Falling into Place

I’m at that place in recovery where I don’t hit “major milestones” every three days like I did closer to surgery. I’m 11 weeks and a few days post-op and things are going well, but I miss the constant excitement of achieving something new multiple times a week, so I decided to rectify that situation today.

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Cute little Felt, out and about on the St. Paul side of the river

With the whole “stolen bike” drama, I had stagnated in my outdoor riding. I didn’t have a bike I could ride after returning the stolen bike; however, soon after another kind soul in the cycling community heard of my dilemma. She offered me a bike I could purchase from her for less than what it was worth. It’s a little Felt commuter bike, black with big cushy tires. It’s simple and really upright, especially after we swapped out the fork. (It was unclear if the bike had been in a big enough crash to bend the fork — better safe than sorry! I don’t need anymore hardware in my body right now.)

I had been hesitant to ride outdoors again after the bike swap. Scared to try more miles on an unfamiliar bike, scared I couldn’t do it, scared of failure. It seems silly considering I just slammed out 100 miles on the indoor trainer, but this is different. Outdoor riding involves jostling of my back and sometimes abrupt starting and stopping when I have to deal with traffic. Admittedly, I was terrified at the get-go. I think that breaking through our own limits is terrifying and a little scary, no matter where those limits are at the time. The important thing is to keep nudging those boundaries further out.

Detour to River Bottoms. “The stakes are high and so am I” … on endorphins? High on life? LOL

I did my due diligence and planned a “safe” route consisting of mostly paved bike paths that I knew had fairly pristine pavement. I also made sure the route would be flat, as cranking on the pedals still sometimes causes back spasms and discomfort. I rolled along, dealing with detours, unexpectedly bumpy Minneapolis roads, and the like. I’d dare say I even found my sense of “flow” while I was out there — there are portions of the ride I don’t remember at all because I was so consumed with … nothing. Cycling brings on a meditative state for me, it calms me. I even made a detour to dirt singletrack for a while, laughing out loud as I hit a few mucky spots. I rolled back to my friend’s house with just under 25 miles for the ride. I had successfully broken my record!!

This kid’s gonna need fenders soon. How does “Moo Shu” sound for a bike name?!

On an endorphinated high, I decided I should try for a repeat performance tomorrow, this time on mostly gravel roads. The idea is half ludicrous, half brilliant. Is it a stupid idea? Oh, definitely yes. May I end up failing? Yup, good odds. The brilliant part is that my start time and place are dictated by one of my favorite gravel groups’ Saturday morning ride. I’ve committed to leading the slower, shorter pack if there are any takers. Now I can’t bail in the morning without letting people down. I need the motivation and the extra kick in the ass that meeting people for a ride will give me. Commitments to others are honored more than commitments to myself, it seems. It will be great to catch up with friends at the start and maybe meet new people who are more inclined to come ride when there’s something other than the “A” ride offered.

I decided to kick my own ass over the last few days. I want to be proactive, keep growing personally, and also keep inspiring others to ride and break through their own unique barriers, wherever those may be.

Other random updates, rapid fire style:

  • I’m still losing weight! How? The boring answer – tracking everything I eat, tracking my exercise, and generally striving for a calorie deficit every day. I will go back to work at a lower weight than when I left.
  • My legs are still growing! My resting heart rate is still dropping, except for the last week during this head cold nonsense.
  • I’m going back to work this week, fingers crossed. I’m 5 phone calls and 4 emails in with 3 different groups of people, and I think we had a breakthrough today.
  • I’m leading a larger gravel group ride next Saturday. One of the things I missed when I was laid up was leading / facilitating group rides. Come check it out if you’re in the Twin Cities area!
  • Speaking of leading group rides, I’ll be a co-lead for a ZWIFT virtual ride this weekend! Yeah! I’ve offered to lead the “slower” pack to give more opportunities for the non-speedy non-racer folks to ride with others and not feel left out and slow. That was something I struggled with coming back from surgery was the feeling of being left behind on rides. Why bother when I was just going to get creamed? The best news about the group ride is I may even have one of those giant beacons above me as I ride so others in the pack can find me easily. Because, you know, I HATE attention. 😉

Long story short, I figured out I was stagnating and decided to kick my own ass over the last few days. I want to be proactive, keep growing personally, and also keep inspiring others to ride and break through their own unique barriers, wherever those may be.

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