It's cold out there today.
The temperature has yet to crack forty and it may hit forty five in time for a lunchtime loop. That's also when the wind will increase to twenty four miles per hour. I'm no meteorologist, but I'm guessing there's a windchill factor that will make it feel pretty damn cold while pedaling into it...
It's Day Ten of 30 Days of Biking and I'm starting to wish I would have waited another month and committed to the Get Up & Ride National Bike Challenge instead. April just isn't the best month to commit to riding every single day.
The month started with some obstacles that should have served as a sign to rethink this commitment. In each of the days that I have ridden except one, winds have been out of the north at double digit speeds with temps never breaking the mid-50s. I'm starting to lose enthusiasm for riding another day into a cold headwind.
I need some motivation.
The physical act of bicycling is all about overcoming inertia, establishing balance, and maintaining momentum. Figuratively, that inertia is a toasty warm home office with plenty of items on the to-do list. Ordinarily, there would be no guilt whatsoever in taking a rest day today. Lord knows my butt deserves a break...
But I need to ride today. I need the exercise. I need the Vitamin D. I need to keep my commitment to myself.
Looking for motivation - any motivation - I began reading some of my old blog posts (currently being moved over to Blogger from Word Press). I came across one originally dated April 28, 2011 cleverly titled First Ride of the Season.
"Everything I had felt while zipping down to the bike trail – the breeze on my face, the clean air in my lungs, the taste of spring – was still there. Instead of being inviting and invigorating, it became frustrating. I still desired it. I still could feel it. I just needed to work physically harder to appreciate it. My body was being asked to multitask, to dig deep into its physical reserves while still enjoying the multisensory experience that I had been longing for all winter. I was experiencing pleasure and pain simultaneously.
When I arrived home, nose running, ears red, and a chill setting in from the sweat trapped between my wool jersey and rapidly cooling body, I took a deep breath. As my heart rate returned to normal, I felt a wave of calm envelop me. I felt a surge of energy return as I adjusted to the inside temperature of my house. I felt alive for the first time in many months. My spring had finally arrived."
It seems that I have already forgotten how long most of us typically wait for good spring riding weather to arrive. This spring's exceptional weather has spoiled me to the point of expecting strings of sunny days in the 70s. Last year's first ride came on April 2nd. By this April 2nd I had already been out 14 times and logged nearly 300 miles!
It may be a harder ride today, but it still beats riding a stationary bike inside. It may be cold and windy, but the sun is shining and the air is crisp. I need to get out there.
Putting on my gear and walking out the door at lunchtime is analogous to straddling a bike and turning the pedals. Budgeting time to ride - and prioritizing it consistently - is establishing balance. Riding my bike every day is maintaining the momentum I need to live a healthier life.
Looking back on that post and the frustration of waiting for temperatures to rise to the 50s in April 2011 reminds me of just how awesome 2012 is shaping up to be. I don't want to miss a day of riding!
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Keep riding and be safe!