I used to think my bikes didn’t require much maintenance and then I moved away from my mechanic.
I haven’t been outside on a bike since mid-December and so when temperatures finally reached nearly 65 degrees I jumped at the chance to get outside in minimum layers. Not wanting to ride my road bike because it needs some work opted for my cross bike. Plus then I could get on the back gravel roads with more ease. With no real route in mind I just started riding and formulating a plan to loop it all back. I was only about 8 miles into my ride when I started going down a hill full of peanut-butter sticky gooey mud. I even turned onto this road because it looked less muddy than the one I was on. Alright I’ll just take it easy and get through the ravine onto the other side, it looked a little bit drier. I was sliding/pedaling down this hill when I looked down and saw my chain slip off the front chainring. I tried to navigate over to the side so I could stop and put it back on but didn’t have enough momentum so had to get off in the middle of the muddy section. I was thinking about how
|Too much power….|
dirty I was going to get trying to negotiate the chain back onto the chainring when I noticed that that wouldn’t be a problem– because the slack that cause my chain to fall off was there because I had managed to rip the rear derailleur right off. At this point, 8 miles from town I proceed to begin to laugh, hysterically. Which is quite the upgrade from this fall when I suffered a mechanical and threw my bike in the ditch and sat down and cried. Realizing how far I was from town, on some back road with a “minimum maintenance” sign on it there was only two things to do- start walking and start calling for a ride back. The walking proved to be much more challenging than I had thought. The mud that had caked my bike added at least 50 pounds (only a slight exaggeration), a lot of heaving and hoeing to get 200 yards back out of the mud. Eleven minutes later (I’m so weak-‘it’s like the push-up I did last year isn’t even relevant’-Liz Lemon) I had made it out, finally resorting to dragging my bike by the handlebars, and trying to stay upright as my shoes became engulfed in the mud. I found a stick after I was out of the thick of it and cleared off as much mud as I could so that the wheels would spin, thus making walking easier. I began to go
|Dirt is the new pink|
down my call list, I tried a few different people with no answer and figured I would just keep calling until I got someone or made it back to the major highway to hitch hike back to town (Wayne would be so proud if I did manage that). Fortunately I was able to get ahold of the same friend who picked me up this fall and saved me from getting into the back of someone’s truck and being the start of a bad Lifetime movie. I managed to get the bike home and give it a bath–it looks like a pretty clean break at the hanger with no damage to the rear derailleur, frame, or wheel. Sully reminded me later when I was crying about it that it was just a bike.
It took me a while to post because I wasn’t sure what to talk about–I spent most of
|Feeding my soul|
Christmas Break trying to feed my soul with nordic skiing, biking, hiking and avoiding anything law related. I gave back my mountain bike because the contract was over and with the option to purchase I couldn’t justify spending more money than my tuition on a bike that just sat in my house begging to be ridden. It’s been weird, like when I broke my leg in college and all of sudden wasn’t an athlete. I’ve been defining myself as an endurance mountain biker but without a mountain bike I feel like I’m having to redefine who I am. This resulted in crying a lot, wondering if I was slowly morphing into a person I might not recognize and wondering if it would be worth it. I struggled with coming back to law school and when I finally left for school turned around twice on the drive wondering what the heck am I doing. I even made a deal with myself that if my grades were below a certain average I wouldn’t come back but unfortunately (or fortunately) did better and so resorted to coming back with a little better attitude. I’d like to say that has made all the difference but it still seems that something deep inside is begging for more. I’ve applied to a few other programs at this point, nothing law related, just to see what might come of it. And the option to transfer law schools is still on the table. I just don’t know how much of it is environmental and how much of it is actually the law school process.
I was able to get some nordic skiing done the past two months when we had snow, and have been running more. Sully was here for about a week and we did a 4-mile race. He beat me by 20 seconds and paced me for a mile or so and then I couldn’t keep up as he slowly edged ahead. I’d like to say that it was because he came from altitude but Sully is deceivingly fast, I thought this might be the one race I would beat him at, doing a 7:46 mile pace. It’s the first race we’ve finished together; the last one I dropped out of so joked how he could pace me again for a bit and then I’d just pull off the course. This semester, I’ve tried to make a point of going to Sioux Falls once a week to ride inside at a shop which is nice to (a) start doing some interval work (b) be surrounded by people who ride (c) stock up on groceries.
I’ll be racing for World Bicycle Relief again this year, which I’m really excited for. I haven’t thought too much about what races to do besides Leadville and even that seems like a maybe somedays. It’s been strange to think that at this point last year I had my bike, a training plan, a coach and this year I’m just like #yolo! (you only live once–all the cool kids are saying it.) We have spring break next week so hoping to use that time to start figuring out summer plans and spend some time outside on bikes!!
The most frustrating thing is that all the misery and discomfort I feel is totally normal for law students and not uncommon at all. People wouldn’t keep coming to law school if it wasn’t worth it, would they? I guess that’s what keeps me, misery loves company and there is no better place to surround yourself in that stew than in law school. Someone once told me that if you just take a step, it doesn’t matter what direction you’d soon start to figure out if it was the right one or if you should have stepped in another direction. I think a lot about law school in terms of a training ride, am I getting what I need out of it or is better to cut my loses and go rogue. That’s what I’m trying to do this year is have revelations and not resolutions. Okay maybe just one resolution to spend more time upside down.
|The more blood to the brain the better, right?|