I almost quit today. Yep, I almost threw in the towel and turned around and went home. I was very close to quitting. The Riverside Bicycle Club's Annual members only Smog to Surf Bike Ride was today and I signed up with Robert to ride the metric century, which should have been no big deal. I mean, after all, I have written two century rides and lots of upper mile rides. But this ride didn't have Robert - he couldn't make it. And this one had hills. Again, that shouldn't make a difference as I have been really riding the hills - Mt. Rubidoux, those steep streets off of Hawarden, GMR. I am not fast, but I have endurance.
That is why I was thrown for such a loop this morning when we started out. Within 2 miles I was dropped. Not an inch by inch drop. This was a big drop off a cliff. Everyone just zoomed by me. And I was huffing and pushing and pulling and sweating and I was dropped. I pulled over and called the president of the bike club, and told her I was coming back because something was definitely wrong with my bike. Just then a couple of late starters came up and one of them checked out my bike and pronounced it "okay," then went on to reassure me that the hill we were going up was steep and it was hard.
OKAY, then. I hopped back on my bike and started riding with the little group. And in my mind I started coming up with reasons why, if my bike was "okay" I would be struggling so much. Did I not recover enough this week? Was I getting sick? Did I have too much lactate acid build-up in my legs. Should I go to the hospital and get a blood test? Maybe I am anemic and that's why pedaling up these hills is so difficult? Can you become anemic in one week? Because one week ago I was fine pedaling up hills.
Half way up this REALLY big hill I pulled over and someone else checked my bike. Please God, I was praying in my head, let them fix my bike so I can ride up this hill and enjoy this ride. The guy checked it out and pronounced my bike "okay." What? Oh, crap! That means the problem IS me. I got back on my bike and just sucked it up and rode on. It was torturous. It was torture to my legs and to my ego. My legs were screaming and so was my ego, especially when a newbie biker rode right by me. UUgghhhh! The only thing that saved my ego was that I was riding ahead of the first guy that deemed my bike in working order.
I suffered to stay up with the group! Even on the downhills I suffered. While others coasted, I had to pedal to stay up. SUFFER!
When the group made a stop at a little gas station/convenience store I was surprised to see my Coach, Tony Troccoli and fellow Triathlon Connection friend Sinta Tan ride up. They were riding RBC's Century ride and just got a little off track. He asked how things were going and I told him I was having a hard time riding. Today riding was HARD! He took a look at my bike and prounounced it "NOT okay!" He said I was riding the brake and Sinta made an adjustment and then it was "okay!"
The rest of the ride was a breeze!
I am so glad I didn't give up. I may have been one of the last riders up the hill, but I bet I got the best workout because I was riding with my back brake on. And sometimes having our brakes on makes us better. Better athletes. Better spouses. Better parents. Better people.
Tomorrow I am going start using my brakes more.