Last year was the first year either my wife or I had ridden in the Tour de Pink. It was the first charity ride either of us had ridden, and more importantly, one of the first group rides either of us had ridden. Up until then, we had thought we didn't like group rides, that we preferred to ride by ourselves. However, we had such good time last year we resolved to ride it again this year. There are seven different distance options for this ride ranging from 12 to 100 miles:
Last year, we rode 47 miles, a personal best for my wife. This year, we decided to attempt 63 miles, another personal best for her and a metric century. We followed the tried and true approach of increasing my wife's mileage by 10% a week, shooting for a final training ride 75% as long as the ride, or 48 miles. At the same time, I was hoping to ride another 200K in October, so I did my long(er) rides on Thursday, and we did her long rides on Saturday, this schedule reflecting that I am semi-retired and work for myself and that my wife works full time as a professor at one of the local medical schools. As luck would have it, my wife had a grant deadline two weeks after the ride. Grant deadlines in the academic world are all consuming so this definitely complicated training, but we persisted and she reached her training goals. The grant deadline affected not only her but me as well because I took advantage of an understanding boss to help her write the grant and so Sunday, September 9, the day I was schedule to put up my last blog post, I instead spent the day working on my wife's grant. For variety, I had been using my Bianchi for shorter rides, and the following Tuesday I hopped on as usual, and for reasons I still cannot understand, went right over the top of the bike, leaving me skinned up and shaken and my poor Bianchi with a bent front wheel. Between doing penance by trying to fix my Bianchi, working on the grant, and being discouraged and disappointed at my clumsiness, I did no riding last week. Needless to say, the blog post that was due the previous Sunday didn't get much attention either. However, I encouraged myself that I probably could use the rest, 63 miles was a significant ride, and that I might not be so far behind in my training thereafter. On the morning of Saturday, September 15, the day before the ride, we got a phone call that a close friend had died, and that the funeral was the next day. Shamefully, it took us a full hour to convince ourselves that we simply could not miss the funeral, that we were going to have to miss the ride. In our defense, we were not only worried about missing our ride, we were worried about letting down our team and our donors who had supported us. Once we resigned ourselves to that, however, we did a quick back of the envelope calculation and realized that if we rode 12 miles - but no longer - we could drive out to the ride, get our pictures taken with the team, ride the 12 mile course, drive home, shower and change, and get to the funeral on time, which is what we did. Here is our "official" picture from the ride:
So what is the moral? Firstly, it is to say that I take my reader(s) seriously and to let you know that I believe I owe you an explanation when I miss a post. Secondly, it is to try to provide some perspective to help me take the inevitable ups and downs of life in stride. Since restarting cycling in 2008, my efforts to get more out of cycling and to become a better cyclist have suffered many setbacks, from equipment failure to the limitations of being older to competing responsibilities to the illness and death of friends and family. It is certainly not that I have it any harder than anyone else, but rather that, like everyone, I simply have to accept what comes along and to take as much joy as possible from every ride, even when it is a 12 mile ride on a day that 63 miles were planned.