05 March 2009

He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span...

With more spring-like conditions as of late, I've finally been able to get out on rides longer than a couple hours, also without being layered to the point of suffocation. I would trade the most beautiful days in the summer for 45-65 degrees all year long. That is my comfort zone, and I revel in those days where your ride may start a little chilly, warming only slightly, and maybe cooling off again by the time your done. This is really the only time of the year when I get to do my long rides. The rides that clear my head, but at the same time make my imagination soar. My latest fun purchase was a digital voice recorder. I feel like tacky journalist in a bad movie with it, but its the only way for me to capture my thoughts out on a ride. Until now, I just had to cross my fingers and try to remember all of it. I've had some marvelous ideas, and crucial discoveries about myself on my bike, and now I can hang on to those.

Its this time of year that I also find the most beauty in my surroundings. Some people need the trees to be full of colour and life, but I find that the landscape is at it's most distilled and honest at this point. There isn't any hiding the true appearance and character that sometimes gets lost with the coverage of leaves. Granted, I do love the fall, but more and more, I feel drawn to the weather that makes you suffer, and that leaves a mark on you. Everyone knows those rides, the ones that make you feel like you left part of yourself out on the road. The ride took something from you, and you're better because of it.

When I get asked about who the greatest cyclists were, I never think of the glamourous, showy cyclists of the Giro and Tour. I look to the workhorses that race in every Spring Classic that they could get into. The hollow faces, and the look of complete destruction that shows in each of these hardmen. These riders left everything out there, and the road has attacked them with anything it could. I look to these rides because I like to hurt; I like to feel a pain that I'm inflicting.

I've been drawing up a road schedule as of late, with the notion of racing quite a bit. I've got a local Spring Classic series that should be some good competition, but it also is a venue for me to make others hurt. Thats one reason why I bother to toe the line. I have that urge to hurt people on a bike; to inflict pain by burying them so deep that they can't see straight. I can do it to myself, and have now for a few years. Back in my messenger days, when I would sprint through traffic, I would go hard enough that my legs would swell so bad after work that I could sometimes hardly walk. That hurt was what i needed to feel, and what I wanted. It was something other than the pain and hurt that other aspects of my life brought me.

I've scouted out some of the courses, mapped them with my Garmin, and toyed with some setup changes. My power is good, my legs feel good, that burning is there, and that is ultimately what counts for me. For now, I'm stuck in the 4/5 races, but I hope to move out soon. I know that I can inflict pain in those races, but I do like the pain from getting beat up from faster folks. So, my big goal is to get to 2 status, but I would settle on being a race winner in the 3 field. Its a high bar to set, but thats what I need. I need to feel like I'm buried and in over my head. Thats how I felt at nearly every UCI event this year. It was so intimidating, that I drew some energy from just being scared. I liken it to being cornered; the only way out is to swing.

For the first part of this season, I look to be the one in the corner, and later to do my fair share of swinging.

No comments: