This weekend was my first solo ride in a while. On Saturday, I put out 140km with 2200m vertical ascent, about 50% of that with a cool group of triathletes and one Perel brother. Always decent. It was a steady ride, with no freewheeling and I spent much of the time just focusing on pedaling efficiently, trying to find the quiet power. It was showing signs of arriving near the end of the ride, but alas, fell apart on the last 2 ascents of the day, twice up to Signal Hill.
On Sunday, the solo ride was a test. 90km, 60km of it in flat out, bruise your back rain. 20km of it in that annoying drizzle where it’s just there, doing it’s best to annoy you. On tired legs, I had to make a deal with myself early on to be there, just there, in that moment.
I just pedaled, one minute at a time, just totally focused on riding with ease, oblivious, as much as possible, to the weather conditions.
I looked back at some of the rides (in my mind) I did in prep for Kona last year.
I found some strength in them.
Riding solo in bad weather is one of the best lessons you can experience. Energy management, route management, equipment management all need to be looked at a little more carefully. An energy bonk is just waiting to high five you in the face. Unpredictable wind conditions means taking the back route at times.
Solo gives me energy, despite everything it takes from me. Today I feel calm, tired but knowing that it’s in the bank.
Nobody can take that away now.
Solo let’s me empty the mental junk from a big week at work, from the stresses that I allow into my world. It’s the eye of the storm. The quiet center in a crazy world which I create for myself. It’s near close to being a reward.
Crazy, but true.
It motivates me, inspires me and gives me the quiet power I long to feel. Where the only noise in my head is the tires on the road, the crisp air whistling off various parts of the bike and the noise in my mind is absent and I am left free to play, to create new worlds out there before I head back into the fray where responsibility, commitments and circumstance intersect to form “my life”.