Monday, November 10, 2014

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I know it seems kind of weird and stupid, this being primarily a biking blog, but I’m so burned out on bikes, and have been for months now, that sometimes even looking at all my bikes on their wall rack makes me want to scream. I’m not sure why. There’s nothing more liberating than the feel of the wind on my face and through my short hair (through helmet vents, of course,) or of riding over an obstacle or barrier I couldn’t before. Bikes have enabled me to meet awesome new people from all over the country as well as in my adopted hometown; and to experience wilderness areas I never thought I’d be able to see, much less under my own leg and lung power. I take a lot of pride and strength in the fact that I was able to overcome a lot of physical, mental and social problems I had been suffering from, just by riding bikes. I enjoy pushing myself at the occasional race. I try not to take myself too seriously.

So I don’t know why bikes have not been making me happy lately.

Maybe it’s because I feel that bike people are always trying to sell me something. Maybe it’s because bikes are such a social activity and I’m really not a very social (or nice, for that matter) person. Maybe it’s the idea I get in my head that nothing (me, my skill level, my bikes and my choices of equipment) are ever good enough.

Enter the kettlebell. I was telling my friend Jeremy (who incidentally was the guy who got me both into cyclocross and into single-speeding) about my epic bike burnout and how I needed to try something else to start meeting my physical and psychic goals. He’s an Olympic lifter and girevik (kettlebell lifter) and recommended I try it… I was immediately hooked. Kettlebell seemed to be the total opposite of bike riding. While medals and awards in competitions are given based on my performance in relation to other gireviks, the ranking system is based on how many lifts I can manage to do in the allotted time, so it’s a lot easier for me not to notice the other people. Everybody is given a regulation-issue bell, there are no technological advantages (or conversely, technology to fail.) All external variables on the platform are mostly controlled for. The longer lift cycles are so painful and shitty (and while short, seem like they drag on FOREVER) that it’s nice to quiet the mind and not let the negative thoughts take over. I don’t need to find a babysitter or jockey for ride time with my husband.  It’s just lifting heavy shit and the simplicity of that makes my brain feel good.  

 (Quads for days.) 

(Weapons of choice.) 

So I’ve been training really hard for kettlebell competition and have already moved up to Rank 1 for my weight class and lifts. I’m currently training on the double-bell jerk because women were only allowed that lift in competition since last year, and I think that’s pretty tough. I’m trying to not to set really tangible goals because I’ll feel like a failure if I don’t make them, so I’m just trying to work hard, improve at my own pace, and have fun. Looking forward to hitting up the International Holiday Invitational in New Jersey next month, wish me luck!

So yeah, for the time being I’m dialing back on my biking, trying not to register for so many damn races (that part is hard,) focusing on having fun, and spending more time with my awesome menfolk. the Childrens’ Museum

 (Trying to keep up with this little dude for three hours is a workout in and of itself...)

...and bottling beer

(Pumpkin brown ale bottled and hopefully ready by Thanksgiving!)

...and doing yoga

(Sun Salutation I.)

 I'm taking a few days off and crossing my fingers that absence makes the heart grow fonder. 

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