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.