A bike ride, a fairly typical early training ride, yet a bit more than I'm ready for, but I decided I was ready for the challenge and to push it a bit more than normal due to being so "behind" where I want to be with my training. I don't mind being at this distance, but I'd like to have more miles behind me and feel more solid.
The weather was iffy, the day cooler than previous, and despite a late night last night, we set out...
Along the way, I surprised myself. The ride is hilly - really hilly. It starts with my commute to work, and then adds more hills, totaling 35 miles...I didn't fool myself about how hard it would be, given the most biking I've done is a sporadic flat ride of 25 miles.
What I found was a strength I didn't expect - not a lot of extra power, but some - more though, an ability to persevere, and while not a lot of power, a surprising lack of pain.
This, however disappeared immediately following the surprising discovery that the paved trail home was closed due to a downed tree. I wound up hiking up a vertical driveway after discovering I could not balance both wheels on the ground due to the extreme incline. If I put my weight on the back wheel to keep traction in the slippery rain, the front wheel came up, threatening to spill me over backwards; if I put my weight on the front wheel, my back would spin without the weight for traction. I walked my bike - and as much as riding up hills sucks, the only thing that sucks more than RIDING up hills is WALKING your bike up hills.
It wasn't that hill that cracked me, or the vertical hill after that, or even being lost. It was, fortunately, what turned out to be the last hill that had me crying for mercy. Cold, soaked through, having doubled the overall elevation of the ride, I was done and at the end of the good nature I had left. I muttered all the positive self motivation I could, I think ultimately resolving that I would never get home if I didn't persevere when I crested the hill, passing the final stop sign. It was down hill home from there, although still 5 miles away.
Despite the pain, I'm happy. I feel good - I toughed it out, I felt stronger than I expected, and I endured. I am loving feeling myself come back. I haven't enjoyed that in the past - always comparing where I am now to where I ended the year before and feeling like I couldn't measure up. This year I have a new perspective, and I love feeling strength return; I am loving the feeling of improvement.
So here's to a great year, for persevering through a rough start, to grow and build on what I discovered last year. Hard as it is, I am damn excited to see what unfolds.