Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wind Blows

I've been biking this summer. I think I may have written about it a time or two. The official goal of the summer was to ride 1000 miles. I accomplished that early and easily. The unofficial goal of the summer was to complete the 100 Km course of the Great Pumpkin Metric.

I did not discuss this unofficial goal for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn't sure I would accomplish it. Stubborn or not, there comes a point where you can't pedal anymore. I almost hit that point when we did a 50-mile ride, so I was dubious about completing a 62-mile ride in Southern Indiana. With hills. Second, the Great Pumpkin Metric is held in my hometown. I was equal parts excited and stressed-as-hell about bringing my Indianapolis family down to meet my Evansville family. I didn't really want to explore the source of the stress or the possibilities of the nuclear explosions that could have occurred had my worst fears played out.

Instead it was fantastically awesome.

I mean, not all of it was fantastically awesome of course. Riding 65 plus miles into a wind that seemed to be a headwind in all directions was pretty sucky. Riding that ride in 41 degree weather that only warmed up to 61 degrees was also not fun. In fact, I wasn't entirely convinced that we weren't going to ride the 50 Km route until we actually passed the spot where the two routes diverged. (I don't have a picture of that spot, so you'll have to make do with this one that I stole.) Luckily zlionsfan was unshakable in his belief that we were going to ride 100 Km, so when the time came to make the fateful turn, I didn't even have time to get off my bike and take a picture to document the occasion. I just had to pedal faster to catch up to him and ask him if he was sure? I mean, we could always do the 50 Km, and if we have enough energy, do the 50 Km route again.

Nope. We were doing the 100 Km route.

At first it wasn't terrible. Then, somewhere around 35 miles I found out that singing was the best defense I had against the ache in my legs. I went to my happy place and, as I later told my father, apparently my happy place is filled with John Denver. Or maybe those are most of the songs that I know the words to, given that my father has been singing them to me since birth. Regardless, I was singing to distract myself from the discomfort. That continued until the end of the route, though at the end I was singing mostly to myself since I couldn't find the energy to sing out loud.

I do like to pretend that I can sing.

So that part was not so fun. I mean, the feeling of accomplishment was awesome, and the scenery was gorgeous. It was just that pesky wind. I even penned a letter to the wind while we were riding.

Dear Wind,
This ride is difficult enough without you in my face. Go blow yourself.

I still think we'll do it again next year.

Other than that, my parents seemed to enjoy the company of my Indianapolis family. And why not? They are intelligent, funny, nice, silly people who are fully capable of laughing at themselves. Those are all qualities that are highly valued in my family. And my Indianapolis family? Well, they seemed to have fun as well. Although I'm sure the dominoes, bbq, and Fall Festival food did not hurt. Me? I drowned my stress in sangria. It seemed to work out alright. We might even do it again sometime.

Okay. I downplay. It was a great weekend for me. I could have stayed forever. I mean, what was there not to love? There was no stress. This, in and of itself would have been a great respite following my vet school application submission, but in addition to that, save the absence of the boy (who had to work,) I was surrounded by all the people that I love and they were all getting along. Everyone who knows every little dark corner of me (in Indiana*) was in one room and not only were we all laughing, I beat them all in dominoes. Whilst drinking copious amounts of sangria. What more could I have asked for? It was like the best possible meeting of two worlds. I think both sides learned interesting things that they can use for blackmail later. (but they won't, cuz they loooooooooove me. :-)

As a result, coming back to the real world was a bit of a letdown. Strike that. Coming back to WORK was a bit of a letdown. So now we start crossing our fingers for that vet school application thing. Good thoughts are appreciated. I promise to keep you updated one way or another.

And I would say that the bike is being put away until next year, but I found out that there's this other ride. And it involves beer. That can't possibly end badly, can it?

*There are others, but they're scattered across the US. I figure I won't get the entire group together until something truly important happens. Like, say, a vet school graduation?


zlionsfan said...

I'm still not sure why you two were so indecisive. 50K would have been a disappointment; maybe it was different for me because I'd ridden farther than that on every organized ride we'd done to that point, but I just couldn't picture doing the shorter route, especially not once we saw that it wasn't a course like the Hilly is supposed to be.

Besides, I almost ended up taking us on the 100-mile course at the Hope Ride. :)

ems said...

Because it was cold, it was windy, and conditions were overall sucky. That's why we were indecisive. (I think it was me more than Candy, though I'm sure I could have persuaded her to do the shorter route.)

zlionsfan said...

I am thankful that cold in that context doesn't bother me that much (particularly not in this neat Purdue cycling jersey that someone just got me for my birthday). Yeah, I can understand why that would have made you waver.

It did warm up later, though. It's supposed to be warm again this weekend, too. Should be good riding weather.

ems said...

It did not "warm up later," sadist. It was sixty-frigging-one degrees. I believe at one point I was sitting on asphalt to warm up and another time I was huddling next to a building as a wind block. I do not believe those things indicate "warming up."

Candace said...

I was on the point of waffling (good word) between the 50K and the 100K because I already realized that the course was going to suck.

I am VERY glad that Z was so decisive and indirectly pushed us to stay on track. I think I would have been disappointed had we chose the shorter route and I would not have redeemed myself for the failure of the hope ride. I know…I know 37 miles wasn’t a failure but I cannot seem to reconcile that feeling.

BTW…I thought the trip was extremely relaxing. I was happy the entire time and I enjoyed everyone’s company. Now we know we are all great traveling companions.

Moore said...

A hometown trip as an adult with good friends in tow is a big step especially if it involves the same house you grew up in. (I believe parents are required to keep/display those photos of their children (in my case embarassing) which for me is reason enough to refrain from taking anyone there. I am glad everything worked out well for all of you, and that you finished the ride successfully.

Jaclyn said...

My brother also enjoys a good bike ride and he lives in Columbus, IN. He might have info. on the Beer Ride...

Farmerspice said...

AWESOME!! Good for you!! So excited. May I follow in your footsteps someday....