ealized today how much I love to ride my bike and how much I was meant to ride it. It just resets my brain and helps me clear shit. I put in the headphones, move it to the "1ride1live" playlist on my Ipod and begin the process of emptying my brain....instead filling it with the music I rarely listen to anymore. The old punk and metal stuff mostly. The stuff that can drive my ride and push me beyond my lung and heart capacity. Pantera, Motorhead, Thrill Kill Kult, Mudhoney, Dead Kennedys, Waterboys, Rob Zombie, The Cramps, Dead Milkmen, Public Enemy, Fishbone, Social Distortion, Horrorpops, and more. Then it finishes up with an unlikely tune by Sleater-Kinney: Good Things.
Why such a mellow song? And why last? Well it's the words of the song that get me. Last? Because I like to finish a ride with it so it's really easy to just scroll to the end when you are wearing full finger gloves and hit "play". Probably wondering what the lyrics are and well I guess I'm just going to make you just wait until the end of this rant to figure that one out.
Back to the important thing: riding. After finding out many of the problems I experienced in the last 3 years stem from a head injury I've been ultra senstive to speed. I freak out at speeds that I used to be able to do no problem. I'm slowly getting that back though. Slowly getting stronger. And I guess that's just it....riding reminds me at times I'm getting better. Getting stronger. That I can't be brought down. I am that stronger than I think. Fuck if I can hold 180-190 heart rate pushing the hardest frighin' gear up a serious climb....I'm strong. I'm not being held back.
Riding has always been my way of clearing my head but since the head injury it's been vital I ride. Yeah, the fact I hold back bothers me. But the fact I do still push it from time to time inspires me. The fact I'm riding so strong despite not being where I want to be weight wise (I swear us bike geeks are too obessed with it but whatever makes us faster we do it) tells me something. My legs are taking a tremendous beating these days as I usually try to big ring (hard gear for non-bike geeks) everything....and only when I've beat my body up from riding too hard or partying too hard (which I do) I'm pushing the big ring. When I moved to Colorado, when I was healthy and lighter, I couldn't big ring or even middle ring the shit I can conquer now.
That feels good.
Riding combined with the right musical soundtrack (something I've done for 10 years) I mix the two things that bring me the most joy in life into one. So that hour-hour and a half I go ride or longer I'm in a heightened state of bliss. Bliss. Funny to think it's bliss when you are pushing the limits of your lungs,legs, and heart to the max. When your HR is 193 and you think you're going to die if it stays there. Riding those last few miles home with your legs cramping repeatedly because you are spent. Yeah, that's bliss for me. Knowing I've pushed myself beyond what I'm supposed to be able to do. It's a model for my life. If I can push myself to beyond my limits for an hour or so.....well I know I can do it. Then it's just a matter of applying it to the rest of my life.
I started riding when I was 15. I started racing a year later. Within a year of that I had a bike sponsor and Powerbar giving me free product. 17 years later I'm still going. How many people can say that about sports they did in high school? Few. But that's the glory of the bike...it knows no age. And they only get more fun to ride as the years go on. Stronger. Lighter. Faster. Quicker. I love my bike. Yeah, the brakes are way underpowered for some of the stuff I do making for some scary moments but that's a solution I'm working on. Discs. Yeah that means nothing to non-bike people. Oh well.
Guess I'm just glad I road today. Had a great day, spent a couple hours with a very close friend that just made my day. My ride was the icing on the cake. Just sealed stuff up nicely.
Well not much more to say....but the following lyrics to "Good Things" by Sleater-Kinney should explain why I like to ride and why I like to listen to music when I ride...especially this song:
got this feeling
when i heard your name the other day
couldn't say it
couldn't make it go away
it's a hard place
can't be friends we can't be enemies
it's just too much
i feel the weight crushing down on my face
the hardest part is things already said
getting better worse i cannot tell
why do good things never wanna stay
some things you lose some things you give away
try and make it good again
is it worth
it will it make me safe today?
it's a dumb song
but i'll write it anyway
it's an old mistake
but we always make it why do we
this time it'll be alright
this time it'll be okay
The good things in my life I'll always have are my bike and my music. With them I can conquer anything life throws my way. Feels good knowing I have that option. Feeling good today. Really good.