As I'm sure anyone who has read my blog even a couple of times can tell, riding for me is important. It's important for a few different reasons.
The first is that I identify myself as a rider and if I don't actually ride, then I must not have an identity. (I can see you trying to wrap your head around that one right now so I'll give you a moment.....ok, done?)
The second reason is that, as I've stated in more than one previous post, riding for me is therapy, anger management, conflict resolution class and a nice dose of Prozac all rolled into one nice, low cost session. (granted the low cost part of that statement is debatable if you look in my garage)
It's also a place I'm able to safely and in a healthy way, work out my competitive issues. (not that I'm in any way admitting there's a slim chance I may be slightly competitive)
Lastly, riding is pretty much the only exercise I do these days that doesn't leave me with aching knees and a sore lower back so if I'm not riding, I'm also not getting any exercise. This in addition to affecting my long term health, also affects my self esteem and self confidence. (yeah, there's probably a doctoral thesis paper in there for some psychiatrist, but whatever)
So, lately, I haven't been riding much. Life and family challenges have kept me off the bike and although the time off the bike has allowed me to get stuff done around the house, it hasn't been helpful for my attitude. The problem is, I don't see the situation changing a whole lot in the next several weeks....something has to change and unfortunately, I think it's going to have to be my attitude towards riding.
In the past, I've felt like I could do any group ride and although I'm never the fastest, I've been able to complete the ride and usually at a pace that allows me to avoid embarrassing myself. I've worked hard to get to this level of fitness. I normally ride 2-3x per week with at least one of those rides being a long, hard ride where I could pretty much empty my head of all the crap that builds up during the week.
I guess if there's any upside to my inability to ride is that my fitness level will fall off. How could that possibly be an upside you ask? Well, let me tell you. One of the things I really enjoy about riding is the way a long hard ride will leave me completely depleted and exhausted but doesn't hurt my back or my knees the way running used to. My assumption is that if my fitness level decreases, and I'm only able to do one short ride per week, that one short ride will become hard and will get me to my desired level of exhausted-ness quicker. (yep, in my head that actually makes sense)
So, as I try to find a new balance between work, home and cycling I realize and accept the fact that I'll be slower, and probably heavier, but still thankful for the time I get on the bike. Time spent clearing out the cobwebs and making circles with my legs while my brain checks out, even if just for a little while.
Who knows, maybe I'll even find a place where it's ok to not be in the lead group and not one of the "fast guys".....(yeah, right)