Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rain and Change

We got some rain.

We need it.  I really shouldn't complain.  We've been in the midst of a worsening drought, our regional lakes are 10' or more below pool.  The region is in varying levels of mandatory water conservation, and many counties have burn bans due to tinder-dry conditions.

So, I shouldn't complain.

One of the hardest things about road cycling is the monotony of the road itself.  If you ride alone, you're left to your thoughts.  Some days I can keep them pushed back, I can enjoy the bike, and enjoy the ride (or enjoy the suffering I had planned); other days life's daily trials, the stress of living, dominates my consciousness and it's all I can do not to turn around and go home.

I don't ride road solo much anymore.  I find I really can't, I find that the churning in my head leaves little will for burning in my legs or gasping in my lungs, let alone the buzz of traffic or the bumping of typical country Texas roads (still with the occasional traffic).  As summer comes, the heat will serve to further drain away desire.

I shouldn't complain.

Flashback - a cold February 2013, and I had no desire to ride.  None.  I would come up with reasons to skip rides, none good but they always worked.  Without the outlet, I was a strain on my family, my coworkers.  One day, on a whim, I wheel out my old Trek hardtail and hit a local trail.  It hurt.  A lot.  And despite skipping every remotely technical section, I couldn't complete the bunny hill trail without stopping.  I sucked.

But I was hooked.  I beat myself to a pulp, pushed my capabilities to the limit.  A month later I'm in my local bicycle shop (LBS) buying a full suspension Rocky Mountain (because we all know it's about the equipment).  Another two months and I'm riding in a 4-man team at 24 Hours in the Canyon in Palo Duro Canyon.  I was over my head, but my goodness I was having fun.  In between (and despite) tree sideswipes, washouts, crashes, and bruises, I was having fun.

Today, I shouldn't complain about getting rain.  But I'm thinking about it.

Sometimes, it's "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."  That applies so very well to training; if you don't commit to the challenge, you'll never reap the rewards.  You can only get stronger by doing what you're weak at.  Other times, it's about change; maybe you need to stop being a road bicycle primadonna and get a little dirty on the MTB.

So while I am in need of change, we got rain.  I'm trying not to complain, but the trails are closed.

It's almost a metaphor for life.  We become settled, consistent, we train ourselves to live expertly, but only within the confines of the world we've carved out for ourselves.  We become comfortable; but familiarity can be restless and even unhappy.  When it rains, we look for change but can't find a path that is open for us.

It's that very rain that allows those paths to exist in the first place.  I'm not going to complain.  The sun is out.  The sky is clear, springlike blue.  There's a breeze through the leaves.  In time, a trail will open, and I'll seize the opportunity for change.  I can wait for that new trail.

For now, I think I'll grab my bicycle and hit the road.

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