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August 21, 2002: Again

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As we have been biking these past several months, I have marked on the calendar the miles we ride each day.

The last time a number shows up on my calendar is July 30th. 22 miles. I rode with Richard to work and then rode home by myself, fighting the wind the whole way.

Part of the reason for not riding has been that we were gone for a week. And part of it was the air quality (which really was pretty bad - I'm not just saying that). But that only covers a fraction of the time over the past few weeks.

The truth of the matter is that there has been no real reason why I couldn't have gone riding. I could have gotten up and headed out on my bike after Richard left for work. I didn't have to wait for him to get better. I didn't have to ride only when he was with me. I didn't need any place to go. I could have just gone riding, all by myself. Because I am all about the miles. Remember that?

When we started this biking thing, it was as exercise for the weight loss program. But then it became something bigger. We were in training. We were going to go to Ireland next year and take a few weeks to bike around Ireland for our rather belated honeymoon. I would occasionally browse through websites of other people who've done similar trips. I'd ponder the type of gear we would need. I'd look at the calendar and figure out how many more months we would have to train, and wonder if I'd really be ready when the time came.

Then I got laid off, and with my unemployment came the realization that this goal I've been working toward was just not going to happen. Oh, we can try to plan it for later, perhaps a few more years down the road. But it isn't going to happen next year, and depending on when I can find a new job, it might not happen the year after that either.

And so I didn't ride because I didn't want to. I didn't see the point. I suppose you could say I was having myself a fine sulk, but what was the point in keeping up this training when the thing we were training for suddenly disappeared? Heck, even our 1000-mile goal is meaningless now, since we certainly can't justify spending money on a server when one of us has no steady income.

Three weeks, it's been, since there were numbers on my calendar. Three weeks...until today. We got up early and got dressed, and Richard checked the tires and I filled up my Camelback, and then we set off toward Davis. There was barely any wind at all, and not much traffic. The air smelled of fertilizer and pesticides as we pedaled by the farms.

We turned into the campus and rode down the bumpy bike path beside the creek, and then came up onto the streets and meandered into town. Richard went on to work and I turned around and headed back home. And as I was leaving Davis and coming back into all the farms that span the distance between that town and mine, I realized that I was smiling. I was enjoying myself. Yes I was hot and sweaty and getting tired, and there was a little headwind every time I turned west, and my legs were protesting just a little bit after three weeks of inactivity. But that didn't matter. Suddenly I remembered why it was that we did this. Suddenly I remembered all the reasons why we were biking - all the reasons that were far more important than that trip to Ireland. So we won't be able to go on any long trips in foreign countries anytime soon. I can ride 22 miles in less than 2 hours and still have the energy to run up the stairs when I get home.

There are 10 more days in August. Let's see how many more numbers I can write on the calendar before the month is over. Let's see if we can break 800 miles before the end of the month.

I'm *so* all about the miles. Yeah, baby. I'm back.

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