Wow, it's hard to believe how time flies. I haven't posted in a while and don't know where the time went, and now the 2011 Assault on Mt. Mitchell is less than 7 days away! Looking back through some old numbers, I am surprised to find that I am within a handful of miles from where I was this time last year, a little better than 1700 miles this calendar year. Even though I finished last year (and am forever proud of that!) there are a couple of things that concern me: last year I finished the Marquis de Sade and this year I was not able to climb White Oak Mountain. Also, I am about 30 pounds heavier this year.
I am taking comfort in these things: I do believe I can beat the 3:30pm cutoff at the Parkway, and once on the Parkway, I am hard-headed enough to slog it out and make it to the top. I think too, that I have learned a few things this past year to improve my technique, such as breathing and cadence, as well as becoming better at riding my own ride. I have accepted the fact that I am too old and heavy to be a racer, and I need to control that competitive thing in me that says, "that rider in front of you is only 100 yards off; you can pass him/her if you want too." While I hope to get into groups where we can work together pulling each other along, I want to go out there with the idea in my head that I am totally alone and need to make it to the top.
Something kind of funny to me: when I finished last year, I thought I would do the Assault one more time, just to see if I could get a better time, and then I would be done. This year's ride is almost a week away, and I am already looking forward to next year's ride. Why? Because I am 45 and not getting any younger. Biking puts a feeling in me like nothing else. I ride, I sweat, I hurt, and yet it's the most satisfying thing I have ever done. When I rounded that last right-hand curve in the parking lot last year, I felt like I was finishing the Tour de France! Like a new mother holding her newborn child, what was behind me wasn't worth thinking about, only what lay before me. At that point, I think I could have ridden another 100 miles.
So, anyway, totally changing the subject now. I was on a Saturday ride the other week and someone mentioned my blog. I was surprised to hear this person had been following my blog, and pleased that she didn't ask me, "what are you thinking?!" To me, this is not so much a blog as a journal or diary. I started doing this just to track my riding and make a few notes. I don't claim to be a writer and anyone with a computer can have a blog. But I have enjoyed it, and am happy to learn that others (three, I think) enjoy reading what I write. Thanks!
I am an RN, have been for about three years now, one of those midlife career changes. Except I have never had a career, only a series of different jobs. I have worked in a hospital for the last seven years, six of those in the ER, a Level One Trauma Center. If it's bad, it's coming to us. I have seen things that should be seen only in a war zone and cried over children leaving this world. Needless to say, it's a very stressful situation. I left the ER about a month ago to go to one of the ICU's. Still somewhat stressful, but hopefully helping folks heal and recover from whatever madness they have endured. I think the most stressful part is the learning curve I am in right now, learning my way around, new people, etc. It will get better, and I will soon achieve a level of comfort I can handle. Until then, there is my bicycle. I will continue to pedal as much as possible, giving myself what I once saw referred to as a "mental enema." A two-wheeled jaunt through the country is, to me, a great source of healing and making things right with the world.
Thanks for taking time to read this.
Be blessed, be safe.