Wednesday, October 10, 2012

False Flats

Two hours ago I was frantic with caffeine. Consuming a cuppa is, for me, a leisure activity; I drink it when I have time to savor it, or when I am socializing with friends or simply enjoying some quiet time with my husband as we sit on our deck, looking out at the trees in our yard. “Coffee time” is what we tell our kids, and they know to let us enjoy our moment of peace and solitude. I don’t typically drink it on the fly, sucking it down in the morning to “get myself going.” Though I sometimes strategically time it with a workout to enjoy the cardiovascular boost it gives me, or with work, seeking the mental clarity it will bring.

But today, I reached Magda levels. Instead of clarity, my mind was jumping erratically from one thought to the next. I couldn’t stay focused on one task. My ride saved me. Sometimes a workout is the best, the only, way to quickly burn off the jitters and it’s a much better way to achieve the clarity and focus I need. Today was no exception.

The ride was windy, but not as bad as I’d expected. The ride was joyous, being undertaken for pure pleasure, rather than to meet any type of training goal, but it was still fast enough to feel like flying—just over 18 mph, with peak speeds in the mid 30s, for just under 18 miles; not bad given the wind and the hills. Not bad at all.

I was not the only one flying. A canary yellow ultralight was soaring overhead, dipping and climbing in lazy arcs, brilliant against a Carolina blue sky and fields of bright green and earthy brown.

There were also the false flats. There are two kinds of these, I’ve found, when cycling and I experienced both today.  The first has to do with the grade of the road. The other has to do with a stretch that is so bumpy (poor road conditions) and so sluggish (poor riding) that you are certain your tire has gone flat. So convinced that you look down and imagine that the skinny tire is bulging a bit too much. You stop to check it, only to find that it is, in fact, okay. Has this ever happened to you?

In life there are false flats too. You may think you are cruising along a level road when, really, you've climbed higher than you realize. 

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