Hi. Remember me? Yeah, I know. Me, too.
Before today, the last time I was on my bike was September 29th… over two weeks ago.
Sure, there had been some mechanical issues, and some work/travel stuff that kept me off The Goat, but during this time there were definitely four or five days that I absolutely could have ridden, but talked myself out it.
See if this sounds familiar to any of you…
You tell yourself it’s been too many days since you’ve ridden, and you’re feeling fat and gross and know you need to ride. So you decide you will ride tomorrow. You’ll wake up, and regardless of the weather, you’re gonna ride! Then you wake up the next morning, check the weather and see it’s 40some degrees. And windy. You tell yourself that you’ll wait until it gets warmer – later in the day – and then ride. But later comes, and you’ve gotten so busy with your day that you resolve to ride first thing tomorrow!
Only here’s the thing… tomorrow never comes.
Ever notice that? You go to bed saying you’ll ride tomorrow, but when you wake up it’s not tomorrow – it’s today and tomorrow is the next day, and so you tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow… but tomorrow never comes.
This is what happened to me the last two weeks. After a year of riding in mostly fabulous weather, things have gotten cold here in Arch City. At least in the a.m. Cold being relative, of course… read on.
With so many miles this year in great weather, I sort of forgot what cold really is. I would wake up with every intention to ride, check the weather and see it was in the 40’s. Even 48 or 49 counts as the 40’s. And instead of simply dressing properly (as I’ve written about on this very blog) I would listen to the voice… the whispering Jabberwock.
Yes, that same voice that whispers in your ear late at night saying it’s okay to eat that ice cream or fried chicken because “you’ll work it off tomorrow.” Only, the Jabberwock knows tomorrow never comes.
That same voice whispers in your morning ear, “You don’t want to put all that gear on, pump your tires, fill your bottles, pre-hydrate, and eat just so you can go out there and freeze to death in miserable conditions. No, what would be way more productive is to stay in bed, or curl up with a warm cup of coffee and even warmer television, and think about how much farther you’ll ride tomorrow.”
**see title of this post**
I have been listening to the Voice for two weeks. Forgetting that I have ridden many times in sub-40 degree weather.
I finally had enough last night. Instead of telling myself I would ride tomorrow, I simply decided that the schedule for Monday the 14th was to wake up and ride — before the second half of my day which is filled with meetings.
I woke up, checked the weather and saw 42 degrees. Holy polar ice caps, Batman.
But then I did something really smart… I ignored it. I got up and started drinking, started eating my Luna bar, and getting dressed. My Rapha merino wool base layer, my Twin Six Fat Cyclist L/S jersey, my Castelli neoprene gloves (amazing), Castelli insulated skull cap, and SockGuy wool socks (toasty).
The Jabberwock was whispering, but I was blocking him out. I just kept moving. Pump the tires, fill the bottles, do not stop moving. The Voice cannot get through to you if you don’t stop moving.
Then I went out and rode. And here’s the point of this post…
The first 1/2 mile was awful. I hated the weather, hated my bike, hated my gear, and hated myself.
The second 1/2 mile I hated the weather and hated myself.
By Mile 3, I was only hating myself.
By Mile 4, I was remembering that I LOVE CYCLING.
Regardless of the cold, the wind, the traffic, etc., I love being on the bike.
The whispering Jabberwock had convinced me I didn’t love cycling. But I do. And so do you.
If you are reading this blog, you love cycling (unless you’re David Montgomery). You may have forgotten it, you may be listening to the Voice, but trust me, if you’re taking the time to read blogs from other rec cyclists, you LOVE to ride.
So, I implore you — on those days when you hear the Voice telling you every reason not to ride, you must ignore it and go ride. And within the first few miles you will be so glad you did.
Be it riding in windless sunny 71 degrees, or sweltering 90 degrees with 90% humidity, or suffering in cold windy conditions, we love to ride.
So go ride the next chance you have. Not tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes. Just commit to riding the very next chance you have regardless of conditions or time constraints or anything else. Ride for 30 minutes, or an hour, or four hours. But ride. Because you will remember why you bookmarked cycling blogs.
Ride your bike.
Don’t wait for tomorrow.
Fair winds and following seas, Willy