Friday Group Ride #358

Friday Group Ride #358

In the dream, I was early for the race. I leaned my bike against a wall with the other racers’ bikes and went upstairs, no up the escalator, to registration. I put my gear in a pile in a wide lobby and then stood in the line to get my bib. It took a while, as it does, and I was nervous.

This was a dream, by the way, last night.

The race turned out to be in Vegas. I didn’t know this until part way through the dream, until the race had actually started.

I raced the first lap, not very fast, still trying to get my gloves on. Homeless people heckled us, threw things. A Russian guy who owned a shoe store across from the race  start through a barrel full of garbage in the road. He ranted.

I got off my bike and went back up to the lobby to ask what was going on. No one knew. I went back down and my bike was gone. I spent the rest of the dream going up and down the escalator, searching in the bathrooms and the weird shoe store, for my missing bike. The race went on and on without me.

My bike was gone, and I was sad and confused, angry and helpless. And then I woke up, went down to the couch and waited for the coffee maker to finish spluttering.

Tonight, we drive to Vermont for the Rasputitsa Gravel Road Race. Apparently, I’m nervous. I don’t want to be. I can’t rationalize nervousness. It’s just there both consciously and subconsciously. There is nothing to worry about, just a day on the bike, possibly a hard one, but just a day on the bike.

Rationality and anxiety live in non-overlapping spheres on my personal Venn diagram. I am not by nature a nervous person, I don’t think, but sometimes the bike makes me nervous. Maybe if I keep riding, this will end. Probably not.

This week’s Group Ride asks, when are you nervous on or about the bike? Is competition the source? Is it fear of the unknown? Or are you cool as a summer cuke in the vegetable crisper? If so, I hate you, but only a little.

Image: Rasputitsa Gravel Road Race

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  1. Maxwell

    Most of my big rides lately have been on the Arizona Trail, where sharp rocks are plentiful and water and rescue are scarce. So my worries during the ride are around un-fixable flats that lead to running out of water with no cell signal and a long walk to the nearest road, in the dark. When I bring enough gear to mitigate all that, then the worry turns to getting lost. When I can’t get lost, it becomes keeping on schedule. Near the end of the ride when nothing can go wrong anymore, I generally find peace. And strangely enough, I’ve also found peace after things do go wrong.

  2. Harry

    I crashed on the road last fall, resulting in injuries that ended my season. I’m back on the bike now that the snow is gone, but I’m definitely shaken. More nervous about the shadowy places on the road, more cautious. But I’m riding!

  3. Jeff

    The same thing happens to me before a challenging race or ride. I have trouble falling asleep, then I have odd dreams where I have forgotten my kit or can’t find the start line. It happened before Rouge Roubaix, but it also happened before my last century training ride on a new route. Meditation helps. Ibuprofen PM helps too.

  4. Michael

    These days, I don’t seem to worry about anything before a ride or a race. I guess I don’t care enough! I used to. On the ride, though, I worry about idiots, two- or four-wheeled, taking me out.

  5. Dave

    I don’t “worry” so much as get an excited anxiety – before almost every ride. I can feel my pulse slightly quicken, my breathing get just a tad shallower and I get a feeling of anticipation when I’m getting into my shorts and jersey, and getting food and water together. The feeling is totally gone after maybe 1/4 mile. I love to ride my bike and get excited about it, regardless if it’s a special ride with friends, or a routine daily solo ride on roads I cover all the time.

  6. Dizzy

    I’m w/Tom and Sharkie. As long as people can legally operate a tonnage of steal and plastic, hit and kill a cyclist, say, “I didn’t see them” and walk away w/a $250 fine for “failure to yield”, I’ll be nervous. RIP to Scarponi and all our departed cycling colleagues.

    Thanx for the opportunity, Dizzy

  7. TomInAlbany

    I get nervous about my prep and whether I’ve got the right gear and nutrition. I also get nervous about my back and knee. Oh. There’s also nerves abotu whether I did the right training going in. So, yeah. i guess I’m nervous until I’m on the bike.

  8. SBC

    I was just thinking about this very thing. I always feel nervous, even after 27 years of pedaling with intent. Nervous until I slot in to the group and turn the pedals over a few times. And only then, when I feel the bike respond and the hum of the road in my bars, do I feel settled.

  9. Geoffrey Knobl

    I am often nervous before the start of a group ride or event. Even with the local club it happens except on a well known course. I don’t like riding in pace lines where they insist on people staying withing 3 feet of the person in front of them at speed (on climbs, it doesn’t matter as much). I get nervous when someone passes beside me at less than a foot. I get nervous when someone passes me on a sketchy downhill especially when they cut off the line I’m intent on taking. I prefer being in the front with the road open before me, where I can see all obstacles in my way. Believe it or not though, mostly I’m not nervous while riding.

  10. David Noble

    I’ve only raced twice in my life and yeah, it made me nervous. I mean, how many times must a grown man visit the toilet in the hour leading up to a race? Nothing else ever makes me that nervous.

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