Thursday, December 05, 2013
I did a long slow bike ride today. I suppose it turned out to be slower than I thought it would. But it was fun and exhilarating.
I got off to a nice pleasant start. I'm new to this, so I never know what to expect. I placed my Timex GPS watch neatly on the handlebars, so I could see what was going on, speedwise, and distancewise.
Was doing a comfortable, for me, 12 mph for about 11 miles or so. I was in traffic on the road. Since I had only recently started to use the actual road, instead of the sidewalk, that's where I was today. On the right side of the road, pedaling along. Hoping no one in their comfortable car-cocoon would fail to see me and plow into me. Maybe this fear goes away after riding a while, but I'm new enough to riding in traffic that I still fret about it and hope the drivers coming upon me are watching.
It's still warm in Florida, and today was no exception. It was in the high 70s and climbing. I tend to overheat quickly, when doing any kind of physical exertion. My DW calls me "sprinkler head" so that might give you an idea of how I perspire. So, it's warm out and I'm slowing down, this is not just a casual ride. I'm still working it.
I am on the right hand side of a busy 4 lane road, right there in the traffic. I happened to look across the street and see a young lady. What? 20 to 30 years old? I can't tell from that far away, and probably couldn't even if I was looking right at her -- they all look young to me. She's riding her bike on the sidewalk, with some kind of carrier on the back, and something else on the handle bars. Not a racing bike, just a cruiser. And damn her, she's easily cruising along faster than I am! I'm sweating and working it, kind of pushing and she's almost flying by me. Thankfully she's across the street and I'm not further shamed by her passing directly past me, I thought.
These thoughts flashed in my head instantly, like how easily she appeared to ride, and how hard I was trying to triathlon train, yet she rode quite a bit faster than me.
But, now comes the ahah! moment. I don't know her level of expertise or condition, and for that matter, who cares? She is she, and I am me, and what either of us is doing matters not a whit. I am training to better myself. It matters not how fast I am going. I remind myself that I am an older person, and my personal strength is endurance and failure to quit. Not necessarily athletic abilities or conditioning. Those things will come with time and training. I ride, run or swim to do something new. To challenge myself. And, that's what I'm doing today. Challenging myself to ride a little farther on my bicycle.
I ended up riding 23 miles today, and I was very tired when I stopped. It didn't take long to recover, I feel just great right now. No big deal to so many, but kind of cool for me, it's my longest bike ride to date. I'm slow and old, but hey!, I rode 23 miles more than a lot of other 67 year olds did today. I feel great. I am slightly embarrassed, just enough to stop myself the next time, that I had allowed negative thoughts to creep in. That I had been passed by someone who looked like they were out for a nice casual little ride, while I was kind of struggling.
The mind can and will play tricks on us, try to fool us into not attempting new things which are uncomfortable. The mind wants us to stay comfortable with our old, easy ways and not do new and challenging things. No matter that they are easy tasks for others, if they are difficult or stressful for us the subconscious does not like them.
I intend to continue to run my own race. I am doing this for myself and no one else.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.