Saturday, July 31, 2010

Top Secret Ride

So, I have a confession to make.

I've been pretty scared to ride outside lately. Especially alone.

I've had quite a few friends either taking tumbles or getting hit by cars this season--way more than usual. And the thing about swimming and running for me is that they are largely in my control. But cycling? You could be the safest cyclist ever, and someone doesn't see you know the rest.

About 3 weeks ago, my friend Laura and I were riding and there was a HORRIBLE crash behind me. I skidded to a stop, and the first thing in my head was, "Oh no, oh no, Laura's going to be lying on the pavement behind me..." Luckily, she wasn't. But a car had tried to turn left right into a huge SUV, and they ended up swerving. Swerving right about to where we had passed 15 seconds before.

It's in my head now. I'm hoping it will stop. Because I could get hit by a car taking the garbage out, you know? The world is dangerous. You can't just live in a bubble.

So I made up my mind that I was going to really just enjoy the ride today. I was not going to think about bad stuff happening, but focus on the sun rising, the heart beating, the legs pumping, and good conversation. I decided to meet my buddy Lapo (no that's not his real name--long story) for a 50 mile ride. But we both have a 2 1/2 year old son, so we know that rides like this are kind of a luxury right now. We decided to start early, around 6:30, and meet at the top of a hill descending down into what we like to call "the Valley." It would be mostly flat, with a few small hills. Nice and quiet.

Good to get my confidence back, hopefully.

Lapo's one of my buddies I've known since elementary school. He and I bought our very first road bikes together back in 2002 and decided to train for Pedal to the Point, the MS150 event out here in the CLE. We did it, too, and had a blast. We don't get to ride together nearly as much as we used to, but he's hilarious and has become a really strong cyclist, so I knew that it would make this morning ride better. At the very least, I'd be laughing too hard to worry about stuff.

I rolled out of my house about 6:35am, alone. It was quiet. Bug and Bean were tucked into their beds, and Matt was still sleeping. Mugsy the Wonder Pug snored in the kitchen.

I'm so used to riding with a partner or in the basement on the trainer with a movie that I rarely get those times alone. There's just something about cycling alone, before the world wakes up, watching the sun rise over the lake and the sky turning pink.

It was just what I needed.

Once I met up with Lapo, we had a nice conversational ride--nothing too fast, nothing too slow. I felt like I could go forever and ever, and the time just flew by. Amazing what riding with a buddy can do. We joked around, vented about stuff, commiserated about life with a 2 1/2 year old who never wants to sit down EVER, and just had a great morning. Before I knew it, we were at the top of the hill and it was time to head off to our separate little corners of the world.

I headed home alone again, and the world was awake by this time. I was defensive, but not nearly as scared. I remembered how much fun it is to just have you and the road for 50 miles, before anyone's up. Before anyone knows you're gone.

I got home, and it was my little secret. 5o miles under my belt, and Bug was still in his PJ's. It's like I never went.

But I did. And I'm so glad I did.


Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Yay! Way to get out there! I'm so glad you had a good ride!

Marv said...

Good post. Nothing like the long ride, a good partner, early morn to gain perspective and reassurance.

Siren said...

I'm always scared to ride on the roads. I hate that I could still get killed no matter how careful I am - it messes with me. Yesterday I went for a ride and circled cul de sacs for a few miles in frustration trying to find a street that went through to home that didn't require riding on a stretch of busy road. I actually pack up and drive to the country so I can ride on empty farm roads for any ride of real distance.

Janet Edwards said...

Riding with friends is the best! Hope you can find comfort again on the bike.

MissFit Island said...

I know the feeling. I ride a 6.5 mile loop near my house on Sat morning. Every time I finish one loop I go back past my house real quick to make sure everyone is still slleping and back out again for another loop. I managed 4 loops on Sat.

Good job to you!