After every floundering climb in the Headlands yesterday, there was a blissful and grin-inducing descent that reminded me all the ways I still love this bike. Kim's steel frame handles like a dream; nimble and smooth, and the geometry fits me like a glove. If I wasn't so in love with my Moots I would probably put her rigid fork back on and turn Kim into a touring bike, but I'm still partial to the Moots even above my love for my rusty old Karate Monkey. Plus, the wheels are like round bricks. Solid, but heavy.
The problem is I don't feel anywhere near recovered from PTL — mainly on an emotional level. Even my "little ring fitness" is likely more mental than physical, because I feel so averse to any kind of physical suffering right now. It's hard to admit, but I probably don't have the heart for an all-day-all-night bike effort, and I'm not sure whether I'll get that back in a month's time. But I have good friends planning to make the trip to Utah, and Frog Hollow always promises good times, so I'm torn. Do I go to Frog Hollow and just plan to pleasure cruise, probably riding five or six laps before hunkering down next to the bonfire? Or do I keep my sights on my goal, which is to finally put in a consistent effort and ride more than 13 laps? I know I'll be disappointed in myself if I pick the first option, and also if I go with the second option and crap out mid-way because I lost heart. But I certainly don't want to "DNS" Frog Hollow because it's so much fun and I'm looking forward to seeing good friends. It's a bit of a dilemma.
There are some residual physical effects from PTL as well. I do feel day-to-day fatigue and not all of it can be mental. I also continue to have strange and disconcerting problems with my eyes, including light sensitivity and difficulty focusing. I finally visited an optometrist on Monday. He performed a bunch of tests and concluded that I was probably experiencing effects of excessive eye strain, resulting in fatigue and possible damage to the extraocular muscles. My eyes checked out as otherwise healthy, so he prescribed a pair of reading glasses to reduce strain when working on my computer, with the hope that lessening daily strain will help any damage heal on its own. The optometrist was surprised that my vision issues have lasted this long if eye strain during PTL was really the cause, but he did acknowledge that sleep deprivation sometimes has strange effects on the brain, which can extend to brain activity required for eye-muscle coordination and proper focusing.
I will say that one body part I never expected to injure running is my eyes. I pick up the reading glasses on Friday and I hope they help.
But I am happy to be back in California, riding bikes and spending quiet afternoons working on projects again. Travel is amazing, but it's nice to have a comfortable, familiar space to come home to.