Monday, January 28, 2008

Not My Proudest Moment.

I rode yesterday and I don't really feel like writing about it but I guess I will. I'll just start by saying it sucked. Or, rather, I sucked.

It was a group ride out at a park where we don't get to go very often so I was actually looking forward to it. I haven't ridden my bike in a few weeks and thought it might be fun. So, see, my attitude started out okay, I swear.

We arrived and it was much colder than it felt when we left. The sun was out but it was not warm. At all. I really don't do well in the cold which is why I avoid winter riding, but I really had missed being on my bike so I put on a bunch of layers and decided to go for it.

I knew I was in trouble when we hit the first climb. I asked my legs to dig deep and got nothing back. Static. Crickets. Bad. The first loop we did was an easy one, just to warm up, and I was already floundering. I rallied a bit towards the end of the loop and started feeling a bit better, but my legs still felt pretty leaden.

We headed for a more advance long loop of singletrack and I fell to the back of the pack because I was afraid of holding back the faster riders. I got dropped again and again and again. They'd wait up for me, I'd catch up, and then off they went and I was still struggling. I should really never get all the way in the back because without the push-pull of the pack I have no chance in hell of keeping up.

About five miles in I got a second wind and rode with a couple of other people for a bit, but then it was back to Dropsville. I remember looking up and seeing the back of the rider ahead of me completely disappear from sight and got really depressed. So much of this is mental and riding alone for miles and miles when you are chasing a group is so draining. It's different from a solo ride where your time is your own. When you get dropped you never forget that the group is up there...somewhere, and the longer it takes you to catch up when they stop to rest, the shorter your rest time will be.

So miles of slogging through winter-sad trails, with nose running, toes numb, legs cramping is not my idea of a good time. I was probably a pain in the ass but I was mostly frustrated with how quickly I've lost any cycling fitness and how hard I'm going to have to work this spring to get it back. Damn. Hell.

I was dragging and exhausted for the last mile (I think we did fifteen miles?) and Kenny came to scoop me up and lead the way back to the car. I was too tired and frustrated to do anything but climb off and sit dejectedly in the car while Kenny put my bike on the rack. Sitting there completely rung out and embarrassed, I cried. I have very firm rules about there not being any crying in mountain biking, but yesterday was what it was. I guess you have to have a bad ride now and then so you appreciate the good ones? I'll try and remember that.

PS. On the way home Kenny stopped and bought doughnuts and that helped A LOT towards improving my mood.


f5000sl said...

Sorry to hear about your ride A. You are a great rider and everyone is entitled to an off day, or if you are me many off-days!

Keep it fun and simple.

I know that the pressure you were feeling was more you projecting it on yourself than the group's attitude toward you.

I've been there since I often tend to find riders who are either much slower or much faster, but rarely my speed. So years ago I resigned myself to ride and enjoy or simply not ride at all.

The way I think of it is, chasing down a group and running myself into the ground gives ZERO return for all the efforts. Running yourself ragged trying to catch up and you never get to enjoy what the trail has to offer.

I know it's hard to not feel down when you aren't performing to expectations, but hopefully you'll come to my way of thinking and leave the performance expectations at home. Just go to enjoy the scenery & experience, and the rest will come on it's own.

Lisa said...

Jay told me about your blog entry last night. I'm sorry about your crap ride but glad Kenny stepped in w/ the donuts!

Mallie said...

It happens to all of us. This Sunday I'm going to be the slower rider, as I'm riding a new-to-me trail and I'm kind of a puss when I don't know a trail. Just know that your friends don't think the same negative things that you do. I'll be lucky to keep my pals in sight.

Cut yourself some slack. You've been off the bike and it showed. No biggie.