The Spins

Learning to Spin in a New Gear

For much of the late winter I was having bad nausea. I felt like I was seasick all the time, which made the idea of training seem daunting. In the back of my mind, I am always counting down the weeks to the Strawberry Century. “Okay, 16 weeks, then 12 weeks…11 weeks…” And here I am, with about 2 months to go, and I have started my regular short climbs. Post-winter, post-nausea, and ready to feel warm on my bike!

During the last MFC group ride, Coach Adnan told me that I wasn’t spinning enough. I realized I had spent most of my life riding on a higher gear, and that I wasn’t getting the momentum I needed. I think I was riding on a high gear because I associated higher gears with power. With the MFC support, I am now changing how I ride, which is a HUGE shift!

At first, I focused on shorter flat rides, so that I could get used to my new spin. Now, I am going up and down the lower hills of east Tabor, with the hope of climbing the higher elevation in a few weeks. The warmer Spring has reminded me that I enjoy heat. I don’t mind the light cooling of the rain, as I pedal between neighborhoods.

During my long ride on Monday evening, I started spinning through older landscapes in my mind. Places with emotional rolling hills and memories of my first bike rides. With my new, fast spin, I must accept change. There is nothing else to do on those long rides, except spinning and accepting that my body and even my cells, are constantly changing in the process. The only choice I can make is to let go of whatever I am holding onto and enjoy how hard it is to make the climbs.

I have increased my mileage by taking the long way home. I ride without a plan and follow the bike lanes around Portland. I spin up and down the parallel streets and I am finding comfort in my self-reliance and perseverance for “one more hill.” I will report back when I finally make it up Tabor.

Photo of Mt. Tabor by David Anolik.