When I woke up on Saturday I was nervous about what was to come.
Not only had I stuffed myself with alcohol, rich foods and desserts the night prior, but it was also a ride full of many first:
- My first 80 mile ride
- I would be riding the entire thing solo
- My sense of direction is turrrrible, just turrrrible (bonus points if you get the reference)
- It was going to get pretty damn warm
- After the emotional debacle that was last weekend, I had no idea what to expect
To prepare for said ride, Coach Paul was nice enough to make me a route that was flat and always had cell service should something happen and Ambulance de Chicken Face needed to come and rescue me.
The concerns were plentiful. How was my knee going to react? Do I have enough fuel? What if I get a flat? How am I going to keep myself entertained for that long? I was confident that if my knee didn’t give me any problems, my mental stability would be the first thing to go. Riding that long by myself? Is this even possible? What am I going to think about that long?!
With my route in hand and a newly adjusted bike fit and cleat positioning to take strain off of my knee (thanks, Paul!), I strapped my Road ID onto my bag, prepped my fuel (including a full-size PB&J, three bottles with a CarboPro & Nuun mix), printed out the route map, ate my standard PB&J on a whole wheat English muffin breakfast, did a quick roll-out on my legs and was off.
The route included rolling through almost every city in the Tri-Valley area. To be honest, I missed a few turns and ended up in cities I wasn’t supposed to be in, thus, a complete East Bay tour. As I made my way through each mile and city, I was stunned. My knee! My knee! It’s totally fine!
I don’t know what happened or why my knee decided to put its temper tantrum on hiatus, but I won’t ask questions – I’ll take it! I rode with a ridiculous grin on my face. Giggled as I saw four turkeys literally crossing a crosswalk Beatles style, met and chatted another cyclist who had a stuffed-toy raccoon on the back of his bike, waved to other cyclists as we passed, took in the view of wineries, hills, barns, cows, you name it. In fact, I even stopped in the shade for a brief moment and offered a cow part of my PB&J – he wasn’t having it.
Hey cow. Want some PB&J? No? Well, say hi to your motha for me, ok?
I just kept riding, getting lost, then riding some more, and I loved every damn second. And my fears of talking to myself for that long? It was actually not a problem at all – in fact, it was quite refreshing. Sure I have alone time, but for that long? Never. You name a topic and I probably thought about it. It was exhilarating.
When I came home from the ride, I burst through the doors where I found Chicken Face asleep on the couch. I woke him up and literally did a happy dance. He just looked at me like I was crazy, but you better believe my booty was shaking with excitement! I slipped on my running shoes, went out for a quick transition run in the heat, and came back for more happy dancing.
Sunday had a 10-mile run on tap. Curious yet again and wondering if my knee could handle it, I made my way throughout my town with another rush of excitement. It was the first time in a long, long time that I felt myself again. In fact, it was the first time in months that I thought to myself again, this is who I am. It was the moment.
If my perma-grin isn’t coming through yet, trust me, it’s there.
I’m not going to rush it, I know from my last experience that these feelings can immediately be crushed with one bad move, or pushing it too soon. But for now, I’ll be on my endorphin-fueled cloud nine if you need me.