It rained hard yesterday. At first, lightly, a refreshing antidote to the humidity fogging up my sunglasses that requiring me to stash them in the vents of my helmet. While circling around some hills north of Kalamazoo on my bike with Abe, I lost track of time. These were new roads. New to me. Remember to stay off the painted lines on the road. They’ll be slick. I should’ve grabbed my BAAS cap before we set out. It would’ve kept some of the water out of my eyes, at least. On the climb before stopping to refill water bottles, the rain let up and my legs shimmered in the golden sun still struggling to climb its way into the sky.
Driving home, the sky turned night and all that was visible were the taillights of the car in front of me suspended above the road. There was a road there somewhere, I think. Somewhere through the all encompassing grey of rain and water and mist and spray and streaks on the windshield.
I’ve been trying to get out as much as possible this past week. I bought new running shoes that are fluorescent orange, because, well, aren’t there enough white running shoes? I broke them in with a few runs – pavement and sand. Woodchips and boardwalks. They still have that new car smell to them.
I bonked for the first time this season on the Wednesday night ride. I’m better at eating properly before and during rides, but it was a little hotter than the previous few days. It was a little faster than I was ready for. As soon as we hit the cornfields south of Zeeland, the pace was relentless, and I fell off the back with two others. We took a shortcut to catch the group again. I fell off the back again. On the ride home from the shop, every pedal stroke was a mental exercise. Instead of my legs spinning the cracks, I had to tell each muscle how to contract and expand. Every revolution. My legs doubted me. “Are you sure this is how it goes? And again? Have I done this before?”
Almost exactly a year ago, I was in the same situation, barely managing to ride my dehydrated self home. I survived to pen an entry starting with the words “This sport is mostly stupid…” I was cooked. Not angry, not disappointed, just, full. I had to take a break (it didn’t last long). This year, knowing the signs of the bonk as soon as they surfaced, I immediately fixated on getting to the McDonald’s on 8th St. for a Coke. It was smart to take my credit card with me. I sat in the drive through lane for minutes, in silence, before walking in and sucking down the HFCS water and an apple pie. Turns out the drive through lanes are notified by a weight sensor, which is why no one asked to take my order. I’m not sure I would have made it the final 4 miles home without that dose of sugar. But when I got home, completely spent, I couldn’t not still smile. It was fun. A ride that’s too fast to hang onto beats one that is too slow every time. I put my legs up on the couch and cracked open a beer. Everything in its right place.