It’s coming. It’s coming swiftly like a crazed cheetah with spokes for teeth. I know this ride is well supported, I know I’ve trained my brains and thighs out, I know it will all be fine, but I’m as terrified as lamb on a lion’s back (I’m going with this animal theme). I realized that all the anxiety I feel about cycling has everything to do with being exposed, being vulnerable, being outside in spandex where life could happen to me instead of nestled safely and warm in my cozy but oppressive cave.
The anxiety starts the night before every ride and stays there until I’m home. Usually starting about 2:00 in the morning, I think things like, “Is this the day I die? Is that car being driven by a coked-out psychopath hell-bent on the excitement of destruction? Is a wildcat going to jump out of the bushes and attack me while I’m clipped into the pedals so that I can’t run away and I get devoured while still furiously pedaling toward my death? Does that rider behind me think I’m fat?”
And in 2-and-a-half weeks, it will be that every day. Me and my anxiety on a weeklong trip together, every day pedaling further away from the safety of my cave. Oh, and let’s add some camping with a few thousand strangers on top of that. Introverted, body-shamed Randy in a sea of tents, public showers, and port-a-potties. This is either going to be a nightmare or completely transformational. And more realistically, a mix of both.
Today I have to send a very silent shout-out to meditation. I’ve been doing it pretty much every morning, give or take a day, and though we had a tough relationship in the beginning, we are crazy tight now. I’ve even learned to do it on the bike by counting my breaths when I climb up hills. I am enormously grateful to the inner Randy that had the forethought to get back up on these happiness tasks before this ride because I am definitely going to need them. So I’m saving a seat for meditation on this road trip in hopes he can shut anxiety up long enough for me to make it. Fingers crossed.