In the fall, I was in a bit of a routine and a pattern of life that I really loved. For one thing, I was out of school. That in and of itself was incredible! I also was just coming off of a 3 month sabbatical, wherein I could just rest, relax, and most importantly, get to know my kids! Turns out, they're really neat people, so that worked out really well. But in the fall, I was coming back to work, and remembering how much it is that I love my job! It is to be sure an incredible blessing to be able to do what you love to do, and have people pay you for it. All in all, life was good! But best of all, I was in peak cycling form. I was riding every. single. day. to work and back again. Meeting downtown? No problem, I've got a bike and a train. Busy day of meetings? More leg work! It's supposed to rain today? I've got gear for that. I was really in the zone as a bicycle commuter.
I had even, faithful readers may remember, threatened that I wanted to be a four season cyclist. I wanted to come pedaling through the snow as my coworkers gazed at me in disbelief, making tracks in the fresh powder in the parking lot. Finally, the day arrived. It was a Saturday where I had to go to the office for a special event, and it snowed a good inch or two overnight. The roads were covered. Game on.
Step one was that I layered myself into oblivion. Base layer. Fleece jacket. Hard shell top. Sweat pants. Snow pants. Two layers of socks. I wasn't going to be miserable, that's for sure. Step two turned my attention to the bike itself. I decided for this one I was going to take my trusty mountain bike instead of my roadie, and that I was going to run the tires at a pretty low pressure, so that the snow would be less treacherous. I had read on the internet this would be a good idea. Then I packed my usual change of clothes into my messenger bag, and hit the road.
At roughly 4 mph.
It turns out that while lowering your tire pressure does make the bike much more stable, it also happens to make the bike travel much more slowly. There was no momentum to be had on the downhills, which only meant to I had to work twice as hard as usual on the uphills, and with all the extra layers, that meant that I was basically in my own personal sauna. The ride that usually takes me 20 minutes took 35, and I wandered into my office looking a good bit like a drown rat. I resolved at that moment that I had done it, I had become a four season cyclist, but that doing so really wasn't as much fun as I imagined and wasn't worth keeping up with.
That was December. Between then and now, a lot of stuff happened. The craziness of working in a Church at Christmas time. The even crazierness of getting ordained right after Christmas. Colds and sniffles. Then the stomach bug from hell. Every day I would come home from work in the car, pull into the driveway, and see my bright orange bike starring at me. At first she was easy to ignore. There was no way. But as the weeks passed, there was this steady thumping in my chest. The call of the bike was too great to ignore.
So last night I announced to Sarah (and then to the world on Twitter for good measure) that I was riding my bike. I hadn't prepared. I hadn't looked at the weather. I hadn't really done any of the leg work a responsible person should do. I just decided I was going to stop being a wuss and get on my bike. I spent the night organizing the gear, making sure everything was working on the bike, and giving myself mental pep talks along the way. I was going to go for it.
The boys didn't help, waking up a bit before 5 am. Oh how much easier it would have been to just use an automacar. I could even sip on coffee as I went along! And did you know it has heated seats? Oh my! But no. I was resolved. I packed, I layered (a little less than last time), and went to the garage to get going. Once again a layer of resistance met me. I opened the door and saw snow flakes flying. It was like my inner wuss was once again asking "are you sure about this?"
"Yes I am, wuss." I responded under my breath. I hit record on Strava and hit the road. By all measurable counts I should have been miserable. I wasn't wearing glasses, so I was getting pelted in the eyeball with snow/rain mix. I was a bit chilly. My new shoes are not at all waterproof. But my goodness, do I feel alive. This was a piece of my life that had been clearly missing.
So I guess the lesson in all of this for me is to try my best to quiet the wuss. There are voices in my head all the time, asking me if I'm sure I want to go down this road or that path. And usually I'm pretty sure I do, but the wuss can make interesting arguments like coffee and heated seats. But I think I'm starting to learn that the momentary conveniences of life can't match up to the boundless adventures we find when we push ourselves. I bet if I probed a little bit farther I'd find more places where that's true in my life. I bet you would too.
So what's the wuss telling you today? And what are you going to say back?