Ya’ll Trying to Make Me Proud
It happens the same way every time. My appetite surges and wanes. My body gets warm and cold and warm again. I feel terrible and content at the same time. I am tired. I am weak. Others are able to go out to dinner and go to meetings and pick up life where they left it. I’m not. My body doesn’t work like that. It needs hours to fight the stress. Goosebumps come and go. Sometimes I am left laying on the floor, with absurd cravings for odd, salty foods. It’s hard to get comfortable, but it feels right.
I am 100 miles for the better.
I just spent the whole day on a bike. So did 13 of my close friends. Riding 100+ miles is not a hard workout at the gym. It is a geographical distance. It is a ride that spans a length a satellite can measure. To ride a century is to give the day away to cycling. No matter the preparation, it is an affront to the body. Something always hurts after 6 hours, whether it’s your butt, your back, your hip, or your hands. On a day like yesterday, when the temperature fails to cross the freezing point, you add the numbing droll of frostbite. Toes will freeze. The constant wind finds its way into the gaps of your clothing and robs your hard-earned heat. Fancy socks and coverings wont fix it. Water bottles freeze solid in minutes. You accept this, and ride on.
It’s not individual sacrifice that makes yesterday worth mentioning. It’s the sum total of 14 individual sacrifices. What kind of person wakes up and decides their entire day is best spent in a low-teens windchill, with burning legs, no toes, searing lungs, on top of a scantily-padded bike seat? I can think of fourteen, give or take, that seem to think this a sensible idea. If not for my tattered, wrecked body, I might be convinced that this many people make it sane.
It isn’t sane. Cycling is alive and well at Rutgers.