Nothing A Good Ride Can’t Cure

This was one shitty weekend. But I feel good.

Friday sucked ass because it was May first. Those who know me know why. It was the tenth one, too. For months I’d debated taking the day to drive up to Hot Springs. I never committed, though, and by last week it just wasn’t going to work. Besides, I didn’t want to make a big deal of it; risk melodrama. Still, it was what it was and even trying to act normal I spent the day pissed at the world.

My step brother commemorated the occasion by going to Arkansas to spend a few days in the woods. I wanted to go with him, but had to attend the Caddo job fair Saturday morning, hoping to land a better position for next year. The same job fair also cost me my Saturday morning ride. In other words, it had a very high opportunity cost. Wanna guess how helpful it was? Yeah. It did not put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

I did some yard work Saturday afternoon. That helped a bit. Then we had some big party thing to attend Saturday night. The wife had fun, I went home early. I just wasn’t up to it.

I consoled myself by thinking I could get a good night’s sleep and wake up ready for the Sunday morning ride. A night of serious thunderstorms cancelled those plans.

The morning was pleasant enough. Stuck inside by the rain, we had a nice breakfast, cleaned house a bit and then everyone took naps. By this afternoon, though, I was restless, depressed and grouchy. I knew I needed a ride, but after sitting around all day I couldn’t summon the will. It took me about an hour of waffling before I decided to hit the road.

Good choice. Only a few miles of easy spinning woke me from my slothfulness. After that I decided to punish myself and did the next twenty miles in an hour. Then I sat up and enjoyed the sights and smells of a gorgeous spring evening for the last five miles. Now I’m relaxed, happy and even looking forward to the upcoming week.

What changed? Nothing, really. Or nothing externally. Internally, those twenty hard core miles purged me. The saying is “no pain no gain.” The point is physical gain. You don’t get stronger if you don’t push yourself beyond what feels good. I think it works in other ways, too. When my legs are on fire and I feel like I’m about to puke my lungs out, I’m really not that worried about anything other than the immediate present: Pain and how much more I can take. Paradoxically, that physical focus helps me transcend all the non-physical aggravations and annoyances I was feeling before the ride. Even more oddly, those things don’t come back afterwards. Once the pain is gone, peace replaces it. Not just relief that the physical pain is over – though that is great – but tranquility. The punishment of the ride took away all the problems I had before the ride.

I know I’m not the only cyclist or runner or whatever who has experienced this. Heck, this may be the idea behind all those loonies from the middle ages who would whip themselves hoping to draw nearer to God. So maybe they weren’t crazy. Maybe they just needed bikes.

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3 Comments on “Nothing A Good Ride Can’t Cure”

  1. Mom Says:

    The problem with anniversaries is that they become more about the event than about the people who were involved. Friday was what it was, I agree. But, I am sorry that I didn’t simply call you and say “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years” and tell you how very much I love you and miss seeing you, spending time with you, and talking with you. Sometimes I am too concerned about saying the wrong thing that I don’t say anything at all. You are my son – I should say what is on my mind, regardless – I’m sure you’ll tell me if you don’t want to hear it. Life is Good. That’s what my t-shirt said that I wore on Friday. Life is good…..10 year anniversaries stink.

  2. Maurice Loridans Says:

    Sunday post storm was really sweet for a bike ride. My friend and I were coming back from a crawfish boil at Forbing Y. I think I recognized you South Bound on St. Vincent. Our ride was 16m round trip and left me wanting to do the same today.


  3. wheeler Says:

    if it was around five that was probably me. i took st. vincent out of town to the four way at the southern loop then to linwood, mayo, wallace lake, flournoy lucas, ellerbe and home through spring lake.

    those storms also got me the day off today. enough power was out around my school that the central office cancelled. i got a nice ride out to cross lake and back.

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