Saturday, January 10, 2015

A winter ride

I wish I had pictures to show you, but alas, I don't. I went on a ride yesterday afternoon and all the time, I kept thinking how beautiful the winter afternoon was and what I had the privilege of seeing. And to think, I almost missed it.

My husband, ever faithful, ever disciplined, rarely deterred from exercising because of weather or anything else was getting ready for a ride. I'd been sewing all afternoon and was happily closing in on finishing a project. It was 42 degrees. I was feeling not exactly lazy, but just not up for going out, knowing I was going to be cold ... and you know how I hate to be cold. I was battling the inertia inherent in stopping one activity in which I was totally engrossed and starting another one which I knew would not exactly be pleasant, at least at the beginning. I was rationalizing not exercising by saying I needed to finish my project. But, I really didn't need to finish. It was just an excuse.

Coty asked if I wanted him to wait for me. "I don't know," I moaned. "Just go ahead," I finally told him, not sure if I was actually throwing in the towel for the day or not.

This is where having a goal that you've stuck to for a while helps. That two walks, two swims, two bike rides a week goal that I set back in November has become more or less routine. It is so much easier for me now to rouse myself to get out there and walk, ride, or swim so that I will stay on track with my goal. I don't have a perfect "streak" but I've been sticking with it. So, I went upstairs and changed into cycling clothes, found a hood to wear under my helmet to keep my ears and neck warm, and headed out.

A little observation - the act of changing into workout clothes means I've won. I've overcome the inertia and will soon be out the door.

As I expected, I was cold. I know that 42 degrees isn't frigid. It's really pretty pleasant for early January, especially if it's a gloriously clear and sunny early January day. But remember, when you ride, there's "wind chill." Pedaling faster at the beginning means I'm going to be colder. Speeding up as I go downhill means I'm going to be colder.  And you know how I hate ... yea, I said that already.

It took two miles for me to warm up. Fingers and toes stayed cold the whole ride, but the rest of me was fine. And then, I started noticing things like ...
  • the crisp, clean feeling of the winter air on my face,
  • the way the slanting afternoon sun turned the siding on the houses I passed to lavender, salmon, and pink,
  • the stillness of a hawk on a phone line, perched, watching, waiting,
  • the beauty of a field of dried grasses waving in a slight breeze
  • the winter sun and its halo and then in the last mile, a sundog
I had decided when I started on my ride that I would not concentrate on time or pace. I was just going on a ride with the intention of overcoming the cold aversion and enjoying myself. I did. 15 miles of pleasure. Further than I intended to ride. It just felt good to keep going.

The memory of yesterday's ride will help me keep going through the remainder of this winter. There will likely be colder rides. I will likely battle inertia again and likely complain about the cold. But I'll try to remember the lavender houses, the hawk, and the sundog, and then slip into my thermals and head out.

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