Go faster on Mondays

Phoebe is guarding my office door for me. She’s my new hire in the Keep Poseidon Out, 2020 campaign.

Poseidon, meanwhile, is trying to gain entrance by being sneaky.

It’s a real cat and homo sapiens sort of game.

We had a bike ride this evening, one of our regular routes, as it was a light and easy sort of day. Leave the neighborhood, breeze through another one, take three stop signs and then some long open stretches featuring a few turns and one turnaround and then one respectable hill. After that you hang a right and work through a stop sign and then over two hills, a few more turns and then back to the house. And, at the end of it, it came down to 48 seconds. If I’d worked a bit harder and found a way to drop 48 seconds off the total time my average speed would have gone up a tick.

You can’t do anything about that after you’re back inside and looking at the data. It’s hardly worth kicking yourself over, but after you’ve caught your breath and had some electrolytes and you’re not sitting in the saddle you find yourself thinking “Forty-eight seconds. I could surely have mustered that from somewhere.”

Getting to that next, higher number would mean nothing. I was two-tenths off of it today. Big deal! Two-tenths faster and I’m still traveling at average speed, over largely favorable terrain that I ride constantly. But it would have felt satisfying.

Here’s the thing of this ride. Somewhere along the way I lost The Yankee’s wheel. It was one of those days when she was stronger than me and I love those days because I have to work like a maniac to try to get back on and sometimes I do. Sometimes I have to use all the little tricks I know to do it, diving through corners and doing ridiculous super-tucks and going uphill in all the wrong gears and so on. But, sometimes, I can get back on terms with her pace. I had to do that in this ride. I’m not exactly sure how I came uncoupled, but you look down and you look up and it’s happened and that’s the way some rides go.

You smile at that because if, like today, like there’s an effort in you then you have to try. I had that today so I tried that today and so I watched her for several miles moving at her own fine pace a quarter-mile, a half-mile up the road, while I was yo-yoing and sucking air and then surging and ebbing until, finally, I realized that the next little bit of topography favored my ride. And I did catch her, right at the end. I was riding hard, but I think I could have ridden just a little bit more.

Forty-eight seconds. Really, that’s time I should have ticked off at the front of the ride, when you’re still behaving casually. But you don’t think of that over electrolytes, either, just that you could.

You could. That’s something special about a bicycle. There’s always the feeling of you could.

Trick is moving that from inside the house to on the road. And doing it from the start.

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