The Pole Pedal Paddle. An iconic Bend, Oregon multisport event that attracts impossibly athletic individuals to excel in downhill skiing, skate skiing, road biking, running and kayaking. My husband is one of these individuals.
I am NOT. But I like to pretend that I am. Don’t get me wrong, this pretending only happens in my head as I could never pull off looking like an actual athlete in a city that is brimming over with real ones. But the vibe here, in our little recreational mecca is very supportive of anybody doing anything active. So last year at an Easter brunch together with some friends, we decided that we should put together a team. (There may or may not have been mimosas involved in this decision.) I volunteered only to bike. The other options are far too skilled for my little frumpy housewife self.
A word on that. I am actually neither frumpy nor a housewife. I am a regular 34 year old mom of two who works part time. I can clean up like a shiny penny, but deep down, I am a makeup-less, hoodie and bun bearing gal. Furthermore, I find that if I am not constantly trying to maintain some level of exercise I easily fall into the land of frumpster.
Partially because of this, and partially just because its fun, I am lucky enough to find myself on a team again this year. I am not kidding when I say lucky. They could probably find an average Joe or Jill walking down the street who could easily beat me on the 22ish mile biking portion. So thanks team, for being my dream team — one that is truly just in it for fun.
Today I took my first official training ride of the year from Mt. Bachelor to Bend. My husband, who does the WHOLE race by himself, was heading up the mountain to ski and so he asked if I wanted to join him for a bike back. This training business isn’t easy with kids. It involves finding childcare every time. Thankfully its the day before Easter and the kids were gleefully dying eggs at their grandparent’s house.
So I helmeted up and clicked in.
Another word on that. Click-in pedals. These things have given me fear and trembling for quite some time. Last year I bravely tested out a loaner pair of click-in shoes for training (which, at first, involved wearing the shoes but not actually clicking them in AT ALL) and the race and actually grew comfortable with them. This year for our anniversary my husband bought me my own pair (he knows me so well!) and so today I got to give a nice-long try. They were amazing. Funny how they used to be the cause of such worry but now I wouldn’t want to ride without them.
I headed down the road knowing that my husband and dog were safely watching over me from the car as they hung back and then drove ahead a ways. I felt good. I thought, “I am doing really well!” My husband snapped a few iPhone photos and I imagined those newspaper stories of the cyclists riding in front of the big beaming snow covered mountain. Maybe I could be one of those cyclists.
But then the pain. The pain always comes. I don’t know if it comes to real athletes. I think they would say that it does and that they power through it. But for me, the pain comes and then the powering through it part falls somewhat short. Can I just say here that the seat on my road bike is strikingly similar to (what I would imagine as) straddling a flat and hard piece of slate. Here is the text message that I sent to my team after my ride was done. I’m prepared to waddle for the next couple of days.
Also, the other cyclists. Here I am thinking that I’m doing well and that aside from some serious discomfort that we already discussed, the other cyclists, completely unknowingly, put me right back into my place. They are riding the exact same road as me. Except uphill. I can’t even make eye contact. They already know that I’m a fraud.
Overall the ride was good. It was fun and the air felt nice. I love the section in which the mountain freeze thaws and I can smell the earth warming. I’ve come to enjoy tucking into my bike and letting it become a part of me as I steer it towards the finish line. Who cares if I’m just pretend? Who cares if I occasionally lean towards the comfort of frumpy housewife? Probably nobody other than me. I am probably the only one standing in my way. But today, I rode.