Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's behind me is not important. (The Gumball Rally)

When I was seventeen, my mother let me buy a pair of towering stiletto heels to wear to a wedding. "These shoes are about looking good. They are not about being comfortable," she said firmly as she insisted I practice walking in them before the big event. She was right. It was a huge wedding with hours of dancing. I felt like a movie star in those shoes, but I was in agony after a couple of hours. I sat down by my mother and a gaggle of her tittering sisters. "Is it OK to take them off and dance in my stocking feet for a while?" The women convulsed in laughter. "Go. You've worked hard at looking good. Now just have fun the rest of the night." I had passed the Annoying Introductory Bump associated with wearing sexy stiletto heels.

It's just something you have to live through if you want to do some things in life.

We've been doing the road bike pace line thing since May. We're getting faster. We're getting stronger. We've done a century. It was time to raise the bar a tad higher. Time for another Annoying Introductory Bump. Multiple days of longer rides in a pace line.

So now we've rolled over that bump. We've had three days of riding around Miami with the Everglades Bicycle Club. The Saturday EBC group ride, the Sunday Hollywood ride, and, a little something extra, a Monday ride in Redland. All around 50 miles a ride.

On Saturday we joined the 18-22+ group for the ride to Deering. This was our first ride with this group. Since it was day one of our 3 day ride schedule, we decided just to do the first leg of the day's ride with them. A taste test, so to speak. We waited at Deering for our usual group (the 16-18 mph riders), and finished the Saturday ride with them. We noted with interest that the pace line of the 16-18 group was more disciplined than weeks before. People were more focused. They were getting ready for big rides.

Sunday we pedaled down to Miami City Hall once again, this time for the 17-19 mph group ride to Hollywood. There were 7 riders this week. Part of the usual group were riding to Key West and part were in Mt. Dora biking the hills of Central Florida. Riders joined the group as we rode toward downtown. More were added as we rode through Miami Beach. It was a fabulous day for a bike ride. Besides, on this ride we got to hear not just the usual calls for holes, debris, and water, but something more memorable and hilarious: snow! Someone had dumped a huge pile of crushed ice in the bike lane. In Miami, this counts as snow.

For the Monday ride in Redland we opted to put the bikes in the bike carrier and take the car the 20 miles south to Larry and Penny Thompson Park. We milled around getting our bikes ready as riders came in by car and by bike. We rode a modified Tour de Redland route, since the demented government shutdown had closed Everglades National Park. The day was sunny, the humidity low. It was a wonderful ride with open, rural roads and nice conversations with other riders as we pedaled along. Every ride has a special moment. On this ride we got to ride through the brief rainstorm of an irrigation machine operating close to the highway.

We drove home and dealt with clean up of bikes and gear. We were tired but elated. We had wimpy body parts, but nothing that a hot shower and a long nap wouldn't improve. We were over another Annoying Introductory Bump.

The beauty of doing things like this is simple. The first time over a bump is scary and off-putting because you don't know how it will be. But then you do it. It doesn't kill you. In fact, you feel great about having done it. Now you can do it again without getting all worked up about it. It's behind you now. Like the scene in that old movie The Gumball Rally where Franco (Raul Julia) says, "Remember the first rule of Italian driving. (He pulls off the rear view mirror.) What's behind me is not important."

Works for me.