Friday, August 06, 2010

Reunited with Torch

--Spring Sprint '08

I'm almost too embarrassed to admit this but yesterday was the first time I rode Torch in 3 months. Ironman Utah really took it out of me. I've never experienced this before. I simply had no interest in Torch after Utah. Of coures, the 6-week-long period of physical chronic fatigue didn't help. Every now and then, I'd take Pandora out for a ride, hike or do a leisurely run with the dogs, and maybe pop into the ocean for a dip. But even that was becoming more and more infrequent.
I would be lying if I said everything was fine. Work is tough right now. Very tough. I'm actively searching for my first "real job" at the age of 32. I have a PhD in Cell & Molecular Biology, and I can't find a job. The economy is shit. I keep getting turned down because I'm overqualified or don't have enough "biotech" experience. It's frustrating. What I need right now is an outlet.

I wrestled with Torch for about half-an-hour, replacing the race wheels with training wheels. Undoing the aero bottle from the bars, still half-full of dirty Ironman Utah water. Slapped a spare kit in a bag under the seat. And took off.

I was a bit worried. The one thing I didn't need right now was a bad ride. A bad run a week ago had popped the last little bit of wind out of my sails. How would I feel on a 16-mile ride? I feel like I'm starting all over again. It's just been too long.

I quickly settled into the aero position. It was like putting on an old pair of your favorite jeans. Like walking by a bakery and reveling in childhood memories of your mother's chocolate-chip cookies. It was like, was like riding a bike. You never forget. I remembered all those hours, all those hills, all the bottles of water, the eons of time riding next to friends in idle conversation. The long, endless Saturdays of starting out with the group at the crack of dawn and riding non-stop until mid-afternoon. The feeling that there was nothing else but that moment. Nothing else existed. The ocean stretching endlessly to the left. The bright sun in the cloudless sky, cooled by a soft, mist breeze, carried from the waves crashing on the shore. I felt strangely free and at peace. The knowledge that you had nothing else planned for the rest of the day, and the only thing that mattered was finishing that ride. Afterwards, a hot shower, lots of comfort food, and lounging in front of the t.v., gleefully weary and totally satisfied. Then, going to bed early to get ready to wake up early on Sunday and do it all over again (this time on foot).

This ride, in and of itself, was uneventful. I rode on the path I had ridden on hundreds of time before. But I relished in it. Appreciated the sleeping power in my core and glutes. Took advantage of the knowledge of every turn and bump in the road. Enjoyed the predictable westwardly wind. I loved the familiarity of the ride. Something within me stirred.


Backpacker said...

You put on your training wheels! That's awesome! Next you'll get in the pool wearing your water wings. The image is just too precious. Always fun reading your posts. Good luck with your job search.

Renee said...

Good job! I love those first rides back...sometime they are just like taking a deep breath of really good air! Enjoy!

Diana said...

I hope things fall your way in the job market.
Love the descriptions of your rides/runs/swims.....

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I'm glad you're riding again. I don't ride much any more, and sometimes I miss it. Now that we have an Ironman here in the Houston area (Woodlands) I may just have to get back on the bike, myself.

If you're willing to move to Houston, we're hiring post-docs for Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling. Dr. Jan-Ake Gustaffson works for us:

Go to and check posting 065360. Hiring decisions are made at the department level, but I have contacts in most departments, including CNRCS. If you applied, I could probably make sure you got a phone interview.

Christi said...

You know I don't feel like I have really started a ride until I get in aero position. Then everything falls into place and I am in my zone. I am so happy that you were able to enjoy the ride!

Grey Beard said...

Sounds like Torch relit your flame! Nice. Agree on the economy. Still looking and have the same over-qualified problem.

A few bike things. I have been using Sushi rice, made with the sugar but not the vinegar, for ride fuel. Super-clean. No indigestion no matter how hard I push. GI ~ 100 I think. Nishiki brand, sold at Ralley's/BelAir.

Lowered downtube bottle down one anchor, fastening the bottom cage hole to the frame with vinyl tubing sheathed zip-tie. Astounding difference in wind drag. Would be interested to know if you have the same experience.

CFS is horrible. I suffered for 2 yrs in the late '80s. Relief came from sleep, sala, sweat, salt and antibiotics. I assume the latter lowered my immune system. Do you get any relief during your monthly cycle - like rheumatoid arthritis suffers?

Good luck on the job search, and welcome back.

Sherry said...

So glad that you had an awesome ride with Torch. I'm sure he missed you. :-)

I hear you on the job market. I lost mine last October due to the economy. I've been looking, but there is nothing here for me. Right now I'm playing domestic goddess. I actually enjoy it to a certain extent. The hubs is very happy as well as he reaps the benefits of lots of healthy cooking and cleaning. However, I'm considering finally enrolling in grad school. I've put it off for so many years and I certainly have a lot of free time on my hands these days.

I hope that something GREAT finds you soon! Thhink positive!! :-)

Olivia said...

I just came across your blog, and I have to say I'm really enjoying it. I did my first Triathlon this year (just a sprint, but I loved it). Unfortunately, times have been hard since then. I'm getting ready to get back on my bike this weekend and this post was so uplifting to read, and it made me really really excited. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

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