Finally! We made it to the trail. The real, not paved, outside, rocky, rocky, bumpy, rooty trail! I posted nearly 20 days ago about how I was panicked that my husband had actually managed to get us signed up, paid and in-like-flynn to the BC Bike Race. There’s a countdown on my sidebar about it even. I talked about how desperately I needed to get in shape, and how desperately I needed to get on the bike. Have I done either? Bawhahahaha. Let me voice that very good question that I know is dancing around your head. “What the *&^%$ have I been doing?” Exactly. WTF? Flailing. Really. That’s pretty much it. Well, that and having a detached retina, the resulting laser eye surgery, finding out that my MRI shows that my knee is just shite and surgery won’t help… hmmm, what else? Oh, stress eating. Have I started Body For Life? No, but my two friends are doing great! Dammit, isn’t that always the case? I’m the monkey who’s lost in the trees. . . again. Have I gone to get my body fat testing done? No, I had to cancel because of the detached retina, but, but, butttt….
Today though, the hubs took me out on the trail. That’s the good part. I went. Here’s the real deal. I was nervous as hell. I was scared. It felt like the first time, no it felt worse than when I was a beginner 13 or 14 years ago. Mostly, it was worse because at the long end of 40 now, the ground seems harder. I’ve learned that things suck when they don’t work right and though parts of me bounce all the time, my body as a whole doesn’t. I feel brittle. Fat. Old and out of shape. Amen. Okay, cue the ominous music. I don’t like to take it slow and “just stretch the legs” (said in your best Irish accent) like the hubby told me to do. I don’t like to take it easy. I don’t like being scared of something. It makes me crazy. It actually pisses me off. There I was though, getting ready for the first down hill “stay to the left” he yells back just like always, just like the lead rider is supposed to. Here’s what goes through my mind, “Left? Does he really mean left? Or did he mean right, he never figures out… oh, yes, he means left, stand up, get the butt back, oh shit oh shit oh shit, slippy, roll over that or (closes eyes, grips handle bars tighter, uh… dumb) … okay over and away. Whew, that wasn’t so bad, just like old times…” Then the creek crossing where I’ve crashed, oh I don’t know, at least 6 times in the past. There’s no water right now, I can see the ground. They’ve even added flat rocks to (kinda but not even close) smooth it out. Psycho, spaz-out moment, “I’m doing this, don’t be a baby, you got this… oh shit, too slow, no I don’t. (screaming in my head)” steps off bike just in time. We roll through the flat and windy bit through the trees, which is fun but I’m getting a little annoyed because my knee is twingy. “Gosh dang it. This f’n knee. I’m riding a damned bike. Why would it hurt? Why? What was that? Snake? Bird? Rabbit, or homeless guy? I wonder where they poop? Oh, what was that smell…? I know there are some people who live out here. I wonder if they’re watching us right, AAAACK big ROOT, crap, wow, that was lucky…”
So, on it went with the relentless and amusing voice in my head commentating away until about mile 4. We turn a corner, and there’s a steep 7′ up hill, a bit of loose rock and a big ass 5 inch high root about 5/6 of the way to the top. In my head, “Downshift, dig in, lean forward, oh shit, huge root, (hesitation, slowing) Oh, just go! Power through, no probl.., shit, too late (root stops me dead) Step off!!! Foot’s stuck in the cage (can’t clip in because the damned knee)!!! I’m going down, crap… (THUD, Expected pain in left hip/quad/shoulder bike noise, sound of hubs stopping, bike shoes running back, worried look). Convo continues in my head, “Okay, f’ing amazing. Stupid! I’m too old for this shit! I suck. My knee doesn’t work. What am I thinking? There is no power on this left side, f’ing knee! I can’t do the bike race. I wanna quit. If I were a cry-er, I’d be crying. Well, I feel like crying because I’m so freaking mad. Oh, I’m not gonna f’ing cry. It didn’t even hurt…much… oh, I’ll feel it later. I’m getting my fat ass up before someone comes up the trail. I’m so embarrassed.” Out loud, I assure him I’m okay. “I’m so mad!” I say, “stupid knee is fine.” “We can go back to the car he says” trying to assess my state. Uh oh, here it comes. Here comes that thing that wells up inside me. Stubborn is rising like red hot lava and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I don’t have quit in there. I don’t like to lose, not to myself and definitely not to fear. That just pisses me off in a way that is not okay. “No!” I almost yell it, “I can’t just quit. If I quit, I’ll never get back on this bike. Let’s go.” He looks at me a moment. He’s seen this fight before, a lot in our adventure race days, actually. He knows. He nods curtly and gets his bike. Back in my head, “Oh, this shiz is on now. I CAN DO THIS! F this! I wanna throw this bike into the trees. Remember when Bryan launched his bike in that race? He was pissed! (internally grinning) That would be fun to write about though… You’re getting your two-ton ass back on the bike and you’re gonna kick its ass. Speed is your friend, indecision and fear are the enemy. You know this! Oh, I am pissed now. It is so on. Hubs better speed his ass up. I’m gonna bring this shit. I AM NOT too old. I’m an athlete, and I’ve done trails ten times harder. This is just dumb. Screw this knee! Bring it, knee! Bring it, pain! F you!” Away we go. We finished up. In my mind, we did nothing. Low miles, and there were several more panic moments. We did not go back and try the up hill root fail again, but we went back through that gaw-dang creek twice more, and guess who didn’t step off? Guess who beat it? These are baby steps. Babies. I hate baby steps, but that’s what it is. That’s what I’ve got. I’ve no doubt my left side will talk to me about this for a few days, too. Good! I’m now motivated. I’m doing the Body For Life, kids. I’m seriously pissed. I will read this every day if I have to. I’m so gonna do this. It. Is. ON. Bring it bike race!
I don’t want to ruin my amazing man’s bike race. It’s an epic one, remember? We discussed the BCBR on the way home. I really, really don’t want to mess it up for him. “I want you to enjoy this 7 day race. I don’t want you to worry about me. I don’t want you to feel like you have to go slow with granny over here. My goal is just to ride it, to finish it, I think. I have to really think about it and wrap my head around what I think I’m gonna do there. What is your goal for the race?” I said. “First, if you were a professional mountain biker,” he said, “I’d still worry about you on the trail, that’s just the way it is. Secondly, how else would I get to see all those amazing trails in British Columbia? I just want to ride the trails. Do I want a top 20 finish? NO! I’m just there to ride it, to experience it with you.” I looked at him in adoration. “Och,” I say, “Is it a ride you’re after?”