Wednesday, December 8, 2010

While you were sleeping

I was out riding through a fog so thick it looked like I could have eaten it with a spoon, had the gummy worms (secret weapon #2, with #1 being sweetened cold tea in one of the water bottles) not been enough.

Every year they close the highway from Santiago to Valparaíso, a distance of about 120 km from where I sit, and a whole bunch of people walk and ride out to Lo Vasquez, a Catholic sanctuary that celebrates Mary for the Assumption of Mary, Dec 8th. Many of them are religious pilgrims, I am a person who enjoys long, car-free bike rides.

I have many things to say about this tradition, and about different experiences I've had on the road from here to there. As luck would have it, I am about six breaths away from falling over. Turns out replacing a night of sleep with a night of pedalling isn't really an even exchange. You can add the bike, but you cannot remove the sleep from the equation.

But the thing I am struck by now is Luis. Luis was a guy I worked with at a publishing company. I was getting really into swimming, and told him how I was working towards a mile. And he said "you should never swim a mile." Why? I asked. Because you'll always want to swim a mile after that, and you have better things to do in the pool and with your time, unless you're planning on becoming a distance swimmer. Luis was a triathelete when I knew him, and I have reason to believe that he's correct.

Which brings me (right now, surely after I wake up I'll be in another place) to the thought, now that I've done this ride so many times, will I always want to do it, even though sometimes sleeping or riding half way or walking or not going at all would really be a better use of my time?

I have 364 more days to ponder. Coming up, what I brought, ate and saw. And if you think you've heard part of this story before, you have a very good memory, because here is last year's report. Now go eat some fog.


Margaret said...

Hi! I was wondering if you were going to repeat this year! Your OWN Día de María ritual! Wish I had a 10th of your stamina!

Pam said...

I'm kinda fat and outta shape now, so you wouldn't know it to look at me, but once, I rode my bike 200 miles. A double century. And I was all, huh, that wasn't so far, what would happen if I rode, like 1000 miles in 100 mile bites. I never did to that, but whatever. It's nice to know that once, I rode 200 miles in two days. It makes me (falsely) imagine that I could do it again if I had to.

Eileen said...

Pam, that is amazing. That's a huge amount of pedalling, seriously! I'm sure you could do the 100 mile bites any time you wanted to. I think anyone who was once in that kind of shape sort of secretly still is.

While in the past this long ride has made me want to get out and ride more, this time it made me want to go for a hike. Hope to report back on that sooner, rather than later.

And Margaret, it's not really stamina so much as stubborn perserverence.