Some of my favorite song lyrics from those songs of a misspent youth are those of John Prine's "Illegal Smile:"
"When I woke up this morning, things were lookin' bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down... and won
And it was twelve o'clock before I realized
That I was havin' .. no fun"
And that is how I have been feeling recently with the winter blues and a good dose of a cold and self pity. Yes, an object that is at rest wants to stay at rest, and I have been an object, lazy, as slow as molasses in January. It is hard to convince myself that I will feel better if I just get out and exercise despite the frigid weather. It is hard to persuade myself that I want to do anything. Only experience has taught me that I will actually feel better if I force myself out the door flipping off the winter weather. Only the urging of friends can crow bar me out of this deep, dark rut that I have come to rest in. I suppose you can't get fit being a candy ass;-)
I am surprised and delighted to find quite a large group gathered for the Salem 65. It is good to see friends that I have not seen for awhile and exchange a few pleasantries. While the weather is not predicted to be challenging for this time it year, it is still February. It turns out there are 10 of us braving the cold and riding this hilly 65 mile course: Steve Rice, Eric Graf, Mike Crawford, Lynn Roberts, Dick Rauh, Paul Battle, Bill Pustow, John Larson, Randy Davis, and me.
Per Bill's log, the course has about 4,000 feet of climbing in those 65 miles. Per my legs, he is not exaggerating. It is not often anymore that my legs feel sore following a ride, and I know that despite the exercise and a good dose of ibuprofen before bed, my sleep will be restless, interrupted by anomalous twinges and aches. I will wonder once again about why I allow myself to get so out of shape. And yet ironically a strange part of me will glory in these aches as I know they signal new-found strength. I suppose that is the difference from other types of pain which I always find repugnant, this pain goes away and leaves me stronger: there will be surcease.
And then there is the century the next day, the one where I will tell the ride captain, Steve Rice, and Bill Pustow, that I am going to turn around at the store stop and am told in no uncertain terms told that I will not turn around. The one where we pass a cow who has just given birth, the placenta still waiting to be completely expelled, bloody and colorful in the colorless world, yet somehow as beautiful as a flower. The one that takes me up and down hills beautiful in their desolation and lack of color while the wind buffets me like a rag doll, leaving my cheeks rosy and chapped. But suffice to say that I do not turn around and I survive. And I grow stronger to prepare for the coming warmth. That is another story for another day.