Friday, June 29, 2007

Whew

Date: June 28
Mileage: 22.3
June mileage: 562
Temperature upon departure: 67

What a week. I feel like I've been locked in a dead sprint since the morning we left for Whitehorse a week ago. Every second of that "vacation" was about moving moving moving. Then, to make up for it, every second since has been about working working working. So I sit at my desk stewing in a steambath of my own sweat because I work in a building with no air conditioning - which would never matter, if the sun would just go down once in a while. The deadline crunch weighs down when I have nothing but fumes left. My vision is blurry. My mind is oatmeal. And, to top it all off, my legs and arms have turned into a colorful cacophony of scratches and bruises ... most from collisions I don't even remember.

The best one yet happened the night before last. Unable to sleep in my bed, I was thrashing to and fro on the floor, nearly unconscious, when I somehow kicked the iron base of the bed with a force I didn't even know I was capable of. After several eternal seconds of writhing and whining, I woke up enough to realize that I hadn't shattered my foot. But by then, the adrenaline surge had taken over. I was up for several more hours, reading New Yorkers and watching dawn grow brighter and brighter. It's a terrible biological joke ... the more fatigued I am, the harder it is for me to rest.

So I've been taking my breaks on the bike. When there are a dozen other things I should be doing - grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, unpacking - every pedal stroke is like a deep breath into a fog of soothing sea sounds. There are days when I can meditate really well while I ride, zoned in to ebb and flow and nothing else. I hit my destination and remember almost nothing that came before, but I feel oddly relaxed and rested. You would think that kind of feeling would come from puttering along out there, but that never seems to be the case. I check my speedometer and usually find that I ride faster than average when I'm zenned in. I think this is the case because when I'm conscientious, I do entirely too much thinking about headwinds and hills.

And I think about those guys out there pedaling the Great Divide route, and how even at my hottest, sleepiest, more stressful part of the day, they still have it so much harder than me. I think about that old cliche about how the worst day on a bike is better than the best day at the office, and I laugh because that's so completely untrue. I laugh, and I feel peace. And I ride.