Ease Up There.

75 hilly miles on Saturday. Beautiful day. Have to make the most of it.
45 hilly miles on Sunday. Beautiful day. Have to make the most of it.
Monday rolls around and it's overcast with occasional light showers. The temperature dropped about ten degrees. The wife calls up and asks me if I can skip my ride and come home right after work. I jump at the flimsy excuse. Those last two rides capped off a week of intensity. I was cooked, and shifting around a rest day seemed like a good idea.
Tuesday arrived and the weather was still dreary. The moment I walked out of work to see how the sky looked, sparse-but-large drops of rain start falling. I looked around and decided I had zero enthusiasm for any of the routes in my immediate vicinity. It wasn't bad weather. It wasn't the kind that soaks you to the bone, even if you're not wearing a rain jacket. The road was wet, but the fenders were already mounted. I had everything needed to ride out of the parking lot but motivation. Turns out, that deficiency was enough.
During the drive home, I decided I really needed to ride. I wasn't going to push it. I wasn't going to climb or do intervals or any of the other things I normally do. I was just going to ride my bike in the rain for a while. I'm not sure what any of the millions of internet coaches out there would have said about riding or not riding when I felt like that, and I really don't care.
I pulled out of the driveway without a destination or even a general direction in mind. I'd get to an intersection and just go with whatever felt right. I ended up on a section of bike path I'd never been on (had no reason to go there) and took that for a while. As my bike wandered, my mind flitted aimlessly from one thought to another without locking onto anything in particular.
I waved at people as I passed, recognizing a few. Lots of runners were out, as they seem to thrive on rainy days. Not many cyclists were on the trails, but the tourists were out in force, determined to get the most out of their travel dollars. Nobody tells them when they sign up that cool temperatures, overcast skies, and rain are pretty much standard this time of year. With only a finite window of time in town, they try to make the best of it. They rent bikes and cruise up and down the Coastal Trail, occasionally asking someone how far it is to the end of the trail. I can relate, because I always get destination fixation when I travel. I might not get a chance to see a particular thing again, so I focus all my attention on getting there. I think I might miss a lot of stuff with that approach, but it's how I'm wired.
Not that day. I rode until I felt like I had ridden enough, then I stopped. With no goal to fixate upon, the "success" of the ride wasn't so easily quantified. My overall feeling after the ride matched the weather. It wasn't particularly good or particularly bad. Without strain to trigger the release of my normal dose of endorphins, my normal post-ride euphoria was blunted. My mind was relaxed, but not in the usual way. This must be how normal people feel after a bike ride.
Rides like that aren't going to be thrown into my normal routine. My saddle time is too precious to be wasted meandering around town. I just don't get much out of it. However, I'm glad I got out on the road that day. The miles I put under my tires beat sitting around on the couch being surly because the sun wasn't shining. Not every ride is going to be perfect, and sometimes aimless riding is just what the doctor ordered to recharge the batteries.
Back to intervals.


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