It always amazes me how I have these deep thoughts and seemingly great blog post content that rolls through my head while I ride my bike, but as soon as I stop pedaling and change back into everyday clothes the thoughts and phrases seem to disappear out of thin air like rabbits in a magic trick.
This week I made my appearance on dirt a whopping two times, which is two more times than I’d ridden the previous two weeks. I’m still dealing with my hamstring tendon flaring up off and on. I was trying to ride a bit more regularly at the end of March and early April after work with Justin, but every time I clipped into the pedals and sat down on the seat my entire face would scrunch up into pain and I’d try to contort my body to not feel so bad. It wasn’t just the hamstring tendon or attachment site, or pulling of the muscle, it was the front and top of my hip and my entire upper leg. So, needless to say I gave bike riding (and all other activity, except very easy and basic PT work) a rest until the Courageous Women of Dirt at the beginning of May. I managed to ride the next day on the road as well, and then didn’t ride again for a week and a half. Which brings us to this past Tuesday when Justin and I went on an evening mountain bike ride before heading home for the evening.
Following this guy around
While I had a little bit of discomfort off and on, we generally had a really good ride and I felt like I was riding okay. I’m slow, but it was still fairly enjoyable to not be in excruciating pain the entire ride.
Wednesday night after dinner I’d seen that Luke had been out at Vail dialing in his 29er and we’d all discussed doing a San Juan run one evening, but it hadn’t materialized. Few text’s later and we had plans to meet at the bottom after work on Thursday. And off we went!
Justin took off like always, trying in vain to “climb slow”, or as Luke and I preferred to call it – completely pegged. It was almost like old times with me chasing the two guys up the hill, going back and forth as someone dabbed or didn’t. I was enjoying the climb, dripping with sweat and effort, the sun slowly setting off to our left.
As we climbed and climbed and climbed (shouldn’t I be at the top by now? Only halfway?), I looked down at the two-lane highway below and the commuters… cars following one after another after another.
That’s normally where I’d be. But, not that evening. That evening I was far up above, tires clicking over decomposing granite, tough desert plants scraping against my arms, sun shining in the blue sky.
And eventually, we made it to Cocktail Rock for a short break
It was a bit strange to me to feel like it was like old times. Quite often on the bike all I feel is a little disappointed and nostalgic that the trails go by so much slower, that I’m in a bit of pain and discomfort, the fitness and skills lost, the lack of confidence… but, the past two rides I’ve felt more at peace. In some ways I think that the dirt bike riding has been a little beneficial to my mountain biking. For one, being on two wheels I think I’ve kept some balance and coordination, and for two… the similarities and differences and riding skills I’m trying to pick up on the dirt bike seem to help transition to the bike. I’m trying to ride the bike differently, position myself differently, and feel it out.
I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to have fun on my mountain bike the last few rides. It’s been a nice change.
I know that life can turn upside as quickly as not, but Justin and I are hoping for some traction at last. I’m trying to rehab and stay on top of my hamstring issues, we’re trying to buy a house, and hoping to find some flow in life at some point.
The mountain bike ride Thursday made me sort of realize, even as I was moving, climbing toward a destination, that it’s so easy to miss the “moments” in life. I feel like so much is just in flux that life for me is all about waking up to the alarm, having zero desire to get out of bed when the hour still reads “4:xx” am, rush to get dressed, make coffee, scarf breakfast while standing over the kitchen sink, rush to get in the car and sit in traffic for two hours, work 8 hours, rush to get in the car to sit in traffic for two more hours, hurry through dinner prep and dishes for 30 minutes of down time to rush to bed to do it all over again.
Those rare moments when sweat is stinging my eyes, my breathing is ragged, I look up and see a familiar back just in front of me, riding bikes, feeling almost like it could be last year, though knowing it’s not, and never will be again. Those moments when I’ve got a smile plastered on my face and I feel at peace can almost just be present instead of stressing out or worrying or rushing. Just be there.
Justin and I went back and forth as to what our first three-day weekend would hold (my first paid day off since I started!). We discussed blowing dodge and leaving the state, camping, driving and riding moto and mountain bike and just not being HERE. Instead we’ve got some good days planned with good friends; dirt bike riding, BBQs, and mountain biking. Just like old times.
Happy 3-day weekend. Enjoy it.