It is hard to explain why I have such a good time on my rides to and from work. I think back on them, and I smile. I apparently forget most of the annoyances and challenges immediately after. My enjoyment is so great that I’m often baffled by comments people make.

Recently I saw the office manager and she asked how it was going, exclaimed over the fact that I rode that day. It was really cold, she told me, and I chuckled vaguely, not sure what she was talking about. Was it cold that day? I didn’t remember anything extreme on the way in. (I think it had been in the high 20’s, which is not the lowest temp I’ve ridden in, not by far.) She mentioned standing at the pump while putting gas in her car. And I think I’d find that bone-chillingly cold as well. But on the bike? On the bike it is different.

No one believes me. Except other cyclists. Or so I imagine, I guess.

When I was at the sound wall this afternoon, taking my normal water-gulp break, two people came around the corner. It was Friendly Commuter and his sometimes riding partner, who I had seen before but hadn’t met. We chatted for a few minutes. It was fun, I enjoyed the chance to make the connection.

But I had a weird moment in the conversation. She said something about how she hadn’t ridden yesterday, and when Friendly mentioned that I’d ridden, she was surprised. She asked me, or exclaimed, or something, and I was (probably visibly) confused. “Was there something different about yesterday?” I asked them. It was, I was reminded, colder and pretty windy.

Oh. Yeah, I guess it was. But it didn’t seem that bad to me. Which is what I said to them, and looked to Friendly for confirmation – he rode yesterday too!

I had the feeling that my reaction was confirming something to them both. And that surprised me. I’m not sure what it was confirming, but I am pretty sure this is why Friendly told me I “inspire” him, and why that baffled me. I don’t see myself as being “tough as nails”, as Friendly insists.

And I don’t – what I do, the riding, it doesn’t feel extreme to me. Sure it is cold outside, but I am not personally cold while riding. (I’m sweating on my rides, and I need to stop overdressing, to be honest.) And the wind, well, it is extra resistance and it does bug me sometimes, but it doesn’t stop the ride from being fun.

Today when I tried to get Friendly to agree with me that it hadn’t been that bad yesterday, and instead got the feeling that I was amusing them both, I insisted that I had ridden in worse. Which is true, I have. And didn’t actually find it to be that bad, other than the extra tiredness at the end of the ride.

“You’re just addicted,” Friendly said with a smile, I think trying it out. It was something I’d said to him before…in response to the “tough as nails” comment.

I’m not tough as nails, I’m not a trooper…I’m just a girl addicted to the bike. I can’t explain it any better than that. I can’t explain why I didn’t realize I was different either. I was naive, but I can honestly say I assumed that everyone loved their rides as much as I do!

Maybe it is just perspective. I read the blogs of a couple true cold weather cyclists, one of whom is about to start riding a 350 mile race in the dead of Alaska. The other “merely” commutes through the winter in Anchorage. Plus goes mountain (snow/ice) biking for fun on the weekends.

I didn’t think NoVa even qualified as having a winter, in comparison!

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