I was going to write this amazing essay about California and America and training and balancing injury with always being on the edge of injury anyway. I’ve been writing it in my head the last two weeks while biking and I’ve been spending a lot of time biking, so it was pretty good in my head. But, well, I’ve been spending a lot of time biking. And working. And eventually the math just isn’t there on the number of hours left. So instead, here are three things that happened in the last two weeks:
1. On 4th of July I went for my second long ride in four days. I was exhausted and the ride sucked. Then, as I was almost done, descending back into town and had to be home for an interview in 27 minutes, my back brake caliper came off. God, I was so pissed. I almost started throwing stuff over the side of the bridge I was on: water bottles, phones, keys. But the fastest way to deal with it was to pull myself together and fix it (temporarily), so that’s what I did. And, then, totally true story, as I was rolling home from there, soft-pedaling through town, a bird shit on my arm.
2. Wednesday night I was supposed to be at a show from 8-11:30 p.m. But Tupac the Cat has recently decided his new trick is to go out and refuse to come home for many, many hours. We ended up rescheduling the show for this week and, so, I ended up with three free hours where I had nothing I had to do. Theoretically. Yet, somehow those hours got filled with work due the next day, with fixing up my back-up bike while the Dimond was getting worked on (not as nice as the Dimond but got to make do), and getting things done so I could ride first thing in the morning before we had to leave immediately after I was done. Basically all stuff that had to happen that night. Which raises the question: What was my plan originally? Did I have one?
3. Friday, it was 107 degrees up in Sonoma. I know this because I rode the 60 miles back from Healdsburg. Usually, heat isn’t too bad on the bike and I deal OK with it at this point (though I still hate it), but Friday was a furnace. The wind blowing in your face felt like an oven. I couldn’t literally drink enough water. And then I started to get nauseous and have a bad headache—things that happen when you’re getting heat messed up. Add to that, I was barely turning the pedals over. About 25 minutes from home, struggle slogging through the miserableness, I saw my front tire roll over a rock and go flat. And for maybe five minutes I stood there, in the 3 p.m. heat, trying to decide if I should call someone to come get me, if I was going to die on the side of this road. Then, I got on with fixing the flat, one slow step at a time, and then I got back on the bike, and then I rode home.
This week sucked. It was ugly and rough, and when I can’t physically cram everything in, I get angry. It goes something like: This is stupid, what the hell are we doing, why the fuck am I trying to make this all fit when it won’t fit, am I some kind of goddamn idiot. It sucked.
But I think there’s something Ironman training teaches you—for better and definitely for worse—where you just keep going one step at a time, and there is no plan, because for the love of God you can’t think beyond this immediate step you’re on right now, all you can do is the next thing you need to do and then the next and hopefully eventually it all works out. I mean, if that’s not the underlying principle of Ironman, then I haven’t learned shit in the last two years.