by Kevin E.
So I realize that this is the first blog post of 2013. Since it was so late in coming, I had wanted to make it a special one.
I wanted to come here at the end of the day today and recount to you the tale of my first Tour de Lake Hopatcong. I wanted to say that I bravely held onto the front of the pack as we sped around Lake Hopatcong. I wanted to recall my glorious grind up Edison Road and my pedal-pounding punch up Weldon Road. I wanted to say that I had achieved my goal of a sub 2hr, 10 min finishing time.
But alas, luck (or a lack thereof) got the better of me.
I did successfully stick with the lead group along the west side of the lake, only to get dropped on the first significant climb. I joined forces with a small chase group to gain back some ground. I was getting my legs back and I was ready to lay down some watts (which I could see with my new power meter) and chase back on.
Until I slammed into a “pothole”, which is apparently what they call small meteor craters around here, and tore an irreparable gash in the side of my tire. After just 48 minutes and 16 miles, my day was done.
Suffice to say, I was not a happy camper as I laid my crippled bicycle (her name is Clara, by the way) in the roadside weeds. Fellow Cycle Craft-er Nick P. was on his way to pick me up. (Thanks again for the ride, Nick!)
As I kindly declined the gracious offers of assistance from passing riders, I could swear that Clara shot me more than a few disapproving glares as she lay unceremoniously on the ground. I think psychologists call that “projection”.
My ride arrived and as I loaded myself and my two-wheeled companion into the four-wheeled broom wagon, I couldn’t help but think about what could have been. Along the way, Nick and I picked up another stricken rider who also flatted, and learning I wasn’t the only unlucky one gave me a bit of solace. Just a little bit, though.
We arrived back at the start/finish area just in time to see my former riding partners roll through the line. As I cheered them on, I wished I could share in their accomplishment.
Now before you go thinking this post will be just me lamenting my bad luck, bear with me. What I really wanted to share with you is the lesson I learned later on in the day.
Feeling cheated by the cycling gods, I decided to throw a new tire on and go for a ride on my home roads in spite of the misfortune thrust upon me earlier that morning. Also, I promised Clara two hours of ride time today, and she wasn’t going to be denied.
After setting a new personal best up one of my favorite local climbs and flying down the fast descent that followed, I forgot all about the road crater that derailed my ambitions earlier in the day. I was just glad to be gliding down the road on my dream bike, enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon. And Clara seemed pretty satisfied as well. Maybe that was just that “projection” thing again…
The lesson here? There are a lot of things that can sometimes make cycling a chore. Tire punctures, potholes, headwinds, disrespectful drivers, you name it. Sometimes they can ruin your day. But we shouldn’t let the risk of those minor annoyances keep us from the bliss that can be had astride of a bicycle. And it doesn’t have to be a super-fast race machine like my lady Clara.
Whatever you ride and wherever you ride it, don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
Also, congratulations to everyone who participated in Tour de Lake today. You all rock!