I’d been looking forward to these three days for a long time. I’m a cycling novice, but have been training hard for several months in preparation for my biggest physical challenge in life thus far this coming March – as three of us attempt to cycle just under 3000 miles across the USA from LA to Charleston (see www.bikeforburundi.com). Could my body handle doing three days of 100miles/day? I was feeling in good shape so thought I’d be OK. What happened?
So yesterday I launched out on my first100miles with about 200 other cyclists as part of Festivelo in Monck’s Corner. I didn’t know the route and didn’t want to get lost, so I stayed towards the front, as most participants were just doing the 60miles course. That meant I ended up unintentionally with the big boys, so I had to keep up with them. Actually, it was wonderfully exhilarating. I’d never been in the peloton, feeling the boost of having someone in front cut through the wind and thereby making it easier for me. I even took my turn at the head as each one peeled off. And I’ll be honest with you, it felt great. Inside I was thinking: “I’m the man! This is easy. I may be the new kid on the block but I’m cruising, it’s a piece of cake. I feel sorry for those slow plodders way behind us, etc…”
How wrong I was! What a moron!
I was leading the 200 cyclists. The leading group was whittled down to six of us. I kept up with them for 60 miles, going way faster than I normally do. Then it was just three of us. “Yes, I really am the man!”
And then I got this progressively more searing pain in my knees. I knew I was in trouble. It very quickly dawned on me how stupid I’d been. My body just wasn’t ready for what I’d put it through. I struggled those last few miles, and went back home for a hot bath. I could hardly negotiate the stairs.
Up at 6am this morning. I was probably in denial, but I was determined to try again. Would my knee hold? Well, I knew within the first mile it wouldn’t, so I quit after five miles. From leading the peloton the day before to being the first quitter on day 2 – from hero (not even really) to zero!!! What an idiot!
So I’m not feeling down on myself. I gather many others have made a similar mistake, so I’m not the first overzealous clueless enthusiast to overdue it on his debut team run out, and I won’t be the last. No, I’ve been laughing at myself throughout today, annoyed that I’m missing out on the challenge and camaraderie of being out there with the gang, both today and tomorrow, but recognizing my pigheadedness has caused me to learn a very useful lesson before the really really big ride in March/April. There’s a sermon illustration in there somewhere. Who said ‘pride comes before a fall’?