Yesterday, I went riding by myself at the lake. When I ride alone I go very, very slowly. The lake trail has a few fairly sharp turns and some minor slopes. I still get a little nervous dodging people and other riders. At the lake I also need to avoid the ducks which can be more of a challenge. People move out of the way, ducks not so much.
I decided to ride at the lake because there's a portion of the trail that has fences on both sides. Whenever I have to ride in areas that are really enclosed I feel some panic. It gets better every week, but I still don't like it.
Last Saturday, we rode through a very enclosed area. I was really uncomfortable because I was afraid other riders would be coming the opposite way and there wouldn't be enough room. I'm absolutely positive this stems from a car accident I had years ago. The other driver was drugged up from the hospital and ran a stop sign. She forced my car into the concrete wall of an underpass. Luckily, I was driving my Mom's 1970's Pontiac Grand Prix, an enormous car/tank my parents saved so that I could learn to drive in it. (Thanks Mom and Dad! Sorry I totaled your car.)
Last Saturday, my mentor was riding behind me speaking very calmly to help me ride through the enclosed area. She said something that made me instantly more relaxed. She reminded me that no one was coming the other way, because the front of the pace line would have warned me. Ah.
Sweet bliss, I was not alone in that tunnel. It was the first time I felt real gratitude for the pack of riders. Normally, I'm so worried that I'm going to screw up, than I can barely ride with them. Instead of grudging acceptance of the pace line, I felt genuine gratitude.
Here's to the pace line which makes me ride faster and protects me from riders (real and imagined) coming in the opposite direction.