The cookie doesn't lie

I was pretty useless after Saturday's trail race. Came home, showered, laid down on the bed, "accidentally" napped for a couple hours (you know, Oh, gosh, honey, I just laid down for a second...I didn't mean to fall asleep...even if I also set my alarm to get up :D)...J had a friend over, so he was plenty occupied and I didn't have to feel as guilty about not playing with him.  I mean, I can't really compete with another 8 year old boy.  I didn't really feel like cooking when I got up, so when Jeff suggested a trip to eat at the Chinese buffet and then see Christmas lights, I was all for the plan.

Of course, the best part of the Chinese restaurant (other than the awesome wonton/hot and sour soup) is the fortune cookies, but when I broke mine open I wasn't at all happy with what I found inside.

I think my husband slipped it into the cookie
Relax? In the next few days? Sorry, but I had plans to go mountain biking; relaxation was not on the agenda.  When we headed off to see the lights, I left the offending fortune on the table.

We enjoyed the lights, snuggled together through a short Christmas movie, and then I got my ride clothes together once the boy was in bed.  We had another cold morning forecast (low 20's), and I'm still getting my cold weather dress figured out again.  I pretty much put every piece of technical fabric I own in a pile in the bathroom (where I get dressed on early mornings so I don't wake Jeff) and then went to bed.

I got up on time, but honestly, I did not want to go.  It wasn't (just) that I was still sleepy; I just felt completely fatigued.  I was almost dreading the ride.  I felt like something bad was going to happen.  And yes, I absolutely could've called or messaged Chuck to say I wasn't going to make it.  It's not like I add much to the rides...mostly comic relief and additional rest as they wait for me to catch up.  But to continue being honest, almost every trail ride I've done has emcompassed a mixture of happy anticipation and sick dread.

I love to mountain bike; I'm scared to mountain bike.  If I gave into my natural wimpiness and fear every time I felt it, I'd have missed out on some really fantastic times on the trails...and I would've been sitting home following Berryman on Checkpoint Tracker.  No matter how much I've wanted to opt out, I have never regretted going.  So I dressed my whiny ass in bike shorts over tights, two long-sleeved base layer shirts, a sleeveless jersey, and a fleece jacket, and a hat; loaded up my bike and gear; and drove to Lost Valley.

Even pulling into the parking lot I considered turning around and catching the early part of N's volleyball tournament, but instead I said hi to Bill and started dragging my bike out. When Chuck got there (yeah, that's right...I wasn't last), we headed to the trail.  Wow, it was cold with the wind on your face (and on my cheap- glove-covered fingers), but it was a lot better when we got to the wooded part.  Because I always get dropped on the first big downhill (because I'm a huge chicken), I remembered to check which way we'd be going at the bottom of the hill.  Usually I forget to ask this and end up going to wrong way, leaving me to turn around and do a big climb from basically a standstill.

For the first time ever on a ride at Lost Valley, we turned away from the big hill and started on the singletrack.  This should've been a good thing, but despite how cool it was to ride through an icy creek, I really struggled.  The first part of a ride is generally tough until I warm up, but I should've been warm by then.  Instead of a big, long climb, we had a more gradual uphill, but my legs felt like jello.  I couldn't catch my breath and kept thinking, yep, I should have stayed home.  At one point I fell over when I hit a root wrong at way too slow a speed, and then I just laid there on the ground for a moment, oddly comfortable, until I realized the guys would be waiting for me.

I love riding at Lost Valley, but both mentally and physically I didn't have it.  My legs were worn out from the Pere Marquette hills, and I felt really timid inside.  I was afraid to try even things that I've ridden in the past, despite having really improved on the bike.  For the first time ever, I wasn't having fun.  When we got to the scary creek crossing, I didn't even consider riding across it.  Well, that's not true.  I looked at it, thought I know I could ride this, and then got off my bike and walked it across.

When we finally did get to the big climb, I asked Chuck if this was the hill that would lead back to the parking lot if I turned around.  He said it was, so I told him I was going back once we got to the top.  I figured if I was going to wimp out I'd at least make myself work for it first, so I rode up the hill.  Reeeeallllly slowly.

Chuck had kept going at the top, so Bill and I rode along the doubletrack talking family and adventure racing until we caught up with him at the entrance to the first singetrack I ever rode at Lost Valley.  I was exhausted.  I was slow.  I couldn't have been good company, which wasn't a problem I guess since I couldn't come close to keeping up with the guys.  I was riding as tentatively as I ever have.  I had every intention of saying goodbye and heading to N's tournament.  Instead, I traded my fleece jacket for a long-sleeved bike jersey and followed them onto the trail.

And it wasn't as bad as the first part had been.  But I walked a lot of stuff that I can ride, just because I didn't feel like my body had my back, and I completely lacked the spirit to go for it.  On the other hand, the gradual downhill along the hillside didn't make me nearly as nervous as in the past and the downhill that comes after the scary creek crossing didn't seem as big as it used to, so clearly the riding I've been doing has made me more confident in general, if not on this particular day.  Most surprising of all, when I got to the scary creek crossing, rather than stop, get nervous, and walk across, I went for it.  I almost made it, too, but I had to put a foot down at the top on the other side.  The guys probably almost fell over in shock, because I know Chuck at least has watched me wimp out repeatedly at that same spot.

Photo credit:
Finally,sucess!  That bigger tree isn't there anymore, but otherwise it's the same.

The temperatures had warmed up enough that the ground was getting slippery as we headed back out.  I was really glad we'd gone as early as we did, because the trails were in great shape for the majority of our ride.  I'd hate to be those people who were showing up as we left.  As we got closer to the big hill that would take us back towards the parking lot, I think I was already checking out.  I've ridden that hill several times.  Of course, the only thing that's kept me on my bike is knowing that it's just as miserable to walk up as ride up, but still.  I know I can ride it.  I made it maybe halfway up before stopping to walk.  I'm sure it didn't help that I was struggling in my low gear before I even got to the incline.

Of course, the guys were nice and made sure to remind me that of course I was worn out from the Pere Marquette race; that's little consolation when the people who've been riding circles around you all morning both did the same race and finished faster than you, but it was still a nice attempt.

It would be a lie to say I didn't have fun.  I did.  The trails were in good shape, the weather was beautiful, and the company was great.  I even managed to ride a section I haven't done before and felt more comfortable on some parts that have scared me in the past.  But it was a mistake to go.  If I was tired Saturday night, I was flat exhausted on Sunday, and it was all I could do to stay awake driving N home from volleyball practice on Monday.  I think I crossed the line between doing a lot and doing too much.

I guess this is basically a lesson in listening to your body, but the problem is that my body is a damn liar.  I'm tired...I'm hurt...I can't go any faster...I won't...  Usually if I call it on its bs it gives in with a kind of rueful grin...Heh heh, you caught me, FINE I'll do it... I can't count the number of times during a run that I've felt a pain or an ache that's gone away after it's ignored for a moment or two.  My brain is no better: I'm's ok to give can't do this.  With all this misinformation floating around, it looks like the cookie is the only one I can trust.


  1. I wish my next cookie says something like this: You will be rolling in dollar bills tomorrow.

  2. It's hard to give in to tiredness when there is so much to do. But it sounds like you may need a bit (just a bit if you can do it) of a break. Take care of yourself!

  3. Perfect fortune cookie! Sounds like you made the best of the ride even being very fatigued.

  4. I wish I'd had that cookie ahead of my lousy run today. My stupid insomnia returned at midnight and I still went out to do a track workout this morning at 6 a.m. in 15 degree weather on virtually no sleep. The body did NOT like it.

    Like you said, live and learn! Let's both of us get some rest already!

    And I'm glad I'm not alone as a snow-eater. :^)

  5. my brain fights me a lot more than my body. I am finally finding ways to overcome it like just running without looking at my watch so I can't slow myself down

  6. Ahhh, we are on the same wave length here. sort of. So important to cut ourselves off and give ourselves rest. You are go go go go...I can't imagine why you'd be tired!! ha!

  7. Nothing like going out with other people (running, biking, whatever) to make you push yourself. But I think once I had seen that cookie, I would've given in and stayed under the covers.

  8. Wow, lots to read. First, I love hot and sour soup. Now that you mentioned it I am going to have to have some for lunch! Second, I am terrified by mountain biking too, but you at least get on yours rather than just admiring it as it sits in your spare bedroom. Third, I once got a fortune cookie that said I was going get a financial surprise, and later that day I got a totally unexpected check in the mail for $750. True story! Keep up the good work!

  9. Is it just me or do those rocks in the trail look like a giant foot?

  10. I got a cookie just last night that told me that someone will recognize the good things I'm doing. Hope mine's telling the truth, too!

  11. I thought the same thing (about the giant foot). Sometimes following the cookie is the only way to go.

  12. I wish my body would lie. bone spurs stabbing my Achilles speak the truth though. I am in the middle of getting back my mojo - and hello Mr. bone spur.

    New URL for my blog -

  13. Sounds like a nice ride even if you were wiped out. We spent a weekend in St. Charles last summer and rode the Lost Valley trail. I walked across that creek crossing. :(

  14. My husband and I got the same fortune in our cookies when we started our business 13 years ago: "You will be unusually successful in business". And guess what? Our business was unusually successful :-)
    I still have both fortunes taped to my computer monitor. They've been taped to probably about 8 different monitors over the years.

    Trust your cookies :D

  15. We find the fortune cookies inside the boxes of chocolate called "Baci" (kisses). But they don't come true.... for now....


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