I woke up this morning feeling hungry. Not the kind of hungry that has you running for the refrigerator but the kind of hungry that makes you think, “I could eat”. I haven’t felt this way in way too long. An intense gym workout Friday, 36 miles of tempo on Saturday and 75 endurance miles in the blazing Miami sun on Sunday is apparently what it takes for my body to kick up it’s metabolic rate into the next gear.
I have been trying to work up my mileage and effort over the last few weeks to ready myself for group riding in Miami. There are many groups out there filling the air with the whirring sound of chain on cog, casual conversation and the occasional trash talk. Some groups are organized with military like precision with a double pace line and strict 30 second rotation but most are “free for alls” swelling and thinning like a swarm of bees in search of a new nest. I like to ride on Saturday with the group from Lareo’s but I am afraid it will take me a few months working my way through the slower groups before I can return to the pace that these guys keep.
If you ride in Southern Florida you know what the sun and miles do to your body and brain. You cannot think, you are thirsty but cannot drink. You are not hungry but must eat. You cannot balance yourself as you remove your socks and shoes. Your wife asks you questions but you cannot hear the words through the fog that has settled in your head. “You’re weird”, she says after twenty minutes of attempting a conversation with you. By now a protein shake with fresh blueberries has begun to nourish you, yet your legs continue to ache and still you can hardly muster a complete sentence. “Just tired” you reply.
One singular thought rolls over the mind like a recurring bad dream.
Is this really what it’s going to take?