Had such a great ride yesterday that the feeling got the best of me. Wanted to repeat that wonderfulness again today. So I planned a loop in my head, without looking too close at a map or anything smart, besides I knew it all, just never ridden it all together. Just packed up my bike and went for it.
The first 20 miles fly by on smooth level pavement. I feel great, the bike is smooth and fast, the air is warm and calm. I hit dirt, turn south and for the first time notice the wind. The crunching gravel, the rolling climbs and the wind make me suddenly feel like I am dragging an anchor behind me. Damn what happened to that glorious feeling of flying that was my company yesterday? Still I crank the pedals, even trying to throw in a few hard efforts here and there. Then I really feel it, the hot lead filling up my legs, the tired-lack-of-punch deadness of feeling a bit cooked. The clock is ticking, the low November sun getting lower, I have no time for going slow.
I try and keep a good pace, I try and hammer the hills. Oh it aches, it hurts, my heart rate bounces all over the place. I feel that “damn I suck” feeling welling up. Why am I such a putz, such a wimp? Why does doubt always challenge me in these moments? With things like the TD in my head I am ashamed at being this easily fatigued. “Suck it up Buttercup” I tell myself, get after this Now! The sun is casting huge shadows, hiding behind the dark timber. I climb the last few steep little climbs, I eat my last morsel of food, put on my reserve layers and point it home. Somehow I manage to keep the throttle mashed all the way home. Standing up out of the saddle, giving it all I have, racing the setting sun. Tired, cold and drained from the day I arrive at home. The GPS tells me it was 66.6 miles today,,,hmm, no wonder. Despite feeling low and slow I managed to average 12.4 mph…Ok, Ok, I can live with that!