October 21, 2015

What's love got to do with it?

Well, everything really. 
Even though it took the better part of three weeks to finalize and post, the last ride report and update was a fun one to put together... But, relating things in type is time consuming.  I love doing it... Therefore, it's not a chore.

For some reason over the summer, riding to and from work became "hard", and I have just recently crawled back out of the cellar once again to regain my love for the simple act of riding.  The love there sometimes fades, and I'm not sure why.  I go into these phases where I start to tinker and tweak and build... And the love moves from the the activity to the objects used in the activity.  It's seems now that I'm back to the actual riding again, which is cool... And just in time for it to be cooler, season-wise. 

Leaves are back on the trails, squirrels are everywhere... yikes, there's one now ...and the longer nights are creeping in on both sides of the workday.  Maybe it's the solitude of night riding that really does it for me.  The lack of traffic, the bugs and frogs singing, the stars out... The gentle cast of a lone headlight beam on pavement, the distant moan of a freight train, and how you can suddenly hear cars approaching from miles away.  They see us, and we see them... And all is right.  Just now, typing this, I've watched two pair of evening cyclists silently making their way down the neighborhood streets, taillights glowing confidently, headlights painting their way forward as they dance along, drifting silently into the orange haze of overhead streetlights and disappearing again, over and over as they fade into the distance.  I love seeing that, and being that.  A more ambitious version of me would have already scheduled a dark side ride by now.... a less occupied version of me.  Those days will come again - right now, I love being a Dad far more.  But, an overnight 200k?  Yeah, I'm tired of stuff getting in the way, and chilly as it might be; well, I may yet grab October.

I love a good streak, but, apparently I've been afraid.  I don't know WHY or of what I am afraid, but, there it is.   I plan, I pack, I ponder, and I pack it in.  Again.  The excuses ever more elaborate, ever thinner.  I'm too cautious, too afraid to screw up at work, too afraid to let on that maybe the love is gone from long distance riding.  Is it?  No.  I honestly don't think so, because I keep thinking about it, gazing longingly into the illusion of depth and space captured in desktop background photos from PBP and local rides from the past.  Camping, brevets, often in deplorable conditions - and yet there we are, smiling.  There I am, smiling.  Have I become so cautious that I'm shying away from the adversity that has defined me as a person?  Why do I assume it's going to be horrible?  Why am I negative?  Is it loss of love? 

Does love have anything to do with it?

June, July and August all saw really awesome brevets and permanent, but, stuff changed... And change, for me, has often proved crippling.  Unsure, confidence shaken; despite being a part of a massive opportunity at work which has seen me thrust into the field of work I'd longed to take part in, there is nothing negative about Any of it.  Stress is lower, I'm sleeping better, and hopefully financials will change for the better so I can maybe relax for once.  But, it's still change.  Altered routines, new surroundings, new coworkers, new systems, new new new... During times where I should be hanging onto the things which remain familiar in my life, I instead panic and abandon them.  The three month streak resets, the rides to work cease... And the hole magnifies.  Now, weeks later, I am at last feeling settled.  While I would have liked to say that I triumphed and grabbed September at the 11th-hour with a good friend on an epic overnight ride, I panicked and dropped the ball.  All this while, still learning how to live better in my own head, there are still bumps and curves to negotiate.  October is growing long, and the question comes again... Do I want it badly enough?
Do I want I badly enough to get out there on my own?  I tell you, motivating myself in the wake of change has been tough.  I set a date, but, schedules are constantly out of alignment - the magic of the last couple years of almost being guaranteed a ride partner for the monthly 200k are gone, and stirring up the gumption to get myself out there has been tough.  This isn't guilt on anyone, just a personal observation; as my first ever R-12 took place almost exclusively solo, it took me a while to actually become cozy riding WITH other people.  Now, it's circled entirely the other way.  Do I still love it enough to get out there and grab a tough month like February solo again?  I can envision it... But, I remember positive visions of September, too... And it wasn't enough to avoid clamping onto the first excuse that came along to cancel... And I wasn't going to be solo that night.  What, precisely, is my issue?  Yeesh...

Lament no further.  As I have awoken now, apparently, I rise earlier, I dress faster, and I have taken to the intended fall season act of "JRA": just riding along.  I did so Monday, riding to mail a letter at the post office in Spring Hill, which is 12-15 miles away, depending.  I rode gravel and watched a few passing trains.  I watched the railroad crews working on the new second mainline running along US-169 highway.  I took a MMR "road" deep into the middle of nowhere and stopped in the middle of a giant field to connect with nature...just me, the sun, the wind... just "being".  I've taken sunrise photos, watch deer drop their guard and become at ease with my presence; just three animals near a winding creek enjoying the peace of a new morning.
It's been a while, but, the love is returning, and it feels great.  Cycling is a relationship between man and machine, and sometimes it wanes... But it never dies.  Yeah, its just a "thing", an activity, or exercise... But, its also a vehicle that takes me to places and states of mind that help me become who I'm supposed to be. 

What's not to love about that?


Steve Williams said...

I could have wrote this post, perfectly describes what I've been going through. I am ready for a DSR, and a cool 200k permanent with a partner or two.

kG said...

Game ON, my good man. :)