It’s now almost exactly two weeks until AIDS Lifecycle 7, and I’m starting to relax about the whole thing. Whatever can be done, has been done; I’m still putting in the training hours (did 72 miles today and will do another 70 tomorrow), but next Saturday will be my last long training ride, and after that it’s just some short rides to keep the legs moving, until we leave town June 1. I have to make my packing list, and sew up a bunch of costumes, but that’s really all there is left to do.
I have been thinking about this for awhile, and I have decided that this will be my last AIDS Lifecycle – if not forever, at least for awhile. I have been feeling very burnt-out on cycling for most of this past year, and this year I’ve had to force myself to go out on training rides – resenting it all the while because it’s been taking me away from the other things I’d like to explore, like weaving. Life is too short to be doing things you don’t enjoy. So, after AIDS Lifecycle 7, I will be hanging up my cleats.
I have mixed feelings about this. Much of my life has revolved around cycling, one way or another, for the last seven years – two AIDS Lifecycles, two frustrating years of recovering from a cycling accident, then two more AIDS Lifecycles and the Death Ride. I have put over 11,000 miles on my bike. My springs and summers have been spent cycling narrow country roads, busy thoroughfares, mountainsides, ridges. I’ve been out there training in 100-degree heat and freezing weather. I’ve ridden the Death Ride, the Davis Double Century, and four AIDS Lifecycles. (Not to mention four Cinderella Centuries.) Cycling’s been a long-term interest, and sometimes even passion. I’ve loved it in the past, and hope to do so again in the future. But I’m feeling burned out on it, and resentful of the time spent doing it, and it’s time to let it go.
I’m not sure what I’ll do next. I need to stay in shape, so I will be looking for alternative forms of aerobic exercise. I’m probably not going to give up on cycling entirely – it will be fun to go on the occasional ride with Mike – but, for the first time in seven years, I will not be in training. This scares me. What do you do after you walk away from so much of your life? What fills the gap?
I don’t know yet, but I have confidence that something will come.