I’m still riding! In fact, this year is turning out to be a good one for cycling, even if the reasons for that are bad. The pandemic has given me more riding time. I would happily take less riding time in exchange for no pandemic, but since that’s not an option, I’m very, very grateful for every ride. In the beginning of the COVID lock down, I would cry my way through rides. They were an excellent way of processing emotion and letting out anger. I could be by myself, talk to myself, and even yell at the world if I felt like it. As I’ve gotten more used to the new state of things, my rides are less about emotional release and more about getting out of the house, seeing something besides my yard, and, of course, staying in shape.
The downside of pandemic cycling is that every ride is solo. I’d gotten used to riding with Rick while Cormac was in school and once a week riding with a group of friends from the local bike shop. Now, riding with a group feels too dangerous (although I see plenty of groups out on the road — and I don’t approve), and with Cormac home all the time, Rick and I have to take turns. I miss my riding friends and I miss having someone to draft on and push me to ride harder, but still, solo riding is much, much better than no riding.
This week I rode 200 miles! I know that some people can do that in a day, but for many cyclists, that’s a lot of miles, and it sure left me exhausted. My typical weekly number is maybe 50-120 depending on the time of year, so this was a stretch. And my legs hurt. I’ve ridden something like 2,550 miles so far this year and have a goal of 5,000. Who knows what this fall will look like, but right now I’m on track to surpass that goal by a lot.
People have talked about trying new things during their pandemic stuck-at-home time, but my response has been to rely more heavily on the things I was already doing. This includes jigsaw puzzles (an excellent pastime when one needs to hang out with a very chatty child), piano playing (Cormac is taking lessons and I’m working on remembering everything I learned from my lessons decades ago), and, obviously, reading and cycling. Add childcare and work into the mix and I’ve been able to keep myself busy. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped fretfully reading Twitter for the latest news, but these things have helped keep anxiety at bay, and I’m grateful.