Forget about the swim. The first leg of todays race was me against work. Driving home as the afternoon sun hung low, its late rays shining through the recently bare trees, I got an idea… Go for a short ride. My original plan was to get on the trainer for an hour and catch up on The Office and The Hills. But that would involve changing my rear tire. The tire really is just a minor inconvenience. The main problem with a trainer workout is… the trainer. I hate it. The dashboard clock read 3:40 and I wasn’t even off the highway. A real ride seemed a remote possibility but I wasn’t ruling it out just yet. Finally I pulled into my parking spot. As I gathered my phone, my ipod, and my empty travel mug, I snuck a peek at my watch. 3:49. What was the point of being home from work this early if it still meant I had to get on the dreaded trainer?? The fading sun left me no time to ponder. My mission was clear: Avoid trainer at all costs. I had not a second to spare. I bounded up the stairs to my apartment and headed immediately to the bathroom. I sat down to pee while doffing my scrubs and Danskos. I ran into my room and grabbed the Descente shorts I’d left in a neat pile on the dresser. Why am I always wasting so much time folding and putting clothes away anyway? I sifted through my workout bottoms drawer, searching in vain for my Pearl Izumi leggings. A sea of black spandex piles swam under my impatient hands. Frantically I dug through a quicksand of leggings, fleece pants, tri shorts, bike shorts, yoga pants, apres workout pants, capris and bike shorts. I wasted precious seconds in the futile quest before I had an “A-Ha!” moment. The Pearl Izumis are on the drying rack! You washed them over the weekend! I hightailed it into the guest room grabbed the pants off the rack, along with my new white wicking longsleeve and a sportsbra. I easily found my neon yellow vest in the closet, threw it all on in the appropriate order and ran into the living room to grab the bike. I wheeled her into the kitchen, nearly threw my precious against the wall, and pumped up the tires. The sands of time were slipping away as I velcroed my bike shoes and slipped on my shoe covers. There was no time for booties. I shoved my license and my phone in my vest pocket, donned my helmet and ran out the door. Time check: 3:57. Not too shabby.
With my bike perched precariously over my right shoulder, I wound down the skinny back stairway and contemplated a route. Tonight there was no room for the luxuries of excess stop signs or red lights. For the first time, I did what I said I would never do*. I rode alone in a dizzying 4.2 mile elipse round and round Blackstone Boulevard. I have seen many other cyclists doing this and thought “Are you so uncreative that you can’t think of a real route?” It was like a crit, I reasoned. Minus the other riders, plus a time trial bike and instructions from my coach to go easy. Ok, actually it was nothing like a crit, but whatever. At least when it got dark I would be no more than 2.3 miles from home. You can’t argue with safety. All told I got in 13.8 miles in 45 minutes, got home before it was pitch black, and avoided the trainer. I’ll take my victories where I can get them, however small.
*I have participated in a Tuesday night ride that circles Blackstone but that’s different because its a group ride, therefore social and not totally inane.