I haven't posted but to be honest I haven't been riding. Recently my wife and I had an opportunity to make a dream come true and went to Peru for a couple of weeks. It was an amazing trip and I managed to keep fitness by hiking at altitude including a 4 day hike on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It was an absolutely amazing experience and it also meant almost 4 weeks off the bike. I didn't even sit on one for the longest period since I started riding about 5 years ago.
Today was my first time back on the bike and I did the local Dam Loop which is almost a 60 mile loop from the house. I started off and quickly found myself in the hurt locker and riding sucked once again just like when I left. It had turned into almost a necessary evil that allowed me to race which also kinda sucked in a way. Then, I had an epiphany. I've been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and it is the story of a people in Mexico who are tremendous distance runners and the journey to finding joy in ultra long distance running. As I sat on the bike I begin to question why riding has to hurt and suck and I decided it doesn't. Now you may say that its not that simple to decide that, reality is still reality. However, I decided to separate my mind from the pain in the legs and think on the beauty of my scenery and the many things I've been blessed with including the experiences of our recent trip. All of a sudden I was free from the hurt locker and riding was fun again. It was incredibly freeing. I've been riding so long and trying to continually move up the ranks that I've forgotten that riding can be fun and only thought about "workouts" and "getting stronger". If I didn't feel the pain I told myself I wasn't working hard enough and I believe was focusing so much on the pain that I was actually holding myself back. I would be lying if I said that at the end of a long ride after time off I wasn't tired and sore but it was a good ride for the first ride in 4 weeks and the first "free" ride in I don't know how long. It's good to be back on the bike and free.