Mar. 16th, 2010

Nearly 75 miles -- 65 on the actual Grizzly Peak Cyclists' Alex's Second Saturday Ride, 9.5 getting there and back. With hills. Pig Farm Hill, Reliez Valley Road, Norris Canyon, Redwood Road, South Pinehurst Road. And I was "leading" a group who were all faster than I am, so the pace was a bit quicker than the last two -- 13.3 mph average towards the end, 14.4 towards the beginning.

Is this a party or a mitzvah? Well, both, maybe. It was splendid riding today, perfectly clear, cold but seasonable, and the new grass and croaking frogs and daffodils by the roadside. Still, if I'd been going out just for fun I'd have done half the distance (and missed the daffodils). After 50 miles, riding becomes mostly managing things: monitoring the leg muscles, shaking out a hand gone numb, shifting gears, plotting lines through turns on descents, calling out hazards, keeping one's spirits up.

The last of those is most important. As Yogi Berra said, "Ninety percent of this game is half mental." The main obstacle on a hill is not the climb, it's your own mind and its tendency to freak out. Keep that under control, remember that you CAN do it, and you can do it. Maybe not as fast or as many times as that hotshot zipping by you on a single-speed, but you can do it.

Oh, and noticing the daffodils. That's important too.

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Gan Ainm

September 2010

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