The hardest week ever
How about a little misery to end the Hardest Week Ever?
Well I use the word “hardest” advisedly. It was certainly hard for America. And it was by no means my hardest week ever.
Things that are hard work:
Networking. Coffee with Friends. Lining up gigs. (Re)building my portfolio. Selling myself. Hopping from meeting to meeting by bike (from SW Portland, even). Deviating from my six-years-old routine.
Perhaps hardest of all was: not having a Second Home to retreat to between all the meetings. A place to hang my wet bike gear. A place closer than eight miles from all the different bizness lunches. Didn’t realize how spoiled I would be, having that second home.
So of course I ended the Hardest Week Ever with a 50-plus-mile bike ride with 8000 ft. of cumulative elevation gain. This is the second year in which I did the RondePDX and the third time I rode the whole course. Felt like my weakest go at it yet. Thom and I paced each other; I finished strong but had a tough middle third, mentally. That was probably Thom’s best third. We dragged each other up the first third, where we gamely attempted to hang with our teammates, all of whom were skinnier and stronger.
I’ve lost about 10 pounds this last year, I suspect mostly muscle. Not a good feeling. I don’t remember my legs and back hurting this much last year. We also had less of a lead over the (un)official (non-)start time. So large groups of faster riders overtook us, mostly in the back ten miles. That was dispiriting.
I rode the Gunnar (again) and regretted it. It felt like it weighed about 35 pounds. I did not regret that choice last year, which is telling. Although I was glad as always for the disc brakes and wide (28mm) tires on the descents.
Otherwise: beautiful weather, great ride, good company as always. I find the back half especially fun as it’s well-trodden ground for me, being essentially all the variants of my commute strung together. I’d enjoy this more as a friendly little group ride and not a gigantic Everyone’s Riding the West Hills Event. But the Event is fun, too: kids selling lemonade, random people with beer handups, cowbells and cheering.
Weird, though, to have to share the view from My Hill with so many other people.