5 Minutes

I bundled up for a bike ride around Mercer Island today. It's been a while since I've been on my bike. It took me 38 minutes to cover the street portion of Mercer Island, a route I could cover earlier this year in 33 minutes. That's a difference of 5 minutes over just a 13, 14 mile course! That's horrible. I was quite depressed.
Part of it is that I'm out of biking shape. But the other part is that my body has changed. I've been lifting some and I'm carrying a lot more upper body muscle. I'm at least 5 pounds heavier than I was when I was training for STP earlier this year, and I felt those pounds like an anchor dragging me down the hills.
At the end of the ride, on the climb up the steep hill to my house, my left calf cramped up violently and I almost fell off my bike. During the ride, I had a huge headache because I wore an insulated bike cap under my helmet and my already snug helmet was like a vise on the sides of my head, above each year. The whole ride was an exercise in extended suffering.
I have to make some hard choices. If I'm going to ride RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) next year, if I'm going to ride the 56 mile bike leg of a triathlon, I'll need to give up the upper body weightlifting and drop that muscle mass. I'm not a huge fan of biker body, though. One's upper body becomes scrawny. I think I'll have to make that tradeoff again next year, though. For just one more time. Goal orientation can be difficult sometimes.
My only vindicating moment on this Christmas Day was chasing down another biker on the I-90 bridge on the way back home. He had about a 250 yard lead when I got on the bridge, and I finally passed him on the last fourth of the bridge, on the climb. The cold air was burning my lungs when I passed him. I looked back once or twice and saw him trying to climb out of the saddle, but he was done.
It's a Wonderful Life is on network TV again. I've never watched the whole film. It's always on in the background. One of these Christmas seasons I should watch it, but I think I've missed that window yet again. Once Christmas day has passed I'm emotionally done with the whole holiday.
My sisters get in on a really late flight tonight, so I have to finish cleaning up the house. Merry Christmas to all!