All I want to do is lay down and close my eyes for a little. I'm so tired and sleepy, I might just fall asleep right here on the bike, maybe then the pain would just drift away with my sleep. I can't focus on anything except sleepy tiredness and 4723. 4723 4723 4723 4723 4723 4723 4723. Now it says 4732 4732 4732 4732, now it is 4745 4745 4745. My brain is chanting these numbers like a beat in a club. I'm numb all over, except for when the road points up I feel my muscles in my legs tearing, burning, breaking through my skin, through my knickers exposed to the air. 4788 4788 4788 4788. How are my legs still moving, I'm pretty sure I told them to stop miles ago?
How did I get to this point, laying on the bathroom floor in the fetal position praying for a swift and clean death? Did I not eat enough? Drink enough? Kill me now. I am weak. My body thinks I am weak and it is shutting down and closing up shop. Maybe if I just empty the contents of my stomach I can start over? How pathetic is this? I should know better? Why is it every time I am hugging the toilet it is self induced? At least my brain is not pounding against my skull trying to free itself from a chemical induced death. So I've got that going for me. This Pepsi is coming up, maybe not. A little sip of recovery drink, a little more Pepsi, some more recovery drink. This cold tile feels good, or does it? All I can feel is the sickness in my stomach taking over my body, organ by organ like a game of Risk.
I can feel my legs, they have a few miles in them and a few thousand feet of climbing. Are the miles and feet of climbing in your legs or do they come out like a deposit at a bank? You start your day with X miles and Y feet, and you just keep making withdraws until you are in the red, Overdrawn? I don't know? I started my day with zero, zero. I already had a metric century and 3k' worth of climbing in or out when we met up with Marty to do another lap. I should know better, but there is something about feeling good at the "in the moment" that reduces brain function to "sure let's go again".
Mile 79.8 I stopped. Not cracked, blown up, shelled. Stopped. Hindsight is 20/20 and I should have called it a day well before that point, but now we are 13mi from town, and 18mi from the comfort of my bathroom floor. Matt and Marty pushed and nursed me back to the Pedestrian Bridge where we said good bye to Marty and Matt paced me back to my turn-off. Thanks Matt -sorry about getting caught in the rain.
Between the point of failure to the point of being home is a blur of sensory overload. 13mph feels like 70mph out of control on ice skidding to your death. Pedal strokes are involuntary one second and the next are so labored I can't tell if my crank arms are frozen or broken off? Am I peddling backwards? Are those my feet attached to my legs, I can see feet but they don't feel like mine. I know these legs are not mine because there is a compatibility issue with the interface. They are not doing what I want them to do, and they are telling me what I don't want to hear. These are not my legs.
Long before all this happened yesterday, Matt and I were having a conversation about hurting and pain, and trying to explain how it feels to someone who has never experienced suffering. How does one put into words the feeling one goes through emotionally and physically when you put the body into a situation such as this? After the morbid pain and misery subsided, I was left with the hallow feeling one gets from stressing the body, and it feels....good. Not a good like ice cream and cake good, but like I just survived good. I like to call it the "putting the legs up". If you have been there you know what I am talking about. Putting the legs up on the couch or the ottoman with the satisfaction that you have inner accomplishment of physical and emotional greatness. You just made yourself better.
We talk of having a bad day on the bike, but is there really such a thing? I could easily say that yesterday was a horrible experience, or I could say that it was anything that I want it to be. My attitude towards what happened forms the person that I am, that I will be. Can you take a negative in your life and make it a positive? My Mom always said "your worst day of skiing is better than your best day at work". What I take away from yesterday is, one) a good story to tell, b) strength, secondly) I know the people that I have surrounded myself with -are incredible people. Yesterday is history, and it is now just part of my foundation of who I am and what I am.