The 2012 Kit

The 2012 Kit

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rides to Remember

It's Saturday and I am resting today. I'm totally zonked - mostly due to a ride on Thursday that took a year off my life:

I rode up a beautiful climb (Old San Marcos Road), whose view and switchbacks rival those of Europe's, then out to the Santa Ynez Valley and started to climb "Happy Canyon" up to Figueroa. After missing a turn that put me about 45 min out of my way 20 minutes from the top of Figueroa, I flatted. I made it to the top 4hrs 30 minutes into the ride. I got to the Bulldog Cafe, one of my highly anticipated stops whenever I pass through Solvang for a snack after 5:22 ride time. But I was still over 2 hrs from home.

"Yes, I would like some help. Small, medium roast coffee with one of those enormous cookies, there. Thanks."

"That'll be $4.75."

I got a medium coffee, apparently. Next time I'll specify "SIZE SMALL."

This carries importance 1) because I have generally limited human interaction over the course of 5+ hrs of self-talk on the bike, so sometimes I need practice and 2) after drinking this coffee and demolishing this cookie that could've been split by 3, I was unsettled to say the least.

I began my ride home and trying not to dilly-dally, I kept the pressure on the pedals after all of that pedaling I'd already done. But it was a beautiful day and I was heading back along the coast on "The 101," where I can get a gorgeous view of the deceivingly cold Pacific that I probably won't touch unless I have 2 wetsuits and a 10ft pole. Anyway, I started to burp up on my full stomach. Gross, right? Totally. I continued to burp, which turned into minor puke. For 2 hrs. Yup. I lost all that coffee. None of the cookie, though. That was nice. By the end I could taste a little bit of the half-digested cookie coming up. I swear.

No, I couldn't put anything down for the last 2.5hrs of riding. I made it home in 7:46. And as some UVM-ers are familiar with the term, this was a "vision quest," at its finest. The last hour my self-talk escalated to me reminding of myself of my reality. "You are here. You are pedaling. Stop - Red Light." I was truly living in the moment. It wasn't all that pleasant. I was in the moment to survive, one pedal-stroke at a time. I couldn't even feel myself pedaling after a while. My legs were simply turning circles because I had to turn them. It became simple. I got home, showered immediately and started sipping on electrolytes. It was the first step. Small steps, remember?

Today I'm off and I'm telling you about this because these are the kinds of days I remember most. I don't embark to get to these types of memorable moments, but after countless hours, they're practically inevitable if you have any sense of wonder at all. Maybe I won't race for close to 8 hrs ever, but climbing and descending and the sights between are undeniably fantastic. If I stuck to interval-training and 4 hr rides, my explorative self would be lost. This is how I stay alive to ride another day!

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