Despite a calf that’s wound up so tight my heel actually hurts, I’m pushing, thrusting, alternatively gritting my teeth and biting my lower lip. Eyes closed, head tilted back, hissing in air and letting it out in trembling exhalations. Moving my hips just a little bit to the left, a little forward…right there. Right right there. Don’t stop; keep still.
Ohhhh, yeah. That’s the sweet spot.
Thighs burning, trying to savor that feeling of perfection…then my front wheel’s veering left, my rear wheel almost skidding before I can straighten the bars. But holy shit, I had it. That narrow slice of motionless, rolling perfection.
It’s an addiction. The one thing I hungered for on visits to NYC. The one thing that had me hopping on a bus back to Boston, to an apartment with no AC. The one thing that I know is going to keep me sane this fall.
Which is ironic, given how Sisyphean it is to actually ride rollers. Unlike trainers, these things require some semblance of balance, and assurances that “well, when you fall off, you kind of just stop and tip over” are actually more terrifying in real life than it sounds. Especially when that actually involves bashing into the doorway first. It doesn’t not hurt.
Then again, it’s sort of like law school. Studying endlessly, trying to stretch the days and hours that are never enough, just to stay right where I’ve always been on the sliding scale of competency [as always, measured by grades]. The only obviously tangible reward being the glimmer of a degree and the hope of a bar card.
But maybe it does all make sense. Because physical pain – from my heinous saddle or otherwise – is much easier to understand and work through than the kind that law school will hand you. That mental crushing and breaking that feels like a bomb went off in your head while your heart and brain free-fall into empty panic and you can’t even feel your face. An inexplicable feeling of desperation that can only be described as “fuck my life,” despite the fact that that might be the biggest understatement made.
So while unemployment stares me in the face, I’m staring down that spot on the wall right under my Embrocation Cycling Journal Volume 3 poster [go get yourself a copy of Volume 4, seriously], pedaling, sweating, and making things hurt while other things go numb. My priorities are clearly a mess.
But hey, at least constantly trying to balance on those rollers means I’m also doing some power kegels. That’s productive…right?