The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Challenge


I’m in Hamilton NY for a meeting. This is the third year that I have come to this meeting and the third time I came a day early and brought my bike. And each year I have ventured on longer and more difficult rides. Hamilton is surrounded by hills on three sides. You can ride south without hitting difficult terrain. As soon as you go east or west, you start climbing. Today I challenged myself with a ride that includes east-west roads. This ride was challenging for many reasons: 35 miles, challenging terrain, a route I have never ridden, and riding solo.

My DH will often go out and ride 40 miles by himself, no problem. I find riding solo to be mentally challenging. Part of it is purely a gender thing. A woman traveling by herself (especially a 110 pounder) is an easy target for a wacko. Part of it is not having the backup inherent in a club ride. Even though I can take care of myself and my bike, I still worry about finding myself in more trouble than I can handle. And during my ride today, that was made clear when I took a fall. Nothing worse than a little road rash and a dropped chain, but I can’t help but think, “what if.” But the biggest part is just that riding up and down hills for 35 miles is hard work and its hard to find the motivation to get it done when you are alone (at least for me). It would be easy to pick an easy ride or find a reason to cut it short. There’s nobody up front pushing the pace so it’s easy to “lollygag.” Who would know? Just me.

In the end, what a beautiful day and a beautiful ride. The roads (which are in great shape) wind through beautiful farming communities. I even saw some Amish farmers. The blue sky was punctuated with big puffy clouds. Did I mention the wind, which was always a headwind, and the never-ending hills, and the stealth dogs? It was a challenge, but I got it done. And then I had pizza and a Dr.Pepper, the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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