I've been hiding.
From people and social scenes and my bike and basically anything and everything outside of my house.
It's nice in here, man. I've got enough food to last a few more weeks like this - and the basement has a solid row of fairly respectable wine bottles standing like soldiers, just waiting to be called into action.
I've tried to articulate this feeling to a few people with little success. I'm tired, sure - and it's a sort of deep-seated fatigue that is hard to explain. But there's more than that. I'm apathetic and a little uninterested. Bike rides? Cross races? Skills clinics?
I hate to put it this way, but I could give a shit. I just don't care.
I've been feeling pretty guilty about it all. The not riding. The not racing. The not caring. I didn't know how to explain all this indifference and then one day a friend sort of nailed it for me - "You hit your emotional peak a little early this year."
I suppose I don't really like to admit that I have a peak. (Hey, isn't this energy boundless?! Isn't this upward trajectory never-ending? Can't I just keep hurtling forward in the glow of unchecked enthusiasm forever and ever and ever?)
But the truth is, the energy isn't boundless. You can't hurtle forever and ever. At some point you reach the top of your upward trajectory and then… you start falling. If you're awesome, you can put your arms out and scream crazy-person style, enjoying the sensation of gravity. Or maybe sometimes you just go limp and exhale. That's the tack I've been taking, anyway.
Last week a health care provider looked at me and said, "You know what? You're really, really tired, Heidi."
I called my Reve Tour roomie Jennifer Cree to see how she was faring: "Everything is hard." she said. She meant riding and she meant running and she meant working 10 hours a day. She meant what she said. She meant everything.
I rode with Bill Strickland for a week in May and he told me about what it was like to come back from Stoepid Week (in which he and a few others rode 5 of the classics - 1250 kilometers/776 miles - in 7 days). "I'm all over the map." he told me, "Some days I'm good and some days I'm bad. I'm definitely all screwed up."
All screwed up.
I hail from a long line of crazy people, so the idea of being all screwed up doesn't really bother me very much. But feeling this flat? Feeling this flat definitely makes me uncomfortable. I want to love my bike again. I want to race in our little local 'cross races and feel like it matters.
I know it will happen. This part of the Reve Tour – the recovering – is another unknown that we are just starting to understand more completely. Blow your cycling world up with the biggest ride you can think of and you’re bound to burn out a little on the other side. Sometimes, you really can get too much of a good thing.
As athletes, we never expect this feeling. And, frankly, as far as I’ve observed, we’re not very good at dealing with it.
Indifference and apathy aren’t welcome in my world, but as long as they’re here it’s probably best just to pour them a strong cup of coffee, lean back in my office chair and hope that they don’t overstay their welcome. In the meantime, good luck with your early season 'cross racing: I'll see you sooner or later – promise.