Yesterday was such a roller-coaster of experiences both out in the world and the internal dialogue and decision-making almost constantly roiling and percolating.
I have another opportunity for a self-supported tour coming up which is going to be led by the same fellow that led the incredibly satisfying Cape Cod tour I did last Sept. This one is shorter, however much MUCH more intense! It's going to be in the Catskill mountains, four days of 50-60 miles per day, fully loaded with gear (tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food) which is around 30 extra pounds and climbing around 3500 feet per day. Very daunting!
Sunday morning I decided that I would load up my bike with all my gear and embark on a 60 mile ride to test my meddle as a means of deciding whether or not to choose to make a commitment to join in this Catskill tour. This has been a relatively weak year of cycling for me with all my blood thinner worries keeping me off the bike until late June or so.
The OTHER most important decision I made yesterday morning concerns two critical strategies of maintaining my best health which I have chosen to neglect over the past couple of months: weighing in and tracking my food.
I'm sure you may have noticed my lack of discussion about this in my blogs as of lately...always a bad sign. If I'm not talking about it, odds are I'm not doing it. I've allowed that special sauce of stress at home & work with the added fun & distractions of vacations & special times undercut my resolve and erode those two essential self-care strategies.
So: I got on the scale! And was pleasantly surprised that my "penalty" for playing ostrich was relatively minor. I had reached my low of the year earlier at around 210. I weighed in at 218. While there is a price to be paid, it's not as great as I feared. I had begun to feel the price in the fit of my clothes. Thank goodness for THAT nudge!
Another choice: The ride I had in mind for today was a loop up to Norwich where they were having the Colorscape Festival www.colorscape.org
in Norwich and one of my favorite folkies, John Gorka was performing for free at 3 pm. He's got a rich baritone which you seldom hear in music these days. Having a baritone of my own I thought it would be cool to see him perform for the first time.
BUT! One of our bike club members had invited me to an end-of-summer party at her place later @ 5 pm. If I go to the concert there would be no way to get back in time, shower up and make it to the party. So: do I take in the concert, which would have been a solo experience or do I head out to the party where I can connect with people?
Well that's a no-brainer! As much as I spend oodles of time with people at work, I'm realizing that over the years I've greatly short-changed myself of time spent with extended family and friends outside of work. The bike club has been a God-send in helping me to remedy this over the past several years and I wasn't about to pass up this opportunity!
Now onto my ride: WONDERFUL ride! Loved it! I restored my faith and confidence in myself, kicking myself for ever doubting that I could do this Catskill Mountain tour! I remembered those inspiring words of Mark Twain:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
How could I even THINK of staying home from this opportunity nursing a satchel full of coulda-shoulda-wouldas?!?
I realize I will probably be sore and greatly fatigued at the end of each day, but I will be filled to overflowing with wonderful sights and great times shared with others. Plus I continue to be impressed by my body's incredible capacity for restoring itself with a good food and a good night's sleep.
BUT: about 3/4 of the way through my ride I BONKED!
I have only bonked once before with all the riding I've done and that time was relatively mild. One sugar soda and I was set straight.
Being back in the saddle with tracking I had made the unwise decision to short-change myself with food this day, anticipating the party and wanting to save my calories for later. Normally when biking a long distance I will have a BIG breakfast of a lot of oatmeal with two eggs scrambled into it along with a banana sliced up and the "dirty" version including sugar and a good dose of butter. With that I can bike forever fearlessly with no bonk worries at all.
Today I brought three apples and a bag of almonds, from which I sparingly ate a few here & there. One rider shared part of her banana with me. By the time I was bonking I had one apple left and the almonds.
Shaky, wobbly, fatigued, finding my saddle INTOLERABLE (normally little problem there), I got off the bike, stretched a bit, got the apple out and ate it while walking my bike along for a stretch, adding some almonds. I felt enough better to wrap up the final 12 miles of my 60 and immediately on arriving home I wolfed a couple of Dannon single-serve greek yogurts and an Arnold's sandwich thin. My fatigue I'm sure was heightened by the bonk.
So choice time: do I take the bonk as a sign that I'm unable to do the Catskills? No: I take it as a lesson in not being STUPID by assuming the extra pounds of flab that I carry will guard against bonking.
Next? PARTY TIME! Such a wonderful mix of people! Co-workers of my friend who teaches at the local school, friends and neighbors of hers and several bike club members. A little awkward at first, but we all warmed up very nicely together. Delicious & healthy food, fun conversations which waxed on into a night that didn't want to end...!
I played my guitar as well as having brought my blue-tooth speaker to DJ some music here & there during the course of the evening, but I didn't isolate myself and engaged in numerous satisfying conversations and enjoyed meeting new people throughout the night. Someone had the super idea to convert the BBQ grill into a campfire of sorts as the night grew dark and the full moon came out.
A very similar sense of camaraderie and connection that was savored last week in the 1,000 Islands was restored again tonight. So invigorating and enlivening!
Take care of your body and soul!
Pay your SPARK forward and reap those rewards as what goes around comes around...!
and Don't be Stupid! :-)