So…a couple of days after my first century was complete, I found myself in a funk. Has this happened to you?
I decided to look closer at it since I wasn’t entirely sure why it came up. I found a few things.
There’s a “now-what?” aspect to this, sure. After all, I’ve desired to complete one of these for over 2 years (nearly 3 seasons). I built up to the century through a series of longer and longer distances until “presto!” – goal complete. So, sure…the question is an honest one. I decided that I need to look at not just doing another century but put my eye on a big fear of mine: climbing those gawd-awful mountains we have in the northern part of the state. My husband has done them, and I’ve been floored at even doing one…but several at a time? (a la “3-gap Fifty, 6-Gap Century ride”) Whoa…now THAT’S an endeavor worthy of real honor once achieved!
LOL…no, not going to do several [mountain peaks] this year. (After all, the “official ride” is next weekend. People come from all over USA and even from abroad to do this ride.) I’ll be working on just one mountain for a while, but I would like to give it a shot, soon. Heck…what’s the worst thing that can happen? I get only “so far” and have to turn around and coast my way back to the starting point. However…the first (and easiest) mountain to hit as a beginning mountain rider is also one of the longest climbs – approx 10 miles. Dang, that’s going to be hard both on the body…and the mind. We’ll see. I’ll have to report back once I make it up there.
What else…oh…there’s the fear of “okay, you’ve got your century done, now quit riding so much”. EEEEK! No, no one has said that to me but the fear is in there coupled with the fact that the weekly evening rides I lead won’t be lasting all that much longer. (I’ve already had to move them 30 minutes earlier due to early sunsets at least once. One more time and it’s effectively over.) Oh crap. “Losing” those rides is really stirring up some stuff. Sure, I can go training inside, but… It’s. Not. The. Same.
It’s Not! …and you know it, too! I don’t get the endorphins from indoor riding like I do from the outdoors.
Okay, okay…I’m trying to look on the bright side of this. Sure, I can start doing some stuff like widen my focus by doing some heavy-duty lower leg workouts and really emphasize core work. This will help, not only my mountain endeavors but also my overall speed. (At least, I hope it does.) Perhaps even help my overall endurance. Who knows.
Lastly, I realized that the evening, weekly rides have also been an identity thing for me. You see, IRL, I’m a _____ (yes, insert long list, here). All that focuses on stuff that’s not an expression of ME, just ME. The riding I do, is an expression of ME. That’s been really nice – heavens, a real blessing at times. As women, mothers, wives, small business owners, homeschoolers, etc etc etc, there’s not a lot we do in our general life that is a representation of who we really are. It’s mostly about making sure others are tended/taken care of. When we manage to grasp on to something, it becomes something of a lifeline when stresses (both big and small) hit us. So…with those weekly rides about to cease until spring, I lose some of that expression. Hmmm, now what?
I guess that’s why I’m thinking about mountain biking…though adding to my already wide collection of scars isn’t high on the list of things I’d like to do with/for/to my body. Sure, I can continue to do some road riding in the fall and winter…but most of that will be limited to stuff on the weekends, with rare exceptions when a brave (and properly dressed) friend/riding buddy wants to hit the road during a weekday afternoon. However for that to happen, all the stars have to line up in my schedule, too. That can be the greatest barrier to those rides.
For now…I have another big ride coming up this weekend. As long as this gunk that’s hit me doesn’t take me over, I’m doing it. Although, I’m not sure of my overall distance, yet. Some of my friends are doing the 70miles and another one is doing the century. They all want me to ride with them. We shall see. I guess for now I’ll take it a day at a time. That also means, I’ll wake up the day of the ride, look at the weather, see how my body is feeling and go from there. That’s all I can do anyway, right?