I chose not to go home for Christmas this year in a desperate attempt to gain the days necessary to stabilize my life. The job change and move (that was not to be) meant that taking a week to go home was more than I could handle.
I thought to myself... South Florida is balmy but not terribly festive. I probably won't notice.
That could not have been farther from the truth. I was fine until Christmas Eve when my sister sent me a pic of herself and the freshly decorated tree. I burst into tears then slid into depression.
Desperate to break up the funk, I headed to the gym and did my swimming workout. Then I headed to whole foods and got some fresh fruits and veggies, a big bouquet of sunflowers, and a scented candle-apple cinnamon. I also got some cookie dough and made bicycle themed Christmas cookies for the owner of my favorite bike shop. All this helped a bit and I got to skype my family on Christmas Eve!
Christmas morning a few people had organized some informal group rides. I signed up for two that were two hours apart. It was my intention to stay on that bicycle until I was too tired to be sad about Christmas.
The first ride was with a woman who is probably one of the fittest people I have ever met. When she decides to push the envelope, all I can do is wave goodbye. We were talking about it and I told her that I missed my family. Her response was that my "cycling family was the next best thing". It was great to feel accepted into the group like that.
Later, on the second group ride, we detoured through a military graveyard and rode past the rows of gravestones, each with a wreath, in reverent silence. As we passed the last few rows, one of the guys - a former marine, did an informal salute and said "Merry Christmas Gentlemen and Thank You!". It is difficult to ride with a big lump in your throat.
In all, my Christmas blues were banished by 78 miles on my bicycle. I replaced emotional pain with physical pain. No really, it is time to replace the bike saddle.... REALLY IMPORTANT!! That will be happening sooner rather than later. In fact, before I ride again. Ow. Whimper.
Of course, 78 miles is a personal record. I was only scheduled to do 60 on my long ride this week. My coach, in keeping with the generosity of the season, put next weeks training online a day early. I looked at my long ride next week and discovered that he saw my 78 and raised me 80. About that new saddle....