Monday, September 15, 2008

the state of not knowing

first, a few facts for the day:

* the first few miles of the climb up Big Mountain have become even more colorful than they were saturday morning; we are decidedly in autumn.
* asphalt is a very nice surface for riding a bike on.
* the sweetest tailwind ever helped me to a new Personal Best climbing emigration: 38 minutes. woo hoo!!!
* I still don't know what those silent, seemingly unfriendly cyclists out there are thinking.
* I have no idea what the next five or six months are going to be like for my cycling self.

which segues me nicely into the topic: I am in a grand state of uncertainty. I don't know how I'll keep in shape this winter, I don't know what I'll do with all those free hours each weekend. I don't know how much cycling fitness I'll lose, and I don't want to know how hard it's going to be to earn it back.

this all started in my mind as I was climbing back up Little Mountain on my ride this afternoon. my thought was, this isn't as hard as it used to be. I won't say it's easy, but it's become doable. as most of my rides have become. I still work hard, still send that heart rate up there, but it is slowly becoming easier.

as I crested the summit and started the descent toward the city, my mind moved to the thought of losing some of this strength and capability over the winter. ugh. it's inevitable, as there's just no way I'm willing to sit on a trainer or a spin bike for six hours on a December saturday. not going to happen.

so what will I be doing this winter? I don't know. it is currently the unknowable. which puts me in the state of not knowing. [remember, this is as oxygen is slowing seeping back into my bloodstream, as the wind is rushing against my face and I am finally descending after lots of ascending.]

and the state of not knowing is where I've been residing for quite some time. it's said that the only certainties are death and taxes, but most of us spend a lot of life hovering in a pretty stable place. we have careers, we have homes, we have marriages, we have stability. and then things happen and we lose one, two, or more of these. and then some of us move to that new state, not knowing.

as I said, I have been here for quite a while. and there's more to come. and the good thing is that I'm getting used to it.
a close friend of mine taught me this phrase a few years back: "I can't know." I like this, and I use it when appropriate.
so I can't know what this fall and winter will bring me, and I can't know what state I'll be in next spring. what I do know, however, is that this state of not knowing has a certain excitement to it, as well. what's coming around the bend can be something fabulous, which is probably more likely than the opposite.
which reminds me of yesterday's ride, a completely new trail for me. at each moment I chose to continue forward, regardless of my state of not knowing. I didn't know what each bend would bring me, I had no idea what was coming next. and I rode on, experiencing pleasant surprises, sudden scares, little thrills, big thrills, terror . . .
the state of not knowing.
this is not such a bad place to be.

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