This weekend, I got the idea in my head that I should hop on my bike and see how many miles I could crank out in a single day. I had MLK day off from work, Husband didn’t, and preschool was still open, so I had the day to myself. Why not?
Getting wild ideas isn’t a new thing. My brain is weird and will sometimes lock onto an idea like this and absolutely REFUSE to let it go, even if it’s illogical or otherwise ill-advised. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s linked to my OCD somehow. Generally, I either work hard to logic my way out of it (which doesn’t have a great success rate), or to find a sensible way to make it happen. And the latter is exactly what I did.
Cue the massive preparation of someone with anxiety issues! I hopped onto MapMyRide and the county DOT’s interactive map to figure out my route, which would take me in a loop around the city. I made a list of everything I’d want to pack– tools and tubes to fix a flat, snacks to keep me going, bike lock so I could leave my wheels outside somewhere as I ran into a store for water, first aid kit.
And through it all, NOT ONCE did my brain say “hey, you’re going to be super sore and you might be absolutely miserable out there.”
Six years ago, at my highest weight, I never would have dreamed of it. Would’ve been a big ol’ NOPE at the idea of riding more than a mile or two. But I’ve been so active in the gym, and my cardio is pretty good, that even though I haven’t been on my bike since November (did 50mi in the big city bike race), I just assumed I’d be able to pull it off without dying.
I think that happens to me a lot, actually. I’m not confident– it just never occurs to me that I might fail. It happened in high school, when I was severely depressed and the idea of dropping out or taking medical leave simply never occurred to me. It happened to me the first time I did a triathlon; I figured I might be super slow, but of COURSE I would be able to finish. And it happened to me today, when I knew I could at least pull off 50 or 60 miles, even if I couldn’t do the great achievement of a 100-mile “century ride.”
Nope, never occurred to me at the 25-mile-ish mark, when I was going uphill, dealing with a snarly headwind, nose running all over the place, and my snack wasn’t sitting well. I could sit and catch my breath, no problem, but yeah, I would totally get back on that bike and make it all the way back home, duh.
At times like that, my brain is NOT good at self-preservation.
In the end, I made it 60 miles in 4h40m rolling time, and probably about 6 hours clock time. Part of me thinks, “that’s so slow! Too many breaks!” and the more rational side of me then kicks in and says, “Dude, how many people could ride 60 miles without absolutely dying? Cut yourself some slack.”
So yeah, I did something really hard. I had fun! I spent the day listening to D&D podcasts (shoutout to Not Another D&D Podcast and Dimension 20: Fantasy High), I ate SO MANY snacks (a big deal given my WLS status and whatnot) plus an amazing post-ride salmon poke bowl, and I proved that I could do something hard and make it through.
Special shout-out to the City of Tucson, which has over 120 miles of shared-use bike paths, for building and maintaining The Chuck Huckleberry Loop! I rode almost my entire route today off the street, safe from traffic, and I’m very grateful that my city has such great cycling routes.
And of course, shout-out to my awesomely supportive mom! She was a little nervous about me taking such an epic solo ride, so I texted her updates along the way. She, in turn, cheered me on and reminded me to stay hydrated. She’s the best!