You know that bit from the Teddy Bears’ Picnic song, where it says “It’s lovely out in the woods today, but safer to stay at home”? Well, I kind of wish I’d gotten a similar warning before this morning’s ride. Not that I was in any great danger (although I did end up bleeding), it’s just that it was a terrible ride.
I woke up tired and a little grumpy after working late last night on an incredibly frustrating and stupid project. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but then I saw that the weather was perfect and I figured it would do me good to get some fresh air and sunshine. The problem is that the bad mood held on like a bugger — as much as I pushed myself, I just kept stewing about work and things I needed to do and friendships that suffer from poor communication and uneven expectations. And then, around mile 20, my right quad started cramping, forcing me to take a half-hour break and start heading home at a snail’s pace and much earlier than anticipated.
As the miles passed, I grew angrier and angrier. Whereas at 7am the primary agitators were my own thoughts, at 9am the road was thronged with cars, runners and fellow cyclists, some of whom seemed to have been sent as personal plagues. At one intersection where I had the right of way, an oncoming van refused to stop, forcing me to come to a rapid and ungainly halt that left me with a gash in my calf. As much as I normally love bleeding in public, today I was not in the mood.
A few minutes later, as I was passing a series of walkers, runners, and slower cyclists, I somehow managed not to say “on your left” loudly enough for some octegenarian crawling along on his weekend cruiser to hear, and so he started screaming at me about how inconsiderate and rude I was. Gah!
By the time I discovered an expansive rose garden, I felt like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland: “Off with their heads! OFF WITH EVERYONE’S HEAD!!”
Still, I stopped. I learned from a plaque that it was a community rose garden dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in World War II. As I contemplated the perfection of the roses and the tragedy and sacrifice that their loveliness honored, I finally felt some relief. My perspective shifted; things got better.