Not Seeking Absolution

It was a short day and I was working from home. The sun was out and the chance of rain was low, a seemingly rare occurrence in the one of the wettest springs on record. The Boss told me to get out and enjoy the sun but I was already ten miles out by the time he responded. I took, not one, but two trips up Norway Hill, under a somewhat misguided idea to start “training” again. I was so caught up that I forgot to stop and lean my bike against the sign at the top and post it to my instagram, something I look forward to every time I ride up there. Hours later I’ll wonder why I have such a hard time with this, and why I think I have to be out there doing these types of things one moment, but be totally over it the next. It’s a struggle I am, for the most part over. Over it in the sense that I’m still going to worry and talk about it all the time.

Those are revelations that come days later.

Even with the intervals I can claim that I am just out to ride for the sake of riding. Yeah there was an agenda and there was a heart rate I was targeting, but there is no metaphysical drama, or existential angst. I’m out riding because I am happy. Content for the first time in as far back as I can remember.

After the forgotten Norway Hill ritual I climb up 68th, which becomes Larch. A guy in a Volvo drives by close shouting “GO GO GO GO GO LANCE!” as he drives by slow and then speeds away. I flip him a half hearted bird, I don’t really feel it though and I know he doesn’t give a shit about what I’ve got to say to him. Years ago I would have chased, but now we’ve said our peace and that’s all there is to it.

My good mood continues unabated.

So much of my riding and racing used to be about running away from something, or by hatred for my job, my boss, or my situation in life. Mostly it was at myself and all the riding and racing was more about hurting myself. The pain in the legs, the searing lungs, a misguided delusional way of atoning for my sins. All of that has gone away in the last year. Without all of that I’m just riding.

A few weeks ago a friend asked what prompted a long solo outing. “It was a nice day.” I responded it. No angst pushed me out the door to one of northernmost points of Washington State and back. The sun was out and I was happy.

It’s the same today. Though the distance is much shorter.

Through Edmonds I take the fun and fast road down to the sound instead of the fast one and turn south into a stiff headwind. In the drops and the little ring I make a slow, turning progress against the wind. I can see the incoming rain showers on the other side of the Sound. They’ll be here in a couple hours, more than enough time for me to get home. Even with this wind.

Eventually the road tacks east away from the Sound and tree, houses and parks provide a bit of a wind block. It takes a little longer to get home, but not too bad. I think about all the things I think about when I ride alone. Words. Story ideas. The way my bike fits. Bikes I want to have. Rides I want to do.

Up the block from home I stop in the Safeway, “locking” my bike up to the rack out front with the strap of my helmet. My first thought when entering isn’t Where to find the chocolate milk? it is another question, What’s the motivator when I’m not out trying to fix something about myself? What’s the push when there is no pain to excise, no sin to seek absolution for? I decide it’s not worth asking, but just accepting. I also need some cookies and they’re on the other side of
the store.

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