I woke up this morning composing this post in my mind and hearing the voice identical to that, for which I’ve expressed such disdain on these pages and wanted to make sure I didn’t belabor that angle. The Death Ride – Tour of the California Alps is FOUR short days away. Rather than waste this post with predictable indications of woe about how poor my diet has been over the last few weeks, my lack of preparation, questioning my fitness level, and doubting my confidence; there are a bazillion other angles from which to gaze. In other words, when going through a difficult situation years ago, what popped into my head and has remained as my mantra when worry takes over is, “The world is bigger than that.”
Indeed it is. This year I am doing The Death Ride as a fundraiser. I mentioned it briefly here a few posts ago without much explanation. I was born with Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1). My story is here. Please take the time to read it and share the link or this blog with anyone you think will read it too. The suffering I will endure on the ride is nothing compared to what others with my condition endure daily. We who have NF1 all have the same gene. It’s just luck of the draw as to the severity of each case. I am very, very fortunate.
In addition to my link above you can Google NF1 or spell it out: Neurofibromatosis 1.
Every event we finished last year was based on the ultimate goal of The Death Ride. This year it feels like I am a teenager testing the boundaries of a parent’s discipline; only in this case, I’m the parent wagging the finger telling my teenage-self that I’m about to be grounded because I haven’t done my chores. Blame the rain, the heat, appointments, the sale-hence-papers-and-packing of my WBF’s home of 20-some years; but the bottom line is the training miles did not get ridden this season, not to mention the blog posts that went with them.
Two weeks ago we finished my second Tollhouse Century. Mid-ride my Garmin read 124.3 degrees Fahrenheit. I figure it usually reads about five-degrees high. Early in the ride close to the top of only the first climb I seriously wondered if I was going to be able to make it. My WBF said, “Only seven miles to the next rest stop.” That got me through. “Brutal” is over-used among our tribe of riders, but that ride was everything-brutal and more.
Last year every training ride was calculated. Every event prepared us for the next. And all of it was new for me. This year I found myself approaching Tollhouse without the anxiety I couldn’t shake the first time, even without the preparation I knew I needed. I know that the 97.5 miles and 7500 feet of elevation gain in temperatures soaring above 100 degrees two weeks ago put me in better position for The Death Ride.
Am I fooling myself? The Death Ride is twice the climbing as The Tollhouse in only thirty-five more miles. Saturday will tell all, but there are two things I inconveniently forget when the worry takes over leading up to these rides:
- Every event becomes a training ride if there’s another one scheduled after it, and
- Being part of such an intense challenge with hundreds of others is electric.
On Bill Cosby’s seventieth birthday he said, “I’ve never waited so long for anything else in my entire life!.” Well, I say, “I’ve never had this many miles of training on my legs ever before in my entire life. I’m so not ready, I’m ready.”
Yes, the world is bigger than that.