Living in Gunnison, Colorado, we get spoiled by the pretty regular sunshine, almost everyday the sun pokes its head out and it is nice for a bit. I am very much accustomed to being able to get in an abundance of rides, lots of sunny days, plenty of pleasant pedaling windows. Normally when a nasty wet day does occur you take the day off, read that book that you’ve been ignoring, clean the house, take a nap. Sometimes when we get a few wet days in a row I tend to freak out, get grumpy wondering if it will ever end. I tend to drink even more coffee, perhaps even more beer. I don’t ride so much, I fall into chill mode and wait for the sun.
Problem is I still like bike racing and have two races in the early season and neither is a cake walk. Slacking is not training, training is not waiting. I need to motivate and ride in this crap, I did this in 2011 getting ready for the TD. By that spring’s end it used up a lot of my will to ride without the sun. I still have fun, I still enjoy the ride even if it snows, rains, my feet and fingers freeze, I really do. I can only think of a few bike rides in my whole life that were not good, or actually bad. That was only when someone got hurt, and those were fun up till that point.
It is that act of getting out the door, dressed for success, ready to face the wind, the cold the wet. Sort of like getting out of bed when all you want is more sleep, but once you get moving it ain’t so bad. Still it is a struggle when the warm golden sun doesn’t beckon me forth. I ply myself with tough love “Just get out there, damn it” “Suck it Up, Butter Cup” Berating doesn’t always work. Sometimes it just takes a while for it to happen. Going out for a good ride at 4:30PM is just fine, but if I have the day off I feel so guilty for not being out there all day long. Today I didn’t get out for a ride till 1:pm. I was just fussing with this and that, working on my bike, stretching, putting up pictures from that mornings dog walk, doing laundry. But inside this murmur of ” you need to be riding, you should be riding….” On and on.
Finally I get layered up and plan on a road ride as the rain and snow from last night seems too much for the dirt to absorb. The sun is out and feels warm, till you step out from behind the house and the wind hits full force. In my mind this wind rolls east from the Himalayas across the world, unchecked till it ramps up for crossing the Divide. Still I head west, cause if I don’t know where, I go west. Straight into the wind, blowing me all over, making it hard to keep a good cadence. At the first dirt road I turn going south. The wind just sucks. I can laugh at it, but it also makes me curse. Maybe it makes you tougher, but it still sucks. The dirt is good, dry, driven and packed in, so what dirt roads should I ride? Gravity pulls me along blindly and there is Josie’s Trail. I know it will be dry if the road is dry and we climb up it in the upcoming Growler. Turns out to be super tacky, no mud, one puddle, perfect. Hard not to follow one trail with another, so turning onto Gateway, should know better, wet clay! Instead I head back and flow on down Josie’s again. Why not? I turn and ride back up and smile my way down again. The wind is still punishing and making riding perilous, but I am riding dry singletrack!
Sometimes, you just gotta have faith. Make the leap and get out there, it’s like Mother Nature is testing your true desire and will. I feel like she’s asking me, “do you really want to ride? how bad? It could be cold and nasty, sure you want to go out in that?” Every damn time it is worth it. Yet today my body felt awful, legs dead, back tight and sore. Proof that I need those miles, those nasty, soul building miles in the wind and the rain.