It’s my first ride in three weeks. It has been so long since I’ve felt the twin sensations of a warm sun and cool wind on my face, as I ride down the hill from my house to the trail. I used to love that sensation, today it feels almost foreign, half remembered. My legs have long gone feral, overgrown and under used. I don’t have the typical excuses. I am not busy. It doesn’t matter that the weather has been shitty, because I’ve ridden in shitty weather before. And I’m not quite a father yet, so I can’t say that I’ve been up all night, or that the kid needs to be dropped off, and then picked up from day care. It’s just; I don’t know. I don’t know what it is.
I was so in love this time last year, always packing on miles: a longer loop for the commute, or a little post work spin through Interlaken, over the U-Bridge and along the Burke to home. I rode fifteen hour weeks. Seventeen hour weeks. Even twenty hour weeks, all without regard to training, or even an idea to race. I rode fast on Tuesdays after work. Pedaled eighty miles in the pouring rain with friends; working through headwinds that required more effort than pace. I raced a little. When May came—just as the weather was starting to get nice—the floor fell out.
I know what you’re thinking. “You’re burned out you idiot!” And maybe that was true. It most certainly was. But that isn’t the case anymore. I’ve had enough of a break. But still, there is something lacking.
“Do you think that maybe you just have another hobby now?” Asks a therapist I’m interviewing
“Maybe.” I respond “There’s definitely a little of that, but I have a lot of my identity wrapped up in being a cyclist.”
“You know that no longer finding joy in something you used to love is a symptom of depression”
“Yeah I know.” I respond with a slight laugh.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s part of it.
I never wanted to be one of those shop guys who was just “over it.” But here I am, exhibiting all the displays of one of those people I used to hate. And yet. Here I am.
My relationship with cycling as of late is more centered on the riding of others. I provide the good and services that somehow enhance—perceived or otherwise—their ride. I tune derailleurs when they aren’t shifting well. Special order parts when they need to be replaced. Pad their brake shoes, and build their wheels, swipe their card and exchange thank yous. We chat. I consider some friends. They ride off and I get in my car and drive home; a little less than I could have been.
“This is worse than when I lost my faith.” I think to myself on what I guess is technically, my second ride in three weeks, the ride home from work. This might be an overblown statement brought on by too much caffeine and an empty stomach. And so I counter it with another thought, but it’s strong and holds on. Being a rider made my voice as a writer—maybe that’s an over blown statement, a false one. Riding certainly focused it in a way I can’t make apparent. There seems to be so much changing in my life right now, that—I don’t know—I was just hoping to have a little something to hold on to; a solid mooring. That might be too much to ask, as I’m unsure there is such a thing.