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Rediscovering One’s Vulnerability

October 1, 2011

Today’s Ride: 60km—Kilbride and back

Weather: Headwinds on the outward leg. Sunny, cool

After a series of rides where I’ve felt strong—nay, invincible—today’s ride was a bit of a gut shot and offered up an unhealthy dose of reality. It hurt. Really hurt. I just couldn’t get the bike moving today on the way out to Kilbride. Sometimes, it takes the first hill to catch my second wind—break through that initial wall—but never the second, the third, and so on. Even riding over Highway 6, I was still laboring, and the less said about Snake Rd. the better.

Maybe it was the northerly winds gusting up to 35kph; maybe it was my not planning to ride until the opportunity presented itself at lunchtime, having already eaten a heavy breakfast and snacks; or maybe it was the espresso and condensed milk (one hell of a lovely guilty sin) that I had at Domestique before rolling out (condensed milk is not a good cycling lubricant; it sat in my stomach and gummed up the legs for the ride’s first hour). Maybe some combination of all three. Regardless, today wasn’t much to be proud of, as I toiled against the wind and struggled up hills that on any other day (and hopefully this coming week) I would have ridden up without much thought.

The return leg was somewhat better. With the wind at my back (which never happens), I managed to stay in the bigger ring and make up some time. And it was a beautiful day. I cornered rather nicely on some of the back roads just before coming back through Waterdown, and turning into the sun on a very smooth and quiet patch of road, I sighed—not coughed or sputtered or gasped, but sighed. The silence of the road, bike, and surrounds, provided further satisfaction: on some level, that moment of tired pleasure is why I ride.

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