May 30, 2011

The Quiet Serenity of Humiliation

Made It!
Originally uploaded by Snak Shak
The weather window opened wide enough today to allow a fellow bikelover and I to ride to Coon Rapids Dam and back this afternoon. I was glad to get a longer ride in, and I am glad to learn more about the northern 'burbs, which I NEVER go to, but there's some good riding up there.

The extent of the damage from the recent North MPLS tornado is sobering; I have looked at a friend's photos on Flickr, but it's much more powerful to see the damage in person, even though I am sure some clean-up has been completed. Nevertheless, we had to hop barricades, go off-path to avoid large downed trees, and were shocked at the extent of the damage to North Mississippi Park.

The ride up was wonderful - conversation, topography, scenery (for better or worse). Fantastic. After resting up a bit at the Dam visitors center, we crossed to Coon Rapids and turned south - straight into 21 mph headwinds. I am not talking a cross-wind or a breeze here; I was f-ing sandblasted by road grit for miles.

The wind, combined with the sudden heat and humidity (and the admitted lack of miles in my legs) combined to make for a, um... "bad" finish to the ride. I didn't exactly "bonk" but after getting lost on the way home and dragging myself miles off course, I was spent. I think I could have made it pretty easily if I didn't get lost, but when I figured where I was and sized up my options, I hung my head and called in for a dust-off. Given the time, my state of mind and level of fitness, it was the right decision, but it still irritates me that I was a DNF on my own ride. What is the cycling equivalent of "eyes bigger than stomach?".

Despite my irritation with myself, I feel wonderful after a shower, a beer and supper. The exertion, the miles, and the mental gymnastics that come with riding with another person have soaked up a lot of stress and worry, and nudged my state of being into what I can only describe as serenity (albeit, with an suggestion of annoyance at needing a sag wagon).

Still - this ride was good for me. It's really the only longer ride I've done so far this year, and it was good to get to know someone I only yuk it up with on the internets.

We'll see how I feel about riding to work tomorrow....

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