Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gravel: craven gravel-grubbing ravens

It's all mental. It's all mental. It's all mental. It's physical. That part, the physical, is also largely mental, until it's merely physical. It's all mental. It's all mental.

I sweat heavily. In winter (ie, 2/3 the year here), I run a risk of over-heating within my protective layers. I daren't underdress; I dress correctly but the sweat at my hands, feet, neck, face, congeal and freeze if I'm out for much more than twenty minutes. XC skiing, too. I start too cold, get really hot, then the sweat chills and my body thermometer gets screwy.

Warm temps, well, I just sweat. So for longer endeavors, I must monitor my fluid intake, but the stomach cramps and bloat aren't particularly pleasant, either.

Managed a couple nice rides in between rainstorms this weekend. Lonely trail ride Saturday, pretty and buccolic and whatnot. Wanted to make a 50+ out & back but the trail evaporated on me in Winsted and after 500 yards bushwacking in crushed cornfields, I lost spirit and turned around. 65 miles of gravel, no hills... Almanzo is going to draw some deep, dark spiritual blood this weekend.

Last year, I'd never ridden on gravel, nor completed a century ride. I managed to stay pedalling on ALL the hills. Four months later, with a lot more miles in my legs, I had no mental reserve for the hills: knowing they'd suck, I pulled the trigger on 'em early, and walked several of the biggest ones. When I tried to harden up and pedal instead, there was no fire to do it. Strange. Sucky.

I love cycling. It's a challenge and a thrill. It's dangerous--even if the overwhelming threat of vehicles and their distracted, hostile, oblivious drivers are avoided, there are still crashes w/ major consequences. It takes so little to hurtle us unprotected.

Rain is the rule (now that we seem 'safely' past the snow season), with torrential, stormy, ceaseless, lingering--so many types of rain, the mud people must have 1000 words for it. Better find a rain jacket that breathes a little, too, lest I melt or dehydrate myself during the 700 person leadout Saturday morning.

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