Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I live in a place where I can ride most mornings. And such is my life that if I don’t get my ride in during the morning, it will get harder to fit that ride in with each progressing hour. I share with a few friends a classification of training days called the O.B.E.—Overtaken By Events. If you say, “O.B.E.” it may have been a good day, but it wasn’t a day with a ride. Your real peers get it.
That said, if I have too many of those days for any reason—flu, injury, work, a sick cat—I miss more than just the ride.
The fact is, the routine of getting ready for the ride itself is the calm before the storm. Being the first up, grabbing some food, mixing a bottle, getting dressed, picking the ride, pumping up the tires, the sound of the garage door and rolling out is as peaceful a start to the morning as I get.
The best part, though, is getting to the start of the ride, waiting for the others to arrive and then rolling out. The warmup gives friends a chance to chat, to catch up, congratulate teammates on recent placings and even goof off a bit.
These lighthearted moments that I miss most when I haven’t been able to ride. It seems odd, but the days of hard training run together so that one performance on a long straight may be indistinguishable from another; I can go weeks at a time getting to the top of a hill with the same five guys nearby. But those connections with other riders that I make when my heartrate isn’t in triple digits are an important part of what makes me a rider.
Of course, there’s another side to the routine. When I hit the door upon returning from the ride, I’ve got my actions scheduled to the minute, from warming the shower while I undress to pushing on my shoes as I run my fingers through my hair. Frankly, if I did intervals with this kind of precision I’d still be winning races.
That thought really doesn’t bother me, though. As I move through my day, knowing that I’ve had a ride and connected with other riders is enough to remind me that there’s more to my life than just a job and bills. No matter how bad a day gets, if I got a ride in, it can’t be a bad day.