Friday Group Ride #401

Friday Group Ride #401

If I have made any progress in my dealings with other humans over the last decade, it has been to remain quiet when I’m in a bad mood, to keep from “getting it on” other people. This has the benefit of not creating more bad things upon which to base a crappy mood, circling ever downward toward an inevitable man tantrum, or “mantrum” if you will.

And so my wife approached me this morning, actually put a hand on each of my shoulders, looking me in the eye, and said, “You’re clearly in a bad place. What do you need to do? What bike ride do you need to plan, to get back out of it?”

I heard a clap of thunder, my heart swelled and burst, great rivers of feeling surged their banks and receded again. I breathed in, then out. She knows me well, and she loves me, and that is bigger than any bike thing could ever be.

And. She’s right.

The bike is a spiritual clearing house. Bring your anger and negativity. Flop it out on a blanket in front of your broken spirit and blow it out with a flurry of pedal strokes or a long, slow burn over a pile of miles.

My plan is to hit the hill tomorrow morning, 7:30am, projected temperature 20F. Ten repeats. 2800 feet total. Wireless headphones. Metal. Medium volume. This constitutes a sort of purification ritual, a ceremonial purging of frustrations. Dowse them in kerosene. Be the match.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what ride serves this purpose for you? Short and sharp? Long and dull and solo? A group throw-down where each of you jockeys for the front and no one wins? Road or trail or both? To paraphrase the philosopher George Thorogood, when I ride alone, I prefer to be by myself.

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  1. Andrew

    Solo. Definitely solo. Music is always a plus for these kinds of rides, so very likely gravel roads without cars. Something hilly and hard.

    Alternatively (and I generally avoid the trainer if there is an option)- sometimes indoor riding with way too loud music and a focus on just 60 minutes of total pain can be extremely cleansing.

  2. MattC

    I always thought of my bike as a “shunt to earth-ground” of my negative energy. It’s amazing how you return from a good ride refreshed like the air after a good thunderstorm. Sometime ‘during’ all the bad stuff just slips away, gone. The world is suddenly better place, and I’m a better person. IMO any ride that’s difficult enough that you stop ‘thinking’ and struggle to keep the pedals turning are the best ones. The brain kind of turns off and time slips by…and suddenly when it’s over you realize how great you feel. I imagine this works on the road, but my best rides for mind-clearing are on the trails and dirt roads, away from cars and civilization.

  3. imakecircles

    Solo with the only music being the rhythm of the legs turning, chest heaving, and heart pumping combined with the hum of tires and rush of wind over the ears on a route that allows me to choose various climbs to add on like small plates depending on the whims of the present moment.

  4. Fausto

    Any and all. Spend the majority of my rides alone, so going out with a group and being flogged is the best medicine at times.

  5. Aar

    In college, I’d go break racquetballs

    Now, it can be just about any ride. Personal or solo, hammerfest or mellow. Sometimes, I don’t know I’ve got issues to work out until mid-ride. The “working through crud in my head” rides are always longer than intended and some of my best rides – both emotionally and by metrics.

  6. Michael

    Long and spectacular. I choose a ride, whether road, dirt road, or trail, that is beautiful and interesting and then ride it until I am completely exhausted, or past that point, and often long out of water. I want to come back completely spent.


    Any ride is a start; just turning the pedals is the next step forward. What kind of ride is needed depends on the kind of funk. Sometimes a friend is essential. Other times the solitude is the key ingredient. Blue skies are best, but rain can have a cleansing effect.

  8. David Arnold

    Add “Thieves” by Ministry…”Man in the Box(Uncut Version)…Alice in Chains and “When Worlds Collide” Powerman 5000 to your playlist Robot.

  9. David Arnold

    To Quote Randy “The Ram” from the Wrestler film concerning my rides….”Out there is the only place I get hurt….” Especially when I’m grinding out my frustrations with hill and sprint intervals!

  10. Tominalbany

    I dove in to cycling after my Grad School GF broke up with me and I had no idea what to do with myself. The pent up energy and anxiety would just flow out and I’d be left a bit numb, a bit sore, but, overall, in a better place. So, I guess I have that to be thankful for!

    I still use it as a salve or as a therapist from time to time. Cycling has given me so much!

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