Despite a canceled flight, I am finally on a plane en route to Pacific Northwest. Before I left San Diego, I was sitting on my porch in a tank top. The pilot just announced that it's snowing in Portland. Ugh!
Let's see. Now that I have a few minutes to write what can I tell you? I dropped out of the Century Ride. It broke my heart to do it, but there was a point when it became obvious that it was the right choice.
We were riding along the coast on Saturday and it was incredibly windy which was making the ocean a wild, choppy mess. Of course, that makes the ocean deliciously tempting to surfers and daredevils. As we were riding along the shoreline and we heard people shouting for help. We stopped and scanned the water for the people shouting. There were two people being pulled out by the riptide. They were pretty far out there and there was no way to help them. I'm a very strong swimmer, but not strong enough to pull two people back from that ocean. For all I knew, they were stronger swimmers than I am. There wasn't anything to help either - no rescue buoys or even driftwood. In your heart, you want to run into that water like Pam Anderson. In your head, you know that adding a third stranded swimmer to the mix is not helpful at all.
The police were called and we waited and hoped. We waited so that we could point out the swimmers to the rescue team. It was frustrating to watch; sometimes the swimmers would get closer to the shore. At one point, we almost thought that they were goofing off. Then they got pulled out by the undertow again and we knew that they were in trouble. Finally, the police got there and the ambulance and the coast guard chopper and everyone else who does these types of rescues. In this case, "finally" means about 5 minutes but it felt like forever. The swimmers got pulled to the shore and we got back on our bikes to continued our ride. As we rode off I thought, "Missed opportunity! If I'd have jumped in the ocean I bet I wouldn't have to finish this @$*#ing ride."
Something about watching those people struggle made me realize it was time to quit the Century Ride for now. With the help of the incredible TNT mentors and coaches I came very far in 6 weeks, but it made me so unhappy to have to ride on Saturdays. This was supposed to be fun and instead I dreaded it. I'm not a crybaby but I was constantly, secretly crying because I was so worried about falling in front of a car. That said, I haven't given up on the idea of the Century Ride forever. Having conquered big hills, clipless pedals, and many of my riding fears I just need to give myself some time to remember how to enjoy riding. Even a few years ago, I loved my bike. I'm going to ride on my own for awhile and relax. I think it'll all come together. I'll try it again another season.
Mostly, I'm deeply and profoundly relieved that I quit this season. I miss the team and I miss-miss-miss the spin classes. Of course, it damn near kills me that I disappointed people. But overall, I'm relieved.