Friday, June 6, 2008

What Did You See on Your Ride Today?

Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.
- Louis L'Amour

Sometimes, when I'm recovering from an injury and I need to ride lightly for a period of time, I use a trick I discovered this year. I find riding at a modest speed very difficult, especially when I'm on a road I know well and I'm alone. So, I set a rule: I have to spot two things on each block that I've never noticed. A tree that's budding, or the color of a house, or what animals live in that pasture, what that sign says. It doesn't matter if it's something pretty -- just has to be new.

This has an amazing effect on my mood, by the way, and, oddly, often can result in a much higher average speed than the day before, when I had my head down and was pushing more.

Three days ago, I was riding a route I've ridden 15 to 20 times in the last few months. I thought I was burned out on this route. I was going a bit slower than usual, recovering from re-activating a knee injury. I saw a sign that marked the entrance to a college campus I've heard of. I was stunned. This is where that school is? The main entrance to a whole college and I'd never seen it (granted, it's a small sign). I rode in and wheeled around the campus, checking it out. It was a reminder: It's good to ride hard. But try to put your head up now and then.

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