When Ed and I rolled into the finish of the Endless Mountains 1000K after 67:37 hours in the company of five other accomplished randonneurs, I felt amazing. There was pain in my knee and I felt dirty and smelled bad, but all that was eclipsed by what our group had accomplished.
622 miles of riding over three days. That’s awesome, I thought. As Mike Anderson and I discussed after our finish, we’ve gone on other types of vacations, but they just don’t feel as triumphant as this. (Viewing 1000Ks as vacation is a topic for another time, ok?)
Reveling in my post-ride euphoria, I saw myself as a powerful woman who had endeavored something other people could not even fathom. I am woman, hear me roar! I am a randonneur superhero!
After a good night’s sleep, however, I was singing a different tune. What had happened to my body? Superhero, ha ha ha! What a joke. I hurt all over and everywhere I looked, I was swollen. I couldn’t even see my cheekbones, forget about my ankles. What had I done? The last thing I felt like doing was roaring.
As I looked through photos of our ride, I noticed that my demise as a randonneur superhero gradually set in over the course of our three days of riding. The further I pedaled, the greater the toll of the event on my body. While I may have been feeling like a randonneur superhero on the inside, the photographic evidence tells a slightly different tale.
Vytas, who was our riding company for much of the 1000K, noted that some people say that doing a 1000K or a 1200K takes 7 years off of a person’s life. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I can definitely tell you I didn’t feel 7 years younger at the end of the ride. Maybe what they mean is that, after completing something like this, you look at least 7 years older until you get caught up on your REM cycles.
I meandered into work today and tried to keep as low a profile as possible (without falling asleep under my desk). I still feel like I’m a randonneur superhero when I consider the feat of riding a 1000K, but I want my body to recover enough so that it also shows that randonneur awesomeness. Limping around with barely visible eyeballs and calves that are indiscernable from ankles is not the way to convince anyone of their randonneur superpowers.
Only when my body has returned to its normal form can I start walking around the office seeking out socially acceptable bragging opportunities. I think it’s going to take a few days and a lot of sleep and hydration! It will happen, though, and then I will be the randonneur superhero I imagine myself to be, both inside and out.