Those of us who are foolhardy enough to ride in nearly all weather know that rainy days attract flat tires like Roswell attracts conpiracy buffs. The best scientific minds in cycling have come up with two likely reasons for this association:
1. Rainwater lubricates glass shards, car-tire wires and other sharp debris, allowing them to cut more easily.
2. God hates people in tight shorts and funny plastic shoes.
Of course, yesterday was a bit rainy, and of course I flatted on the way to my customary Tuesday hill repeat ride. I had the exquisite pleasure of inverting my bike at the side of the road on my warm-up hill, struggling to remove my overly tight rear tire (a subject for another post, perhaps) while the rest of my club streamed by. At least I finished up before they came around for the second lap. I briefly considered just going home, but I continued around my warmup course and resolved to do my scheduled climbs.
The last two weeks have been a training disaster. Two weeks ago I was coming off of the Climb to the Clouds century and needed to recover. Last week, Andrew was so sick that none of us were sleeping much at all. Tuesday morning I felt better than I had felt in quite a while, and with the Mount Greylock Century coming in less than two weeks, I felt my training window about to slam shut on my fingertips. So I was happy to find that I felt good as I started up the Great Blue Hill, at least as good as I can feel when I’m grinding my way up the tallest hill within 50 miles of Boston. The first two reps I had the hill to myself, barely able to hear the wind move the trees over my labored breathing and pounding heart. The third time up, a whitetail doe stepped onto the road in front of me, regarding me coolly and perhaps ruminating a little. I looked at her with heavy-lidded eyes, sunglasses fogging, and she stepped back into the woods as I passed.
The final trip up the hill taxed me, but I finished feeling like I could handle a fifth climb. Instead of indulging that impulse I turned for home, a bit late for work but happy that I had found a little bit of form. As I write this, my throat is sore and I’m developing a headache, not unlike what Elise has been experiencing for the last couple of days. I probably won’t ride tomorrow, and maybe will only get out once this weekend depending on how I feel. I’m not too concerned about the “big ride” on the 13th, since it’s what I did in May and June that really make the difference for that. And I’ll probably be well by then. Regardless of how things turn out, I’m happy I was able to grab that moment on the Great Blue Hill and feel like I know what I’m doing for a few minutes.