I've hung it up, but only temporarily.
The last ride unfolded with relative "ease", what with the 50+F temperature, clear roads, and light winds; however, the calendar still reads "February" - and for me, mentally, things become difficult during this month. What I have to complain about, or struggle through, I can't possibly imagine; we've dipped into the single digits exactly once this year, and the region received a touch of snow this week, but, it really wasn't that bad - so if that episode comprises our "winter", what's the problem? I *should* be riding, not wasting, this rare and moderate February! The snow has since melted away, yet, even with temperatures climbing, I don't feel a yearning to grab the bike and ride. I would be foolish to resist my own, natural cycle.
Year after year, the second month's posts read nearly the same. Dreary, dreadful, laments about how tired I am, how pointless it all has become, blah, blah, blah.... the signs of trying too hard, flaming out, shrinking into the shadows of a long, hard winter's season. One grows tired of pulling on so many layers, squinting into a biting headwind, fumbling with gloved fingers ... and, even this year with those elements partly absent, one at least feels an inkling of having been riding in a continuous streak for one or two weeks too long. Time for a break.
"Did you ride today?" It escapes me why this question comes so often, now, while I rest - more than any other time of year. Guilt? No... not this year. For once I am content with my decision and don't find it necessary to make excuses. Unfortunately, the service life of some of my gear has done that for me. Personal breaks aside, a string of equipment failures has popped up - so, the bicycle needs a rest, too, it seems. Wheels are rebuilt, spares in rotation, tires on-order... all in good time; I nearly beg the UPS man to take his time, afford me these minor excuses so that my brain might rest ... just for a couple weeks. Come Monday, it'll be alright...
Surely as I write this, though, the next distance attempt looms. I have to maintain some semblance of an 'edge' to my blade, so cross-training continues.
I'm sleeping well, eating well, training well -- all while making note of the sun's gentle march northward on dawn's horizon. I wait, patiently, with my saddle at arms length, for that moment to arrive -- when my helmet buckle clicks home and pedals engage with their satisfying reports, I will set off into early Spring, renewed, refreshed and ready. Ready for ride "number nine"....OH yes....
"...wait for it.... now."