Today was one of those mornings. The alarm didn’t go off which meant I was running late for a bike ride with friends. My energy was low. My back hurt and I could feel a headache coming on. Girlfriends will empathetically recognize these symptoms. It was my “special” day. I would have much preferred an ordinary one.
Somehow, I got dressed, packed and out of the house. The only reason the bike was in its rightful place (on the bike rack) was because my husband loaded it before leaving to help a friend move.
Several miles down the road I realized I left my phone at home. Darn it, no time to turn around. I guess there will be no option for rescue phone calls. Heavy sigh.
Arriving at Eric’s condominium complex (our starting point) I drove in loops looking for his condo. Having previously been there for numerous other rides didn’t seem to be of any advantage. Around and around I went.
Finally I found it but no one was there. Did I arrive at the wrong time? Where is everyone? Am I too early? Too late?
Turns out I was 30 min early – neither time enough for a run to Starbucks nor to go back home for my phone. I felt like I was in a fog, and there was plenty of that soupy-stuff surrounding me on this early Portland December morning.
Eric, tucked behind his PC, offered me encouragement in the form of a cup of coffee. The only drink I wanted was of the “fluffy variety”, foamy and spiked with caramel goodness. “No thanks, I’ll go get my bike ready.” Back at my SUV I could only stare at my Cannondale as it hung there, suspended from the rack. I couldn’t find the will to even approach it. I caved into the need for coziness and crawled back into my warm car and closed my eyes.
What am I doing here?
Why am I doing this?
Visions of sweet foamy comfort danced through my mind. Yes, a visit to Starbucks is a much better option than trying to keep up with my maniac cycling friends. Who am I kidding? I will be in their dust before I even get out of the parking lot. Yes, I need a recovery day! Decision made: I am not riding.
I slid out of the car with my first resolute thought of the day and proceeded back into Eric’s condo to deliver the update. His attempt at a second dose of encouragement fell flat, as I had made up my mind. Shortly thereafter, I returned to the parking lot to see friends gathering. Max was two spots down from me and it would be rude not to say, “Hi” and then “Bye.”
I laid out my complaints and rational conclusion before my friend. “I know just how you feel, Carolyn,” Max started, “but you know, after ten miles you will feel just fine. That will be the hardest part but then you will be glad you rode.”
“Yeah, but…, my back hurts, I won’t be able to keep up, I’m tired…”. I gave him the full list, leaving out the “special” part.
Then, as if possessed by the voice of a best girlfriend he said, “I’ll tell you what. If you ride, I will stay with you. I don’t need to ride hard today because I have another ride tomorrow. You won’t be alone and we can ride at the pace you want. We can cut the route short and turn back whenever you want. I just want to spin my legs.”
I knew he was right, after warming up I would feel much better. But I knew I did not have the capacity to bike full-throttle, which is the normal pace for this group.
Then I heard myself say, “Max, I will ride only if you promise to let me turn around if I decide it’s too much for me.”
“Okay” he (or should I say she?) agreed.
I think you know the rest of the story. I started (in spite of myself) and finished thanks to my new girlfriend. Thanks, Max. You have shown me that girlfriends also come in the man-variety.