Friday, May 18, 2012

Wining results in whining


Sometimes I forget how old I am. Recently, I've made a tiny attempted to revist my former Thursday ICPN (Int'l College Party Night) ways. Thing is, I just can't hang anymore, despite the very fine education I had two decades ago in such endeavors.

But after too much wine and too little sleep last night, I simply could not rise to the occasion today--a 30-mile bike ride loomed. Sadly, too, because it was a gorgeous day and I'd been looking forward to this ride with my husband all week. Coffee helped, but not enough.

I started off a bit sluggish but not too bad; there was hope. And then, wham!, I slammed into the train tracks at the bottom of a 38 mph downhill and there went my tire. Yay, lucky me! I get to practice my tire-changing skills, but at least I had my personal "pit-crew" by my side. Tire successfully change, we resumed our ride.

Initially my legs felt refreshed after the brief tire-changing interlude. But, as I continued to puff up the hill sans any momentum the downhill before it would have provided, all the power seemed to drain from my legs. Eight months of hill-avoidance (and the previous night's wine) was taking its toll. The effort to turn the pedals felt momentous. I imagined remnants of the Malbec and buttery popcorn still trudging through my veins, sapping my energy and slowing everything to a crawl--my reflexes, my endurance, my motivation.

Finally, I reached the top of the hill and turned onto a long stretch of road surrounded by fields and began to gain some speed. "Huh," my dull brain thought. "What a nice, calm day. I almost always have to push through a headwind on this road." Duh. This should have been my sign.

I looked longingly at the turnoff that would take me home, begrudging the fact that we were tacking on 10 miles to today's ride. Frowning, I passed the turnoff and tried to rally myself with the knowledge that there was only one more  "uphill" road to go and then it should be smooth sailing. No such luck.

After completing the last "uphill" stretch, I turned and was met with what I thought was a headwind. I began to mutter and complain out loud. I really wanted the ride to be over. Today was one of those very rare days where it just did not feel like fun. "The next road is fast, almost all downhill," I said to myself, trying to motivate for the final push home.

And then, of course, what always seems to be a headwind never really is. I turned onto the "fast" road and was hit head-on with the "real" headwind, steady and unrelenting. My whining accelerated as my speed plummeted. Oh yeah, I thought, my muddy brain finally finding a moment of clarity. This is why that other road felt so unusually easy--you had a tailwind, dummy. 

Tired of my complaining and, perhaps, in a bid to be rid of my grumpy self, my bike fought back and delivering another flat tire. Well, semi-flat. Perhaps there was a small, slow leak? I opened another CO2 cartridge and added some air, hoping it would be enough to get me home. It wasn't.

Turning onto the next to last road on the next to last big hill, my back tire felt like it was being dragged through mud. I got off the bike at the top of the hill and the tire was definitely soft but not completely flat. I was almost home--only about two or three more miles to go. I'll just stay out of the saddle, shift my weight onto my arms and try to make it. Down the hill and back up again before--thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. Completely flat! At this point, I could no longer be considered ladylike. Sailor was more like it.
The curvy, hilly road had no shoulder so I had to continue thunking my up the next hill (this can't be good for my rim) until I reached a driveway and turned in, hoping it was not inhabited by Cujo or some crazy hilljack. My husband was up ahead and I hoped he hadn't noticed my disappearing act and turned back. I called him. "My tire's cooked," I said, suggesting he continue home and return to retrieve me in the sag wagon. Thank goodness for pit crew!

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