Bear with me here. As I was perusing some of my favorite cycling related blogs this morning whilst enjoying my morning porridge (actually Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal – Banana Bread variety), an explanation appeared in my mind that will perhaps shed light on why I’ve been disgruntled and experiencing anhedonic-like emotions when it comes to riding this past week. More correctly, I’ve experienced anhedonic-like feelings for getting on my trainer as the weather here in the mountains of Western North Carolina has been less than accommodating to my particular riding style.
Since about January 2nd, I’ve had this malaise that has accompanied me from start to finish each day. I’ve struggled to get up in the mornings preferring to pull the blanket further over my bald head. I’ve managed eventually to drag myself to the shower to prep for the day, which includes removal of that stubborn secondary hair on my face and the remaining primary hair ring that has shrunk from the top of my head to somewhere just south of my ears. Yes, I’m a shaver… I admit it. In fact, I’m the first white guy I know around the old home locale to go au naturale. I sported the shaved look back when Michael first made the statement.
But I digress…
I finally drag myself to work although that means that I carpool with my “best half”. We work only a couple of blocks apart from each other so it makes more sense economically and environmentally to share rides when we can. I then proceed to get through the work day moving from snack to snack (bananas, nuts, the occasional chocolate truffle) and finally return home as the light of day is dwindling. I find myself drawn to my recliner sitting only feet away from my super cool trainer. My Fuji CCR3 is upstairs on the main floor where it stays warm and comfy. I can’t seem to find the energy to bring it downstairs, pop off the front wheel, and mount it on the trainer for an hour or two of really spirited spinning. I seem to prefer to languish near the stove, in my recliner, and under the blankets until bedtime when the whole darn mess repeats itself.
I try to rekindle my desire to be active. I really do. Videos such as “Alaska Slickrock” by Jill Homer in her January 4th post show how exciting it can be to ride in much colder, snowier environs than what I experience. I feel the energies returning as I watch this very exciting video but, then reality drives another nail in the coffin of my mood. My skinny tire bike won’t ride on top of unknown feet of crusted over snow. Of course, we don’t have unknown feet of crusted over snow and that is a pretty big barrier to riding on the stuff. We do have a good solid 1/2” of salt brine on our roadways mixed with ugly, dirty, gray snowmelt guaranteed to turn the immaculately maintained Fuji CCR3 into a bucket of rusted bolts. Sigh…
Then Bro Dave, riding on the west coast, sends me inspiration. Seems he had a most excellent ride Sunday. He submits the following report:
I had a good ride this afternoon. I wore a long-sleeved jersey (for sun protection only). It was around 75 degrees. I took a decent camera with me today, but it was not nearly as clear as last week. I'll attach some pictures so you get an idea of where I was riding. I rode from the house today instead of driving to the trail head. This added some additional climbing. For the record books, I rode 14.4 miles with 1965 feet of climbing. Moving average was 7.3 m.p.h.
He also shared a couple of images from his ride:
(Santa Monica pier)
(Santa Monica Mountains)
So, with all of this fine inspiration along with other readings of cycling exploits in more extreme conditions than I face, how can I be experiencing this maudlin state of mind day in and day out. Well, here’s the good news. Being the professionally trained diagnostician that I am with over 35 years of experience in the mental health and substance abuse treatment arena, I have finally and, with great astuteness I might add, determined the cause of my condition. It all makes sense now. All the pieces are in place – the puzzle is complete. The TV commercials touting medications for similar conditions be darned! (note: family friendly term for stronger intended adjective.) I refute the diagnostic criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – IV-TR. I am, and I say this proudly, I AM AN AMERICAN BLACK BEAR!
Let’s review the evidence. As the days shortened, I developed an overwhelming state of lethargy, my girth has increased in preparation for the colder temperatures, I’m eating porridge every morning for goodness sake having forsaken my daily Sausage Egg “n Cheese biscuit from the local Burger King, I seem to growl a lot and I note that when I walk to lunch at my favorite local cafe, I seem to waddle rather than stride. Fortunately for the local populace, I don’t have any children for them to get near and raise my level of disgruntledness. I’ve also noticed that the remaining Florida tourists have been stopping their cars during my wanderings to lunch and taking my picture. One especially “bright” tourist tried to lure me into the open rear hatch of their SUV by spilling sunflower seeds on the carpet) And finally, the ultimate proof that I am an Ursus Americanus (are you ready?)…. The N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, in their infinite wisdom, has declared that my “best half” now has golden locks.
I feel much better now. In fact, I think I may get off my butt and go ride – tomorrow!