I'll have to remind you, the reader, that I'm fairly new at cycling. I probably have 2300 miles under my belt total... less than that when I took on Hotter N'Hell this year. That being said, I finished that 100 miles with 30 MPH headwinds and was pretty damn proud. I did not finish because I was some amazingly fit person who has been riding 100k's in their spare time, I finished because of sheer willpower. I just refused to quit... I watched so many roll by on the SAG and just couldn't. When I was about to call it quits, my co-worker waiting at the finish line sends me a text that says something about balls... and back on the bike I go. Balls? Me? You bet your ass... big brass balls hanging behind my Marine Corps Jersey.
The down side was that I pushed myself past, way past, my current physical limitations. I had nothing left in me for weeks after the ride and I'm lucky I didn't get sick testing my immune system like that. When I did get back on the bike, I just wasn't enjoying it. The love was gone... briefly.
Then, the winter rolled in and when it was nice enough to ride, I was at work. Weekends come and its raining... then its cold. Here it is January and raining like hell as I write this and I'm just itching to go for a ride. Problem is... I'm sick with a cold! This season has been really bad for cold and flu and everything else... I picked something up and have been fighting it for days. Today is Wednesday and projected temps for Friday are 70!!! 70 damn degrees. I plan on taking a half-day for work and getting on that bike. Come what may, no matter how I feel.
As for the title of this blog... I did feel guilty. Horribly guilty for not riding after HHH when the weather was nice. For not grabbing any and every opportunity to get on that bike. I'd look at the bike and hang my head in shame... remembering what this gal said to me right after HHH during a group ride "Yeah, the distance builders (AKA old people) don't come out after. Their not real riders, so they take a break for the season." How those words echo in my head... and the guilt got deeper. Shame that my lack of joy to ride kept me off the bike and how I must not be a "real" rider... I shudder to think about it.
That was last month... and at some point I realized I shouldn't feel guilty. I'm still new at this and I'm no first class athlete who gets paid to ride and compete. I'm no shameful doping asshole who lies to everyone. I'm a woman over 40 who got on the bike not long ago and only upgraded to the nicer one last January. I've worked my way up to those 40-50-60 mile rides and trained as much as I could for the HHH this year. I rode 100 miles my first trip out and I'm damn proud of that.
I had to realize that I don't ride to care what other people think of me, or anyone else. How rude was she to say such a thing? People who have ridden longer then she's been alive and she's referring to them as "not real riders." It just goes to show that our arrogance gets the best of us... I don't want to be that person... I don't want to be affected by that persons words... so, I wrote this as a reminder that "Thou Shall Not Feel Guilty" for all of us. And... maybe an arrogant asshole will read it too.
I will be back on the bike asap and happy for it. I'll train much more this year than last for HHH and finish it again. I will ride after HHH this coming year for recovery and to just enjoy being outside in the fall. I'll eat better, plan better, ride better, train better and be better for it. And if I don't have the urgency to ride again next season... I shall not feel guilty.