Since crossing the 100k biking milestone, I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to feel motivated to ride.
Probably part of this comes from the weather pivoting swiftly from warm-to-moderate temperatures straight to winter. Yesterday it was 28°F when I got up; I waited to ride until 10 am, when it hit a balmy 35°F. Somehow I find riding in those temperatures physically harder than when it’s 50°F, and I’ve never been able to figure out if it’s actually physically harder, or if it’s purely psychological. Either way, I work harder and still go slower in the winter, even on a sunny day riding my “fast” bike.
Temperatures may be part of it, but I can’t lay the blame on the weather. In the past I’ve ridden in plenty of foul weather, and although chilly, both weekend days featured abundant sunshine. I think a few other factors are at play:
- I’m bored. I’ve been leaving my house and riding the same roads since February. Dad and I took one “trip” to ride elsewhere — to Whidbey Island. It was a breath of fresh air. The rest of the time… well, there are only so many roads within a 50-mile radius of my house. Riding with other people helps alleviate the boredom, but at this point it’s down to me and Dad, or just me. With COVID cases increasing again, that won’t likely change any time soon.
- There’s no point. Or, more accurately, I haven’t had a goal all season. With all the major rides canceled, I spent the summer riding longer rides, but why? And why train or ride harder now? When shooting for a goal, I have discipline to achieve it, but to just keep going… and going… and going… the same for six, nine, 12 months? What’s the point? Every training season needs peaks and troughs, and I’ve gotten stuck on a plateau. I need a goal, or at least a plan.
- My left leg hurts again. I had about five months of pain-free riding, but in about May, I noticed my left leg feeling sore again. It’s only increased since then. That I’m still living with the pain even after everything, and having it get worse all the time… is difficult to express how it feels. Demotivating, discouraging, dismaying, disappointing. Nearly a year after my surgery, I haven’t done a follow-up ABI test, but riding and even in daily life I feel the same left leg soreness I thought the surgery would resolve. I’m sure an ABI test will show restricted blood flow in that leg, possibly better than before but not great. I’d go back to Stanford for a follow-up test and a consultation with the surgeon, but with COVID that’s off the table for now. Besides, if I did that and it showed restricted arterial flow again, what remedy would they offer but another surgery? Would I — really, would we, my family — do such a thing again? It’s too much to contemplate right now.
Biking ambivalence abounds for me now. I might be able to address one or two of these things: Find another biking buddy; try to come up with a training plan, shooting for arbitrary goals. I don’t know.