Putting It In the Proper Context.

This morning I put my bike on my car-top bike rack before work. I caught myself admiring the glint of the sun reflecting in the goop that always collects on my rear derailleur's jockey wheels. I should probably take care of that. At any rate, the fact that I was looking at my bike as a thing of grungy beauty is actually a good sign. It means maybe I've turned a corner and all is not lost this season. Riding a bike is something I really, really want to do instead of something I do because... well, that's just what I do.
 
Maybe it was the sun. With warm spring weather and green popping up all around me, it's kinda hard to have negative thoughts. This winter was difficult for me on several fronts, but the seasonal change has a positive effect on most of us. Long days. The streets are being swept, meaning you don't have to dodge piles of sand and last winter's broken beer bottles. The number of layers I wear for a bike ride is slowly coming down. To relax on the bike and stretch your muscles out in the warm air is a wonderful thing.
 
Maybe it was the unexpected result at Moose Run. A lot of things that I had nothing to do with aligned to make it happen, but I needed that mental bump to refocus on the season ahead. My effort wasn't perfect. I fumbled to get my cleat in the pedal for an eternity after the start. I ran empty for a little while in the middle. The hills were more of a struggle than they should have been. To put it bluntly, I was a hot mess on the bike. The field is stronger this year, with riders already putting down numbers I will never, ever match.
 
Yet, my average power wasn't too far off where I was last year or any of my other previous bests. I was more comfortable on the TT bike than before, probably thanks to riding at the Dome this winter. My pacing, while far from perfect, was light years ahead of what I usually employ. I can take away more positive than negative from the experience.
 
I'm still going to get crushed this year. I don't see another possible outcome. One mid-pack finish in a 10-mile TT isn't an indicator of world-dominating form. However, maybe, just maybe I'll be able to hang with the pack. Considering my dim view of my prospects for the season, that's a goal to shoot for. Hang in there for as long as you can. Pick your spots and mix it up when you can. Be stupid and blow it all to hell whenever possible. In other words, go out there and play bikes.
 
I'm the fat kid, and when I was young the fat kid always got picked on. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
 

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