Sunday, May 31, 2009

Let the good times roll

Today was my 2nd bike outside, and my first out on the roads again.

I was nervous.

I didn't want to go. What if it's windy? What if there's alot of traffic? What if I get a flat and I don't have any spare tubes? What if I can't make it up the hills? What if I'm slower than last year? What if my butt hurts? What if I get tired?

Are you going to complain all day? Or are you going to get out there and ride?

I really don't want to go.

I kinda picked up on that. You don't have a choice.

But what if I have problems?

Lemme axe you somethin''re planning on doing Harvest Moon, correct?

Yes, but....

But nothing, you have THREE months to prepare for that bike route. THE bike route that kicked your butt more than ANY other race has done. If you don't get on that bike today, you might as well kiss your chance of a PR away.

ok, fine. But I'm not going to enjoy it if I feel pressured into doing this.

What pressure? You registered for this. You knew what it would take. Y'know what? You are just being LAZY.

That's not necessarily a fair statement, and I knew it. But I had no justification for why I didn't want to go except that it was "the unknown". First real ride of the season. I was nervous. After spending months on the trainer riding flats, I didn't know if I could climb.

And....climbing hurts. It's hard. It's tiring. The last real climbing I did was during Coeur D'Alene. So, my last experience on the bike....well, we can't really say it was a positive experience.

Still, Elephant Rock wasn't going to change dates just because I wasn't feeling prepared. I had to know what I'm going to be in for, next Sunday when I head out for 62 miles.

I grabbed two bottles, a bar, and I left. I was going to go for 2:00.

I'm a wimp when it comes to riding. The weather, while may be perfect for everyone else, is always "too cold" or "too windy" or "too hot", for me.

I couldn't use that excuse today. The sun was blocked by clouds. The temperature was perfect. There wasn't a wind to be felt, not even a breeze. I could honestly say it was perfect.

As I was riding, I thought about alot of things. I kept the pace easy, and I enjoyed the ride.

Eventually, another triathlete pulled up along side me. We chatted for a minute. I don't know why I did it, but I asked, "You don't happen to be training for Coeur D'Alene, do you?"

He had this look of complete shock and said, "Yea, I am." We shared stories for a few minutes. Then, he went on ahead.

I remembered this time, last year, a couple of weekends to "peak". That time, for me, was a weird time. It's a time of complete selfishness. It's a time that training literally became a part time job. It was a time where I could no longer think or see straight.

It was the only time in my life of racing where I never even doubted my ability to finish.

I started wondering why this is. Why I tend to doubt myself so often, when I have proved over and over that I can accomplish just about anything. We all have times when we'll miss a pr. But the track record shows that more often than not, I'll hit my goals. When I am consistent, realistic, and balanced, I will succeed more often than not.

And my success is determined by more than my finishing time.

Next week, I have Elephant Rock. This is a fun, low key, bike tour. I get to ride through Black Forest, the Palmer Divide, farmlands, down and around Colorado Springs, and up and down through the foothills. I get to eat peanut butter bagels, meet some great people along the way, and take pictures of some of the most beautiful areas in Colorado, which I will be sure to post.

Someone asked me how long it will take me. Why is it always about times? Why do people always want to know how fast I am? To me, it really doesn't matter. I remember last year when a peloton passed me like I was standing still. I remember yo-yo'ing with an older couple for 20 or 30 miles, and I remember focusing on the women in front of me using them as some kind of force to help me get to the next rest stop.

And it was one of the best days of the year.

I don't remember how long it took me to finish the century last year, but I remember the people, the party, the feeling of thinking "I DID IT!"

That's enough success for me.