February 26, 2023 Comments Off on Inspire, perspire
Everyone knows the Edison quote that genius is “Ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.”
But when it comes to cycling in shitty weather, perspiration is ninety percent inspiration, ten percent dedication.
Or as Fields used to say, “Anybody can finish a ride in the rain, but it takes a hard fucker to start in it.”
Today’s high was 37. It had rained all night and wasn’t letting up. There was no way I was getting out in that mess.
Then I read a great article about riding in Ireland. In the 1890’s.
What was it like? Constant rain and cold. Mud four to five inches deep. Roads paved, if at all, with stones that would destroy an ordinary bike so quickly that manufacturers had to develop an Irish version to handle the beating. No pneumatic tires. One gear. No freewheel. And average speeds of 6-7 mph.
Yet people rode by the thousands. Taking ten hours to go fifty miles was “easily” within the ability of a “lady.” Wearing a dress, of course.
This bit of history made me feel weak. Then it pissed me off. Then it inspired me.
I put on shoes, wool socks, sweatpants, rain pants, wool jersey, rain cape, heavy outer wool jacket, wool hat, and lined leather gloves. Objective: 6.5-mile ride to the grocery store.
I got there frozen and soaked. After shopping, my backpack weighed over thirty pounds. I crawled home in the freezing rain, marveling at the rare rainy sky, the raging Kern River, and the frosty peaks stretching out forever.
I got home with numb feet and unloaded the groceries. Thirteen miles, 900 feet of climbing.
It wasn’t much, but then again, it was.