Friday, September 12, 2008

Riding at that place known as …..the Edge….

I know you’ve been there. It’s a great place to ride….as long as you stay within the Edge and don’t go over the Edge…..

Some days getting there is easy….you start off feeling great….start cranking along and pretty soon you’re there….just rippin it up at the Edge. Legs turning, lungs pumping but not burning, wheels humming along effortlessly over the bumps and dips and washboards….it’s almost as if you and the bike are one. Perfectly balanced and fluid.

The challenge though is to not go over the Edge. This is where your lungs feel like they’ll explode, you can feel your heartbeat in your ears, every bump throws you off your line and you just can’t get in the groove….

As I’m sure you’ve figured out, the Edge is not a specific place as much as a mental and physical state. And it’s fun when you’re there. I’ve had some great rides there. Rides where I’m really strong going uphill and really smooth and fast going downhill….I love those days…..

But, last night was not one of those days…

One of our group suggested a new route and we, like the lemmings we are, joyfully agreed. The first part is nice. It cuts out some miles and a couple of the climbs. The problem is it also cuts out the one long climb and replaces it with a shorter climb. Which, I assumed, would be a good thing….well, you know what they say about assuming….it was only after getting a little more than half way up that it dawned on me that I still had to get to the top of the ridge and substituting a long grinding climb with a shorter one would require the shorter climb to be steeper….MUCH steeper.

I quickly went over the Edge….I could feel my lungs preparing to explode, I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, I couldn’t get enough air and did I just feel something “pop” in my calf???? Whose FREAKIN idea was this route anyway?????

And…to top it all off, when we finally did reach the top, which I must confess required walking, I find out that the genius that suggested this route had bailed and was headed back to camp (with some lame excuse about mechanical failures….riiiiight)

But, we survived and eventually made it to the top where we crossed the road and caught on to our normal loop. The worst part is that I never really did recover from going over the Edge. Sure, my heart rate settled down and I was able to shove my lungs back down into my chest where they belonged but my rhythm was off the rest of the evening. I somehow left my groove halfway up that first hill.

The only upside to all of this is that the guy that picked the route will end up spending a lot of money on a new bike which for some sick and twisted reason does make me feel a little better….

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