Kamis, 08 Oktober 2009

3009 in 2009

In the pre dawn morning darkness, without any fanfare, I passed three thousand miles of riding for 2009. I do count miles on trainers and running miles so they aren’t all pure road riding miles, but they are all miles of calorie burning activity. When I entered the mileage for the day in my log I had 3009 miles.

For anyone with excessive spare time who follows this blog (and if you follow this blog, you have too much spare time) you may have noted my comments on my early morning rides this year beginning with commuting miles in the heart of winter and then fun pre work miles beginning in late May. Now it is dark and cold and these are pure training miles. When ‘Cross ends for 2009, so will these rides. In the meantime, I put on layers and continue my endless quest for the perfect glove for the given day. FYI; my trusty old PI full fingered gloves have a hole in the fingertip and I could feel that today.

About riding in the dark; Lights..

In the darkness, these rides are experiments in sensory deprivation. I suffer from light envy, but the price tag scares me away every time. Thus I ride with my feeble pale beam giving me cryptic hints of what lies ahead. When I am climbing at ten miles an hour the beam is fine, if not slightly forward of my relevant field of view. When I am churning on the Sammamish River Trail at twenty miles an hour in the darkness, the light only serves to let me know where the bushes are, and by determining where they are not, I am able to deduce where the trail is. The light doesn’t pick up the bumps, holes, and encroaching roots on the paved trail, so the unseen terrain throws me around. I label the bone jarring as ‘cross training, and thus justify the jostling. On the descents at thirty miles an hour the light is pitiful and I find myself contemplating my mortality every time. This morning I decided to purchase a ROAD ID so they can identify my broken body.

When I encounter other riders on the trail they are nearly all commuters who have amazing bright lights that blind me. As I see spots and struggle to stay upright and on the trail, I am reminded of a boyhood experience when my father took me to a college baseball field. The field was huge compared to my little league field and from home plate I couldn’t even throw the ball to the outfield grass on the fly. I realized I was a boy on a field made for men. That same feeling of inferiority hit me hard as I found myself passing rider after rider going the opposite direction with their laser beam lights virtually warming the asphalt as they passed. Meanwhile, I became aware I was defiling the bike trail with my wussy light. I felt inclined to apologize to the manly (and womanly) early morning hard core riders. I was glad when I was able to turn off the trail and make my way home on the less travelled side streets.

My level of interest when I awake for these early morning forays varies greatly. Today I was actually eager to go. Without fail when I finish every one of these I am energized and feel alive and grateful for the gift of the ride.

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