhausting day, I decided that something had to give during this time of year: the bike.
And when the rains came, said decision was only confirmed. In those brief windows when the deluges subsided, the roads were so slick, messy and treacherous that the thought of cleaning my bike was enough to keep me at arm’s length.
This might be a shock coming from someone who dropped everything to dive into designing women’s cycling apparel, but I’m just not SO into riding a bike that I need to do it all the time, and I don’t love it so much that I need to do it in the most miserable (and dangerous) of conditions to prove my hard-core-ness. I do it because I love it, not because it is a chore or an obligation. There’s something about briefly stepping away from something you love in order to remember that there is more to life. And there’s something to be said for giving your body a rest.
So much of nature is based upon cycles: ups and downs, waxing and waning, ins and outs, ebbs and flows. Maybe it’s because I am a libra, or maybe I use nature’s tendencies to justify my own lapses, but I kind of enjoy the ebbs, as much as the flows. There’s something inherently interesting about a process that has stages or cycles.
I broke my leg while skiing 13 years ago, and although I can absolutely say that I am not happy that it happened, I learned a lot about myself and about the human body in the process of getting better during 8 boring weeks spent on my back and in the pool (my sanity’s salvation). While getting back to walking, running, and the scariest, skiing, I learned to appreciate the significance of the tiniest of baby steps. I learned to be patient and honest with myself, and I learned to appreciate my body, and the process of getting better, as painfully slow as it seemed at the time.
I’m not by any means in the same boat right now, but of course my fitness has waned and it will take some time to get back to where I was a few months ago. But I just have one more party to get through, a tree to wrestle out of the house, and hopefully a few good weekends of skiing ahead of me. Of course I’ll be back to riding more regularly once the mercury creeps past 55 degrees. I’ll probably be a little slower and the legs will feel heavier, but there is something to look forward to: getting better. During those sluggish marches up Mt. Tam, there will also be a lot to look back on happily and without regret to delightfully distract me from the lactic hellishness: holidaze, good times with friends, happy hikes with my four-legged buddy, rest, and a life beyond riding a bike (crazy, right?!).