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April 29, 2002: Pity party, table for one

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After two weeks of inactivity, we finally got back on the bikes this morning. it's been two weeks because Richard had a mild bout of pneumonia (I say Ďmildí simply because this time he didnít have to end up in the hospital). I could have gone riding in the mornings without him, I suppose, but that would have taken far more willpower than I seem to posses. And lately, since heís been feeling better, the wind has been far too strong. One downside to where we live is that itís smack dab in the middle of a wind tunnel this time of year. I remember days in college where it was faster to walk my bike than try to fight the wind, and this weekend it was just about that bad.

Since, of the two of us, Iím the one whoís the most out of shape, I am usually the one who dictates how far we ride. This morning, we only went five miles, and by the time we finally made it back home, I was completely exhausted. My legs hurt, there was a crick in my neck from hunching over the bike handlebars (Iím sure my bike posture is atrocious) and my nose was running because it was cold outside. In other words, I was feeling pretty miserable and angry with myself. Two weeks ago weíd managed to work ourselves up to six miles for our morning rides, and I could maintain a speed of at least ten miles per hour. And in two weeks time now Iíve reverted to barely eight miles per hour by the end of the trip, and even that five miles was pushing it. Granted there was a slight breeze blowing against us on the way back, but it wasnít strong enough to blame for my complete and utter lack of speed.

The trips we take on weekends are more for distance than endurance, and so if I drop below a certain speed I donít worry about it. But the morning rides are more for endurance, and after the ride this morning, Iím feeling pretty discouraged. Weíve been at this now for two months, albeit sporadically sometimes, and after my dismal performance this morning I donít feel as if Iíve progressed much beyond where we were at the beginning of March. I know weíve got a year still to prepare for this trip, but today Iím not entirely convinced that weíre going to actually be able to be ready for it, or rather, if *Iím* going to be ready for it. If Iím having this much trouble maintaining speed in a little breeze, on completely flat roads, Iím going to be a complete and utter failure when I have to face all those hills in Ireland next May.

I know that once weíre back in the habit of riding, after a week or two, Iíll start feeling more confident and the speed will start slowly coming back. I know that Iím merely reacting to a two-week hiatus and that once I get a few morning rides under my belt, things will get better. But right now, after how poorly I did this morning, that knowledge is a very small consolation.

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