Today was a 40 minute bike ride and it was awesome! I love biking on my bike on the open road!! I think it has something to do with the need to remain vigilant at all times while riding... sneaky cars, people who don't know how to drive around bicyclists, etc. can be lurking around any corner. And this morning, they were. I stayed up late (well, for me - 10:30) waiting for Mr. Darcy to come home from his fraternity alumni meeting so I could see him for a few minutes and had a hard time getting up this morning. The girls also did not want to get out of bed this morning (and Mr. Darcy slept late too) so we were running behind. I had plenty of time before starting work after my ride, but it was a little stressful at first. (Angelfish was very sweet and told me "I no want to go to school. I want to stay home with you." Ladybug on the other hand was a banshee this morning and was angry with me because I picked her up and carried her to the car because she was stalling by playing with all of the light switches along the way to the front door and claimed that she "need to walk with Daddy" who was outside already and she had had a chance to walk with him. She was a bit rotten and smacked me in the face hard enough that it made me bump the back of my head on the inside of the car. She's a strong thing, but she also got disciplined for it. I had a message from Mr. Darcy's phone when I got back and it was Ladybug saying "I love you Mommy. I be nice and not be mean." That made me smile. Unfortunately, though, when I talked to Mr. Darcy he said that she was being terrible the entire way to school and then when he dropped her off she was still mad and gave him a hard time and spilled a cup of mile on him.)
But get on my bike and within a couple of minutes it all melts away (or perhaps it flies away on the breeze I make while biking...). Other than dodging cars, dealing with people who sit at the stop signs way to long because they're not sure what to do because I'm on a bike, and wondering if the dog the neighbor is walking likes to chase bikes, it is a peaceful co-existence between me, my bike and the road. And the other stuff makes you aware of your surroundings and lets you take the notion of being alive (and staying that way in some cases) all in. I have to say I am in love with it. I practiced my turning too, which is always fun and frightening for me. You have to lean in to the turn with your upper body and have the leg toward the inside of the turn in the up position, but you're not supposed to lean your head. Sometimes (like today) I try to take the turn quickly to practice a turn at a good speed and I lean in to the point that I am on the edge of the tire and I can feel it start to slip a little and it both thrills and chills me. But it's good for me to learn what is too far so I can attempt what I can without crashing.
And having to deal with the cars at the stop signs is good too... I've learned how slow I can go without having to dismount. I've gotten to the point that I can be at almost a complete stop, just barely moving forward without having to get off and then start up again. The one thing I need to learn how to do (and I think I probably can but I just am a little skittish about trying it) is to pedal while in a "standing" position. I am a bit resistant to the idea of not sitting on the bike seat while moving. It's fine if I have to stop at a stop light and I've unclipped my left foot to stand, but the idea of moving while my feet are clipped in and I'm pedaling is a bit unnerving. I'm hoping that we'll have a bike trainer who can teach me how to do it... the other thing I need to learn is when you use different gears for different things. I know when you come up to a hill you're supposed to down shift into an easier gear but what is appropriate staying in 3 but easier? Or switching to 2 altogether? And then when in the descent on the hill do you switch back? I have to admit that I just bike in 3rd and then 4 for the smaller gear... hills and all. And I know by the top of some of the hills why I need to downshift, but I've been telling myself that I made it to the top and it's good for training - which may be true but it's also because I know I'm not sure what to do.
Something also occurred to me on my ride this morning... I want to be a good rider and a good triathlete. There's something that gives you not only a sense of accomplishment but also a sense of something - control isn't the right word, but I'm not really sure what is the right word. It's like you have a sense of an idea (even if it isn't fully formulated) of what you want and that you have the capability of reaching out and grabbing it with both hands. For me, at least at the moment, it isn't necessarily about being better than someone else - right now it's about being better than I was before. I think that's why I like the biking so much, it's where I'm the most aware of that sense of self and taking myself from point A to point B, both literally and figuratively, and in some ways of allowing myself to leave point B behind. It's rather cathartic.
Well, enough "deep thoughts" for one day...