Sunday, October 11, 2009

Measuring Progress

I purposely don't have a scale around. If I did I know I'd drive myself crazy by checking it more than I should. I can resist anything but temptation, the saying goes, so I don't have the temptation around. There are other ways to measure progress, though.

This morning's ride was to be an easy one. My go-to ride of 29-miles has a few hills but all nice and easy today. As I approach the long climb up Balboa I see some cyclists heading that way. I'm about halfway up that climb when I hear some more cyclists behind me. Why is it I only see cyclists going my way on easy days? I'm going easy so I can't use the ones in front of me as rabbits and I have to resist the urge to pedal away from the ones behind me (which isn't a sure thing for a clydesdale, let me tell you). I stick to my guns, though, and pedal lazily up Balboa. As I near the top they are right behind me but don't pass. Huh? Then I hear one of the cyclists say to another "Is this (pant) as hard (pant) as it (pant) gets?" The other cyclist told him it was, we crest the hill, and I lose them. Towards the bottom I turn right onto Foothill and look back to see them turning left. I'm pretty sure they were doing my 43-mile ride into Santa Clarita with the San Fernando Valley Bicycle Club (I call it "my" ride but I actually got the route from the club). I smiled and thought, "Boy, is that guy in for a life-changing surprise in about 30 seconds," knowing the hill he was about to encounter. That guy could have been me a year ago. First time I tried that hill after the Balboa climb I actually had to stop before I reached the top (not an easy decision to make on a two-lane road with no shoulder). Progress.

Eleven months ago, the first Pasadena Marathon was scheduled to happen. Last November a 26-mile ride was still a big deal for me so I signed up for the bike tour. At packet pickup the day before I saw that they had cycling jerseys for the event on sale. Being geeky I figured I'd buy one (I don't even know if I had any other jerseys at the time). I didn't know about jersey sizing at the time and when I got home and tried it on I was shocked to find out that an XL didn't fit. I recall not even being able to zip it up at the time. Yesterday I laundered my athletic apparel and as I was putting things away I came across that jersey. Out of curiosity I tried it on and not only can I zip it up but it actually fits. Progress.

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