It had been a struggle for me to meet my 2016 fitness goals here in the winter in Maine this month. I have been reaching deep to log in an hour a day of hard walking or bicycling- outdoors, of course. Here’s the January 19 report.
When I finally made it back home last night, it was close to 8 pm, with an outside temperature of 11 degrees, and steady strong wind blowing around 20 miles an hour. I even had to bust through a snow drift on the Barnestown Road near the Pearse farm in Hope on the way home from The Bog, where I earned myself a meager 4 miles toward my quest to ride my bicycles 1,000 miles in Maine in 2016.
I really wanted to stay home tonight and avoid the discomfort of the cold and the exertion that my body would need in order to move through this loose, dry snow pack on my new Surly Ice Cream truck. But….the social nature of belonging to The Bubbas, a local, like-minded tribe of mountain bike nuts was one of the deciding factors that put me out there tonight.
Was it easy to get out to ride tonight ?
However, there is definitely a strength in numbers. I rode tonight with six other guys. We shifted around our positions in line as we moved though the loose, often sketchy snow pack. If I got too fagged out, I pulled over and let someone else move ahead and pack down the tread a bit more.
I also gained some inspiration from a book that I have been enjoying this week: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. The book came my way from a book review by Tim Smith, Master Maine Guide and chief of Jack Mountain Bushcraft School here in Maine.
I had just reading the chapter entitled The Dichotomy of Control, where my takeaway lesson was encapsulated in the following sentence, “ A better strategy for getting what you want, he says, is to make it your goal to want only those things that are easy to obtain- and ideally to want only those things that you can be certain of obtaining.”
Another thing that helped was for me to visualize the successes that I have already achieved when I moved ahead at this familiar junction of Do I Really Want To Do This Right Now?
I reminded myself that I would probably not be miserably cold even though it was frigid out. This particular ride starts with a couple hundred foot climb almost to the 1 mile mark on Mountain Road. That is usually enough to get warmed up inside of my winter riding outfit, which is not as heavy or bulky as you might think. I also reminded myself that I have been out doing this many times already. I have rode in the dark on the snow and ice in the winter guided by a headlamp and a handlebar mounted light for a few decades.
I was even packing a third source of emergency lighting tonight- a brand new Black Diamond Spot headlamp of 130 lumens. I didn’t need it, but if I had, it would have allowed me to see my way through the ride.
Tonight, I was not able to make the usual Bog ride mileage, but I wasn’t the only one. It’s much more difficult to ride out there this week. If the days had been warmer and the night below freezing it might have been a superhighway of snow. But it wasn’t.
I think the Stoics might have something to say about that.