I let my bike down yesterday. She was ready. She had new (to her) shocks and high-end new (to her) brakes. Her chain was clean, her cogs were lubed. She was begging to be ridden—especially considering the stupid mistake I made which caused her to miss the ride on Saturday.
So I got up even earlier than I would have to for church and drove all the way down to the border of Delaware/Maryland/Pennsylvania to meet up with the club
. The plan was to have two groups of riders, a slower group and a faster group. The slower group ended up consisting of...ME. I was the only girl, which I'll admit is a bit daunting, even if it shouldn't be. I have a bit of a chest cold, but I didn't realize how much it was going to affect my capability to suck in oxygen, although I should have AND it was just too hard of a trail for me. I don't know if I could have made it up some of those hills if I'd had an oxygen tank strapped on my Camelback. They ended up constantly waiting for me (God Bless them for not tarring and feathering me). I made it about 2 miles (I SWEAR it was all uphill) before I told them that I couldn't do it. Not didn't want to, not I needed a break...I couldn't do it. And that was so completely humiliating. They got me to the fire road that lead back to the parking lot. And they were all sort of standing around, probably making sure I didn't have a coronary. They were very nice. Gave me some advice about riding everyday, etc., made sure I didn't want to try to keep going, and then went off.
I headed down the fire road alone with a feeling in my gut that I should have been able to do better. That I HAVE to go back to Weight Watchers to lose another 30 pounds. And a simultaneous feeling of never wanting to get back on my bike again and wanting to get so much better at it that I could ride past them all. Then I looked to my left. A huge open field bordered by trees. A perfect fall sky, a perfect fall smell in the air. And here I was under this open dome of sky, able to ride, if not ride well. Able to see and smell and hear on this pristine autumn day. I sat down on the dew-wet grass, ate half a power bar, drank some water, and had my own little church.
I also did a little examining of the feelings swirling around in me. Why did I feel like I want to cry? Was I just embarassed or frustrated? Maybe partly. As with most things that I have lately tried to bury, it had to do with Ben. Ben is the reason I have a bike. Ben, until last month, was the only person I'd ever been on a trail with. Ben wouldn't have left me there at the bottom of the hill struggling for breath. Ben would have helped somehow, right? Or at least, under it all—under the embarrassment at my failure, at my weight, at my skill—would have been the knowlege that it he loved me. That whether or not I made it the whole way up the hill he would go home with his arm around me.
BUT. The difference between the me 3 months ago and the me now is, I felt those things, I let myself acknowledge those things, but then I got back up on my bike planning my next ride. Planning to train. Planning to get better because I want to be a good biker. If I want this, I can do this. On my own.