May 23, 2019

One more year . . .

   Upon realizing how long it has been since I posted ANYthing in these pages, seeing a well-timed Facebook throwback, and the resulting recent revisit to a post I wrote a decade ago --- well, interestingly, NOTHING lately has inspired me to ride long again like basically reading a love letter about randonneuring addressed to my future self.  I'm not sure if it is "burn-out,", but I have not ridden a 200km ride since February '19, and my last distance beyond commuting was a gravel 104km ride back in March.  I let March slip by without a 200k ride, thus ending a streak of 10 rides toward the elusive 6th R-12 run, and I wasn't that upset about it when it happened.  I have been making really easy excuses to NOT ride long of late.  Reading that old post helps... and it's obviously been enough to get me out of the tedium of APA-format research paper writing long enough to get my fingers moving to a different drum.  Thus, this short post.  

Yeah, we're still here. 

So much has transpired since my return to the educational process over two years ago;  I have continued to ride, I managed to complete another R-12 (#5), rediscovered gravel with a rampant fervor, decided that "no, I'm not too old for this," thanks to my son taking up cycling and giving me, once again, someone to chase.  (He's difficult to catch, too ... yeesh...).  That got me losing a bunch of mid-40's body fat, and actually spending a lot of time really training this last winter, when not riding to work.  Strava has been transformative, personally, though it isn't the end-all, it DOES help me.  Fast is still not "everything," but it sure is fun to challenge oneself.  I spent too much of my life "settling" from a physical standpoint.  The work is good for me.    

I've successfully managed to be car-free (at least, to and from work) for over a year now, having the most "successful" winter of commutes since perhaps I first started trying to ride through all of the seasons.  I used Uber a few times during this particularly icy and nasty winter, but, I never drove myself to the office.  That feels good.  Still, in some ways, the mental baggage from such a winter has been a strong desire to pick-n-choose the rando events I want to endure.  Basically, if it isn't sunny with a double tailwind on tap for anything more than 30-40 miles, I haven't been interested.  I think, mentally, I NEED some sunshine.  Life has been busy, to say the least, and definitely challenging enough... which, tenders the desire to be mentally tested during that which should only exist to provide some much-needed personal stress relief.

As a result, I have skipped (or, justifiably missed due to my kids' graduation (or other) activities or my own homework) every single organized rando event in Kansas City this year, despite grandiose plans I made back in November when dreaming of Spring brevets.
 Depressing?  Perhaps... but, I also understand that enduring a massive amount of distance into a constant headwind may have only served to dig me deeper into the hole I've been sitting in, with regards to distance riding.  Commuting has been enough.

But, I'll only be in classes for maybe another year.  Just one more year.
One more year . . . 

This morning, however, I feel some hope.  I feel some sunshine amid the nearly constant potential for thunderstorms this week.  Sometimes, we see posts for a reason - considering I almost never hang out on Facebook.

Sometimes, a note we leave to ourselves, like the aforementioned post above that I just happened to re-read, is a good idea.  One thing I can suggest for randonneurs, even shorter-distance guys out there discovering themselves:  write things down.  Even if it is bullet points, or social media posts.  Save them.  Lock them away for later, or share them with the world... but, when you need it, they will be there.  The written word and a few photos transport us back to time and place unlike anything else - and we need the reminder.  Why are we doing this?  What's the point?  Man, I just can't do this anymore... do I still love this hobby?  YES, listen to your mind and body.  Take breaks.  Don't destroy yourself... but, when you need to get that feeling back, open those love notes to your future self, read them.  Read them twice.  Listen.  

Then you'll know it's time.  

We'll see you out there... and we may even see you on the longer distance stuff... 
Cheers, and - as ever - thanks for reading!

US-69, 2009... it's still out there, and I think I need to go find it.

"The woodpile", somewhere in Miami County, KS., on a personal gravel training loop I love.

Catching a pre-dawn training group while on the way to the office, for some unexpected and personally rare paceline time... which I promptly screwed up for everyone once I tried to go to the front.  Probably why I don't (shouldn't) race.