I am completely and madly in love with my Beach Cruiser "Bison the Bicycle".
I love how she looks, how much attention she and I get when we are out together and I'm now truly comfortable on her.
The trouble is that she's as heavy as a Bison. She's abut 60 pounds of bike. Having been away from her for almost 5 months I'm struggling to get back to the distances we were doing when I stopped for the summer.
The most I can do right now is 5 miles which would be ducky but I've signed up to ride 30 on Sunday the 26th.
I wouldn't be so concerned but the route is described as "flat to rolling" which means hills.
Hills are my Kryptonite. Bison is a single geared bike which means hills are a zillion times as hard and will eat up all of my energy.
I'm worried that I won't be able to do the 30 miles on her. I'm worried that in the first 2 miles of this ride there are two nasty looking inclines that I'm going to have to walk.
I'm considering renting a bike from a place in the city that has lighter bikes designed more for these types of events.
A bike I'm SURE I could finish on.
So why haven't I pulled the trigger on the rental yet?
1. I know my bike. I know how she feels, and know exactly what to expect from her. I know that I'm comfortable riding her and that she will get me from start to finish in tact.
2. The bikes they rent are geared and have handbrakes and much narrower tires. The whole frame is completely different than what I'm used to. I'm not so sure that a 30 mile ride is the best time to get acquainted with a new bike.
Throw into the equation that I'm stubborn and part of me would feel as though I copped out trying to do it on a lighter bike.
If I finish on Bison, doesn't that make me more Awesome than usual? That I pulled a 60 pound single geared beast up and down hills and over more miles than a sane human would take that style of bike would leave me with an AMAZING sense of accomplishment.
With the other bike I would be left feeling accomplished but wondering what the ride would have been like on Bison.
Did I mention too that the rental of the bike is $50 for the day?
With the 5 boro bike tour I had total ignorance on my side. Never having been on Bison I was blissfully unaware how heavy she was and how harder I would have to pedal than all the other participants.
I struggled with that ride but I got the 30 miles done and was damn proud of it even though I didn't finish.
So if I was able to do that ride which is the same distance as this ride on Sunday, why is it keeping me up at night?
If I did it once, why am I even concerned with this one coming up?
I'm concerned because of the darn elevation chart they put on the site.
The 5 Boro Bike Tour was 42 miles with a total Elevation Gain of 1,271 with the average gain per mile at 30.
The Twin Lights Ride is 30 miles with a total Elevation Gain of 1,380 with the average gain per mile at 46.
Can't tell you how that makes my guts churn.
I just want to have a good time and enjoy the ride and not worry about hills so much. I don't want to be hopping off every 30 seconds to walk her up another hill!
Okay so why in the HELL do I do this to myself? WHY do I sign up for these insane challenges knowing how stacked the deck is against me?
Because I can. Because I enjoy having a goal and I love feeling strong and pushing myself. I love proving folks who think I can't wrong and even proving myself wrong.
When I did the 5 boro Bike Tour we hit 15 miles and I was tapped out. My tank was empty. I was at the foot of the bridge into Queens and there was no way I could do another hill. No way, no how.
Somehow I dug super duper duper deep and walked the bike up the hill and found it in me to do another 15 miles.
I remember sitting at the rest stop close to tears and I asked myself "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THIS FOR DUMMY!?!"
The answer was simple and quick. "Because I CAN." Because I needed to see what I was made of. I needed to see how strong I was and where my limit really really was.
As you recall I found it on a hill at the 30 mile mark in Bed Stuy Brooklyn. I tapped out 12 miles shy of the finish line but feeling as proud and accomplished as if I had finished it.
All these challenges I use them when I need strength when faced with another challenge. When I started Boot Camp it was "I went through labor TWICE DAMN IT. I can do this!" When I did the 5 boro it was "I attend BOOT CAMP 6 days a week DAMN IT. I can do this!"
On the 26th it will be a grouping of all of these things.
Here's hoping I don't need the SAG wagon to get us to the finish line...