Back to the lair

I call my basement office the “Low Cadence Lair” (what it looked like back in 2009). Over the last several years, I would like to know how many miles I’ve ridden down there! I’m certain the whirring of the trainer has been heard for dozens of hours. Well, the sound returned last night for the first time in many months.

13 minutes in to the first trainer ride of the winter

13 minutes in to the first trainer ride of the winter

As I was groaning about to roll out of bed Thursday morning, the beautiful redhead whispered in my ear, “You need to exercise today.” Rather than hitting her with a pillow, I agreed. It wasn’t just for the physical benefits of it, but for the stress release as well. I determined I was going to get on the trainer that evening.

After a bit of delay due to the fact I couldn’t find the skewer for my trainer, I got the bike set up and climbed on board. I had the same feelings that I have at times when I’m about to set out on a ride that I know is going to be a long one… this wasn’t just the start of a trainer ride. It was the start of the new season!

I had a dread of 1) the boredom of an hour being spent going nowhere, and 2) the realization that this would reveal just how out of tune I am. To battle the first issue I started a  movie on my iPad. I figured I could avoid number 2 by spinning easy this first time and just letting my legs get back in the motion.

Wow! The basketball business was hurting! One thing this all has revealed is how desperately I need to cross train. My non-cycling muscles had all kinds of aches and pains going on. It was even affecting my stroke on my left side. Some tendon on the backside of my knee was tight and caused me to pedal blocks and swing my heel out with each revolution.

Those negative thoughts began to seep in… “I’m getting old.” “Most of the guys have been out doing long base mile rides. I’m so far behind, I don’t know if it is worth it.” “Do I really want to go through this again?”

The voices in my head got so loud that I even turned off the movie. I wasn’t paying much attention to it. I just silently spun for a moment being lulled into a trance by the rhythm of the spinning wheel. By this point I was starting to warm up and the pain and stiffness was leaving.

I raised my head and looked around the room. Right in front of me were jerseys covering the wall. Each one of them told a story… Assaults on Mount Mitchell, Challenge to Conquer Cancer rides, podium finish in the state criterium championship, and numerous charity events. There was that Greenville Spinners jersey from my first ever win.

All those memories started pushing against the negative thoughts. It has been a good ride over the last five years or so. Whatever the future holds, the bicycle has been good to me.

Perhaps where I have gotten off course is trying to be something I’m not. In my mind, I’ve always seen myself at the front. I’ve wanted to be one of the “fast men”. Early on, I was. However, as you move up it takes more and more commitment to stay at the front. It is a commitment that I now realize I can’t invest.

You know, that might sound like a negative thought. However, it is freeing. I’ve got a lot of great memories of success to hold onto. I’ve also got a lot of great opportunities and memories to make off the bike.

I looked down at the meter and saw my hour was nearly up. My legs were feeling pretty good (though that one push for a few seconds at around 750 watts reminded me I’ve got work to do before spring). Best of all, my mind was feeling pretty good.

Me and the bike are going to have a more mature relationship this year. I’m looking forward to it.