Of course this will leave me with almost three weeks with limited saddle time. Say goodbye to halfway decent racing form. I'm less worried about that though. I can always fake it in a race--use my head and not my legs. I'm also well past the years where racing priorities were put before every other priority in life.
What I don't like is that too much time away from the bike leaves me feeling a bit incomplete.
I started taking bike riding seriously when I was 13. I entered my first bike race the next season. I'm 37 now, so you can do the math about how many years I've been riding, and more significantly how many years cycling has been an important part of my life. Save for a few years in the late-90s following complete and total cycling burnout (working in the racing industry can do that), I haven't gone long without riding, thinking about riding or talking about riding.
Why? What is it that draws me to cycling? What draws others?
I suppose everyone has different reasons. For some, after years of running or football or tennis injuries, it's simply a kinder, gentler way to maintain fitness. For others cycling might be a way to spend time with friends. A way to get to work or to pick up the day's groceries. Some feel like it connects them with the outdoors.
There's nothing wrong with any of these things. I value all of them. But for me, and for a lot of riders I know, there's much more. "Riding is my church and every day is Sunday," a friend once said to me.
He was only half kidding. Cycling was his religion. It's where he found balance and joy, where he thought about the things happening around him, and for my friend the way he approached cycling was the way he approached life.
I don't know if it's because I started riding when I was so young, but there's something about my legs going in circles that completely grounds me. The repetition of movement does something to my brain, creates a state that I haven't found in any other activity.
And when I can't ride for a few days or certainly weeks, I don't feel right. I'll certainly survive the next week or so and will probably have the chance to get in a couple of rides somewhere along the path.
But I'm curious. Why do you ride?