Get Up, Get Up, Get On It

Do you feel that?

It’s a lull.  It’s a big-assed lull.

It’s like the holidays hit and then passed and then dried up and now we’re here with this wind and that flooding.

I wake up in the middle of the night and there is a bar room brawl in the tree branches above me.  Violent.  This weather is violent.

I’ll be unpopular for saying it, but I still kind of like it. I grow weary of July’s hot sun and August’s dragging yellow happiness.  I’ll take the gray and blue and jaggedy edges, at least for a while.  This is the right time for it.  Things are as they should be.

Even still, I hate riding into the wind.

On the Character Building Scale it’s way, way, way up there.  And coach always says, “It’s a great workout.”

I used to say that to Sal back when we lived in the Bay Area and I only rode my bike twice a year.  No wonder he rolled his eyes at me.

But it’s soul-crushing, isn’t it?  All that work for so little velocity?  The sideways lean required to keep you alive over the St John’s Bridge?

Last weekend was cold, but distinctly un-windy.  HG and I layered up and climbed and climbed and climbed until we were surrounded by snow and clouds and undulating, looping, skinny roads.  She climbs like she was born to do just that one thing.  I think she came out of the womb with her hands on the hoods and an Attack! glimmering in her eye.

She weighs nothing or negative five pounds, I can’t remember which.  In fact, she wears arm warmers for leg warmers.

You think I’m kidding?

We descended in a deathly chill and suddenly the 30 pounds I had on her seemed quite useful.  Our top lips were frozen stiff so we may  have appeared miserable but the fact was we could not have smiled if we tried.

Warm convenience store coffee plus sugar never tasted so good. We drank it in that desperate way that frozen people do, taking turns cupping our hands around the outside.

Winter is like this.

Every ride outdoors is an adventure, a gift, a relief, an exhale, a question mark, a journey, and a triumph.

On the other days we sit on trainers or rollers without the interference of nature and tempest and focus solely on our bodies as machines – engine, pistons, torque, and power. Sweat and agony and zero glory. Just fact and calculation and suffering. We sit and make perfect files that we will later exchange for a calculated increase in fitness.

I have not yet figured out the Trainer-Roller Economic Exchange, but I am still hoping that the feds will cut the rate.

Then US News and World Report can write an informative article about “what the rate cut means for me” and I’ll celebrate the good news and then refinance my Training Peaks account.

Happy Spinning,
Heidi

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5 comments

  1. Amen sister, amen. Nothing makes me shout out curses like the strong headwind that, I swear, changes directions just to taunt me when I think I’ll have a tailwind for a bit.

  2. What a great descriptive post. Heidi, I’m always impressed when I read your posts, no matter what the topic.

    Would you consider contributing your craft to the community book-writing project at the Lounge? We’d love to have your talent.

    http://blog.runnerslounge.com/2009/01/weve-been-thinking-it-over-it-for-a-long-time-at-runners-lounge-weve-wanted-to-make-the-most-of-the-forum-discussions.html

    Keep up the great writing, riding, and running!

    Tom

  3. Just remember, almost no wind can match the viscous wind we hit on the Timber ride last year! I still remember the team stretched out in two huge echelons across Dersham road struggling to do 15mph.

  4. As the good RP would say… HTFU. Or you just need a good wind block. I think Karsten would work quite well… tho we might drop him on the hills.

  5. Ha! Kman – RP would say stay inside!
    He’s the biggest sissy out there! :) Kidding, kidding.

    Matt – You are correct. That wind is known in my mind as “The Headwind That Almost Killed Me”

    Oh the pain!

    Tom – thank you so much – I’ve sent you an email.

    Paul – So true. The first brevet I did last year was 200k covered bridges. Flat as a pancake. I was trying to draft off Natalie Ramsland, who is three inches wide. There was a headwind in every direction. For ten miles of it, Sal sat on the front and smashed out 19-20mph (which was f-ing nuts in that headwind) and we all just got in the drops, gritted our teeth and held on for dear life. When it was over he explained that he was just “getting that part over with faster”. Needless to say he was banned from the front of the paceline for the rest of the trip, wind or no.

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