It is only 5:30 p.m. and I’m in bed. I do love my bed, but I’m lately unacquainted with it at this hour. Lying here as the kids watch their pre-dinner TV (currently, reality shows involving cooking and home fixer-uppering are in favor among the junior viewers of the house) reminds me of the bad old days, when I was in bed nearly 24/7, except for the middle of the night, when the steroids kept me from sleeping and I blogged furiously in the dark bathroom.
Lucky, lucky me today – J is home and can handle dinner. And I’m sacked out because I rode my bike a lot today – to the tune of 20, maybe 21 miles. This was my second “homework” assignment from the trainer I worked with a couple of weeks ago. I needed to do six or seven full laps of the park. I managed six today, leaving something yet to aspire to in the month remaining before my ride.
I confirmed today that my issues with biking have nothing to do with the actual work of pedaling – not even the hills are all that difficult anymore. My problems come from these Fears that seem to have cropped up now that I’m training for something big. Fears of falling over, crashing, failing brakes, drinking water while riding.
I didn’t even attempt to do the latter today. I was just proud I made it out at all, because it was rainy and cool and I had no idea what the weather was going to do. As my trainer suggested, I brought a snack with me. Two bananas, one tucked in each pocket of my jersey. I learned when I stopped for my break, a little past the halfway point, that bananas do not travel well in pockets! I needed the energy, so I ate them anyways. I’m not sure where I’d tuck a sandwich. Energy bars are the most ideal, packaging-wise, but so many of them seem like glorified candy bars when you read the label.
About halfway through my final lap, things started getting a little shaky. My grip on the handlebars slipped for a second and I felt like I might wipe out, even though it was just a minor wobble. I moved my head from side to side to make sure it wasn’t another dizzy spell coming on – nope. I focused on my breathing and got steady. I was almost out of water, though, and facing the last hill, I decided to stop before that and fill my water bottle.
When I met with the trainer, one of the things she did was raise my seat about an inch. I’ve noticed I am much more powerful now that I am able to fully extend my legs. However, I’m an inch higher, and still very awkward when it comes to starting and stopping. When I stopped for water, my exhaustion combined with the awkwardness led to a comical tumble. I was stopped already, and put a foot down so I could dismount, and instead the bike pulled me down to the ground. My left buttock and hand took the brunt of it, and both of those areas were padded with my recently upgraded bike clothing, so I only have a scratch on my shin and a few bruises. Miraculously, there was only one person nearby when I spilled. He asked if I was okay and I assured him I was, so he let me be. I felt like the cyclist in the opening of the Surrealist classic, Un chien andalou. (See the part starting at 2:30 in.)
I filled up my water bottle and decided to bike on the much quieter transverse road in the park for a minute, to settle my nerves before the final hill climb. After a little bit, I was feeling okay, so I went to turn around and head back to the main road. I couldn’t turn, though. I couldn’t organize myself to turn my bike! It was a little scary, suddenly not knowing how to do something that I’ve done for ages. Suddenly, riding a bike was not like riding a bike. I stopped, turned my bike around with my hands, and went on my way.
A similar thing happened about a month ago, when I first started training. I got back home after a ride, got off my bike, but couldn’t remember how to dismount. I wasn’t sure where to throw my leg in order to get off.
I mean, I’ve had brain surgery. Twice. They assured me it was safe and wouldn’t damage anything. And I haven’t noticed anything amiss, really, but this? This is new. And it sucks. Whether from cancer, treatment, or simple aging, it just sucks.
But, on balance, even with my imbalance, I’m happy today. I rode nearly the entire distance of our ride in June! I climbed hills multiple times! I spent almost two and a half hours on my bike and I can still move my limbs, sort of!
Tomorrow I’ll go to the gym and stretch everything out. Including my brain.