I once told someone I could tell how I was doing mentally by my last mountain bike ride. If I’d taken an aerobic ride on fire roads — one where I could go relatively fast without paying much attention, one where I could let my mind drift — I was doing pretty good. I was still doing pretty good if the ride was half fire roads, half more aggressive, aggression-relieving singletrack. If the ride was all singletrack, all aggressive, all manic, all fast, well, then the bike was saving me $100 an hour on a leather couch.
I was reminded of this earlier in the week on a ride at Umstead with Alan. The discussion turned to how we’d both been stressed by money, money that we knew was coming in but money that had yet to arrive. Ah, the joys of being self-employed. Alan had gotten to the point one evening where he started digging through his bike bag for spare change for dinner. “I was sick of eating at home. I wanted a burrito, [dang it]!”
“How much have you been riding lately?” I asked.
Not nearly enough, he acknowledged. Then, with a gleam, he added, “I did come out here Sunday, though, and rode hard for an hour. I think that ride saved me this week.”
When the going gets tough, the tough get on their bikes and ride, hard.
Few things relieve the pressure valve like moving. For some, that may mean fleeing the cube for a mind-clearing 20-minute walk around the campus. For others, it’s an inspiring, perspiring 50-minute Nia class after work. For people like Alan and I, it’s an intense, heart-pumping ride though the forest, darting between trees, over rocks, beneath branches.
This morning after I’d gotten back from the computer store having bought a software upgrade that refused to work, and after being told, “Yeah, there’s a problem with that upgrade; They’re working on a fix. In the meantime, here’s a patchwork solution that will save your data. Well, most of it … ”, and after being advised that the patchwork fix could tie up my computer for up to three hours, I had only one course of action.
And it didn’t involve fire roads.