Friday, March 30, 2007

Score for The Day

Phoenix - 1 Demons - 0

Kahuna's poignant post about the demons he has conquered only to have them rise again reminds me that all of us have our demons to battle, whether we are Ironmen with a following of thousands or little newbs in training with a handful of "peeps" - whom I am incredibly grateful for. Have I said that recently? How overwhelmed I am by your support? Its true, you guys give me courage in the face of fears that would otherwise defeat me. My demons are many and varied - as I suppose is true for us all. Sometimes they have the voice of my father, sometimes my boss, an ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, a rude stranger on the street. When they are at their worst, they speak in my own voice. That's when they are toughest to resist. On the run they nag at how slow I am, how I'll get passed by everyone, how clumsy I'll look (and, uh, demon-thingys, I'm not that slow. And even if I was, who cares, you can't hang for more than a mile or two anyway. You don't have the guts to run. Wusses.), in the pool they nag about my form, how everyone can tell that I'm not a "swimmer", that, once again, I'm slow. However, its when I'm on the bike that they have their nastiest fun. "You're going to fall." "You're a spaz." "That's way too much bike for you." And most powerfully, "You are going to get hit by a car." They had me convinced of that one - and variations on its theme - that I wasn't good enough on the bike, that I'd veer into the path of a well wishing motorist, that I'd fall over right when a car was behind me. I know that it happens, that its a real possibility - but I could get hit by a car on a run, or on my way to work, or crossing the street. Mortality gets us all at some point. Allowing fear to stop us from doing what we dream of is letting the bitch-demons get the best of us.

Yesterday, I decided to take those bitches out for a ride. On the road. For 20 miles.

I took off a couple of days to spend with the kids on their Spring Break. (So, there you go Bold, I got a March break too!) I decided to take advantage of my time and the beautiful weather so I got up early, loaded up Pyro and headed a little south to the "country" and a route I had created based on some cyclists' reports. I drove it first to familiarize myself with the route, the terrain (insert demon-thingy nagging "you can't handle those hills. you're going to walk."), the traffic.
There wasn't any shoulder for most of the route but there were very few blind curves, a slow speed limit and almost no cars in sight. Those that were on the road were going slow. So, I decided I could handle it. Well, I kind of decided that. As I parked the car and prepared to ride, I was shaking like a leaf. The Bitches (as they will heretofore be known) were furiously working to keep me off of that road. They shifted to that "concerned" tone - "You don't need to push yourself so far so soon, you should think about safety . . . blah, blah, blah" But, logically, I knew there was no better route than this. That it was now or never. It was time to ride.

I got on Pyro with the thought that I might not make the whole route - and that that was OK, I was just going to start the ride and I could always turn around if I had to. Then, something surprising happened - first, I made the first difficult hill - it was hard, I was going slow and breathing hard, but I made it. Second, a few cars came up behind me, slowed and then easily passed me - plenty of room, absolutely no problem. Then, shockingly, I started to have a blast! I love winding country roads - and this one was beautiful, it climbed up a ridge and into a small town, then followed the ridge for a bit, dropped into the valley, followed the river, then climbed back up and dropped down once more. Flowering trees, new leaves and impossibly green grass kept me company throughout. Most of the motorists seemed to know exactly what to do about me. One exception was a young teenage kid who just couldn't bring himself to go around me. He didn't get up close on me, but, even when I signaled him that he could go, when I could see there was nothing coming up ahead, he just wouldn't go. Finally, I found a driveway and pulled over for him. As he passed I gave him this look like "Happy?" and then promptly fell over. Bad Karma. That was my only brush with death on the ride.

I did get lost, though it turned out to be serendipitous. I was having such a blast cruising along, watching the river, marveling at the beauty of the place, that I missed my turnoff. It took awhile before I realized what I had done and, of course, there were no gas stations or passers by to ask for directions. The last thing I wanted to do was call Hubby and tell him I was lost. Luckily, I found a guy building a house and asked him for directions. Fortunately, the very next road connected to my loop and it was a great road for cycling. There were some vicious hills, but I saw all of one car (the teenager with a passing disability) the entire time. I passed two groups of cyclists there, also, so that proves it was a good road for riding.

(um, p.s. that's not one of the vicious hills, just a nice pic of the road. Just to be sure we're clear)

There was only one other "motorist incident". It happened when I was almost back - a dump truck came up behind me and had to wait about 30 seconds while an oncoming car passed before he could get by me. As he went by, he said out of his open window, "You don't belong on this road, baby." Yes I do. And I'm not your baby.

Afterwards, we took the kids for a ride on Grant's Trail, the place I've been doing my training. I got out the mountain bike and enjoyed going slower. I was proud of the kids - they covered ten miles. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Later, when the high from the ride wore off, when the fire that my courage had built started to die down, the demons tried to come back to play. "Geez, you were slow on that ride - and it was only 22 miles. You're tired now, how are you going to do that Oly distance in September" "You'll never finish the Oly." "You don't belong on that road, baby." Those Bitches are loud, but they're slow. So I went for a run.

1 comment:

Bolder said...

looking at my bloglines suggests that it's a small, but growing number of peeps!

way to kick those Bitches where it hurts!!

gotta love truck drivers... especially the ones who chose that as a living over being a brain surgeon... 'cause you know THAT happens... always consider the source, which you proudly did!!!