After work, my hubs and I went on a mountain bike ride with a wee friend of mine. She It sucks to suck.brought along two other gals. None of these girls are beginners, and they’ve all got mondo bikes, like Nelly. (Yes, my bike has a name and don’t be surprised when I’ve written a song about her. I know — eye roll– I’ve already started it!) These ladies are really good bikers. Tonight though, I sucked. I sucked hard. I also realized how it truly sucks to suck.

I’m no beginner mountain biker either, but the truth is, I’m back to square one. Okay, not square one, but maybe square 3 and a half. Let’s just say that it’s a humbling experience to be flat out slow, out of shape, and sucky. I know, I know I’m doing a sport that most women, regardless of age, don’t even know exists, or wouldn’t consider, but let me have my little rant here. You can stop reading if you don’t want to join my pity party. Stop. Right here, because it’s about to get deep. I suck, I sucked and I’m still sucking. Back in the day, I could at least keep up (ish). I’ve never been fast, but I didn’t completely suck. I could grind up hills, handle the rocks and keep a running commentary full of expletives, giggles and squeaks all in between lines of songs I was singing to the breeze. My quads were hard and my calves were “impressive” (said in your best Irish accent).

Now, today especially, I’m absolutely frustrated, tired, pissed, hungry and completely doubting my sanity for agreeing to do the epic BC Bike Race in July. Seven consecutive days of mountain biking on single track, in real mountains, to the tune of 30 to 50 miles a day. A. Freaking. Day!! Today we did about six. I got off. I pushed my bike up hills because my stupid left knee has NO power, and my quad (what quad?) is a silly smushy mess. If I’m stopped, I MUST step off with my bad knee because to get back on the bike putting all the weight on to that left knee, um, hurts like hell.

I know, you’re crying in your beer (or breakfast cereal) about this. It’s stupid. I know. I’ve gone back on my Ideal Protein regime, so I’m eating very few carbs. I stayed out late last night. I drank too much, too. Woe is me. I had fun though. But, back to my point about the carbs, there is nothing in my tank. Energy meter’s at zero. From the ride out of the parking lot today, I felt intimidated, tired, self-conscious, the absolute opposite of confident and was constantly on the verge of tears. What? The verge of flipping tears? Seriously? I kid you not. I was constantly ready to burst. “I hate this creek crossing! Oh my gosh, this stupid hill. These f’ing roots! Why am I so far behind? Why are my legs so heavy? I’m so eating their dust! This sucks. I wonder how wimpy they’d think I am if I quit now. My IT band is so tight that I’m pretty sure my hamstring’s gonna rip right out. Why? What am I thinking? I should just learn the guitar. Why do I feel like crying? I’m starving that’s why. And I suck.”

The ride was just not fun. My knee is super sore, probably the dancing last night. Why?

So, now that I’ve kind of settled down, part of what makes this so annoying, and I don’t know how to say this without sounding pompous, so I’ll just say it because it’s just the truth and not meant to be assholian. I’m not used to being the suckiest at anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m rarely the front runner, but when it comes to athletic endeavors, I just don’t usually come in last. Here’s the weird confliction, I’m usually the one cheering that last finisher, the underdog, across the line. I’m usually full of “Holy crap! That person rocked it. It didn’t come easy for them and they freaking finished! They’re amazing!” I’m just not usually that person. Today I am.

So, why, if I’m the underdog cheerleader, am I being so judgmental and rude to the person I know best in the world? Me. I guess I expect a certain level of athletic prowess that’s just not back. Truth is, it might not ever be back. This knee might be done with all that. I’ll keep riding. I’ll keep trying to build back my skills and most importantly my strength in my left leg. Is sucking the new normal? Well, maybe. If it is, then, I guess I will embrace what I can do. For now, I don’t know. All I know is that I’ll keep at it because the one thing I’m very clear about is: it sucks to suck.

Rant over.

At least until next time.

Sigh.

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