I love riding my bicycle but I haven’t done it regularly for at least eight months. Today was my third time out this week. I was finally strong enough to do my time trial route – out and back on the ups and downs of Fruit Ridge Line. It was the 86th time I’ve completed the ride.
I love the farmers’ fields, the woodlots, the horses to the left and then to the right. I know every kilometre by heart. But being in the beauty of the moment – feeling my legs, feeling my breathing, feeling my old friend and bike Ta-pocketa beneath me – often fritters away. I can get pretty stuck in stats.
My fastest time ever was 54:34 on September 29, 2004. Today was 1:06:29. And I leaned towards badness in my mind. “That’s my eighth worst time.” Not important. “I should be faster.” Not important. “Most cyclists could do the route far quicker than me.” Not important.
“I averaged 21.7 kph a couple of days ago. I should have done better than that today.” Not important. “Burning 750 calories an hour is a really good fitness standard, and I didn’t reach that.” Not important. “My average heart rate was 145 beats per minute – that’s too much effort.” Not important. “This was my 86th time trial ride. I have to make 100.” Not, not , not.
What happens to the essence of me within all those facts and figures? It gets hidden. I spend too much time looking down at the cycle computer on my handlebar and not enough time taking the long view … Fruit Ridge flowing up and down, the rows of apple trees, the bird boxes on stilts in the pond … the green and yellow and blue.
Can I let go of self-assessment on the bike, and just be there? I don’t know. I don’t think statistics are bad, but I need to change something. How about putting the computer on my wrist and only looking at the numbers when the ride is over? Yes, that would work. The world is there to be seen. And see it I will on Sunday.
Maybe someday, I’ll just leave the darn old computer sitting on my chest-of-drawers. And never put it on Ta-pocketa again. Wouldn’t that be an ultimate letting go? No attachment. No more, better and different. No sense of me and mine.