Cake
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    • Sunday morning, which is the only morning of the week I am able to ride, I managed to get out of bed in time to meet up with the guys and join them on their bike ride. I myself rode a total of sixty-six kilometres in just under three hours and climbed a total of 872 metres with a maximum elevation of 530 metres of altitude. For the climb we were in the mountains and those roads were almost devoid of traffic and people and provided great views of valleys, mountains in the distance, and the city some distance away. It was also our first sunny day after almost a week of clouds and rain and the air was clear, making those views even more spectacular.

      The climb was difficult with some very steep sections but not too difficult. There was a waterfall running into a small lagoon about halfway up the climb where we could stop and immerse ourselves in the water to refresh and replenish ourselves. The descent was fast and picturesque. Back on the flat roads we passed by numerous rice paddies and fields of lotus flowers in bloom.

      In short, it was a beautiful and wonderful ride. It was the best ride I had had in a long time, which is saying a lot because a ride is never bad and is almost always very good. I really enjoyed it and the weather -- which was beautiful, sunny and hot but not too hot -- and I had a great time.

      But the ride was also very depressing.

      But how could a ride so beautiful and so much fun be depressing? Because while I was out there immensely enjoying myself, challenging myself, getting exercise, and having a great time, I was thinking about just how much fun it was, how much I enjoyed doing it, how much I wanted to do it again, and how much I wanted to do it more often.

      Then I started to think about the fact that I can't do it more often, that this one morning of every week is the only time I can do this, that I will have to wait until next Sunday before I can do it again, that if the weather is bad or if something comes up next Sunday I won't be able to do this again...

      That made me quite depressed.

      It made me question why I can't do this more often, why I can't have more opportunities during the week to week to ride. I understand the need to go to work. I understand most people do nothave time in the morning -- even only once or twice a week -- when they don't have to work and are therefore free. But most people don't have to work in the evening, most people don't get home after ten o'clock at night. I would think the working in the evening and getting home late would entitle me to having one or two mornings free.

      I honestly don't enjoy cycling as much as I did before. That is not because the cycling itself is not as much fun -- Sunday's ride was a pleasant reminder of just how much fun it is and how much I enjoy it -- it is because I no longer feel as carefree and relaxed when I am out there. With the possibility -- not a guarantee but just a possibility -- of only one ride a week, I want to make sure I take advantage of the opportunity to ride. That puts some pressure on the expectations for the ride and takes away from the carefree and relaxed feelings. There is also the fact that since I have so little free time to do other things, sometimes I don't really want to be out on the road because if I'm out there, I'm not at home doing those other things.

      There is also the feeling of being in the mountains and on the back roads at nine or ten o'clock on a weekday morning. It feels different than it does on a weekend. Remembering that feeling and knowing I may never experience it again also takes away from the enjoyment of riding.

      So that makes for a very depressing ride.

      Nevertheless, the reason it made me depressed was because it was so enjoyable and beautiful and wonderful. I will take a little depression to feel that again. Next Sunday's group ride is a fairly long ride -- with me living so far out of the city, but the time I ride in to meet with everybody, do the ride, and then ride back home, I will probably have done one hundred kilometres -- on flat roads I don't usually see. I hope the weather is good and I can get out of bed early enough so that I can join them.

    • Thanks for sharing your ride with us. It's good to hear that you had a good ride on Sunday.

      I understand being sad about not having the time to ride every day. Instead of looking at that as a bad thing can you flip your thoughts about riding around to look forward to your Sunday rides without the intervening bad thoughts? I don't know if that's even possible, just a thought.

    • I think you are not alone in dealing with certain kinds of depression which perhaps relates to existential woes, and all I can say is that you are doing the right thing to go out and enjoy, when you can. I've personally found that throttling back to more reasonable expectations is in my case a better answer than the "blitzkrieg" kind of recreation which, in my opinion, after a certain personal threshold of how much activity we try to jam in, for me turns out to have the opposite effect. Wishing you balance, peace and a tranquil ride!

    • To me, a sight of beautiful nature is depressing because it won't be here in a hundred years or less. We, humans, are killing the planet. We know about it, but continue doing so with accelerating pace. Earth will become as barren as Mars, and all that will be left is Planet Earth docos in 4K.

    • Thank you; I try to stay positive on my rides. The good news is that the rides do make me feel better and happier than I would feel if I didn't go on the rides.

    • We were lost in the desert for several hours and our group was depressed and angry. One of the Outward Bound guides had shown me how to read topographic maps, but the large and in-charge types had ignored my navigation recommendations and our guides were shadowing us out of sight.

      We were on our own and failing miserably and people were turning on each other. Throughout all this, I was ridiculously calm. Before I could get caught up in their downward spiral or perseveration of despondency, I physically separated myself from the group by walking ahead of them. And I started to repeat silently, “The mind is king or it is conquered.”

      Two hours or so later of repeating this mantra while hiking, our guides caught up to us because we were heading towards a restricted wildlife area that we were specifically told under no circumstances to enter. I looked at my traveling companions and they were all emotionally wrecked while I was more than ready for the several hours of night hiking ahead of us that our “detour” now required.

      Life is a mind game.

    • Thank God you know. I was a geophysicist for 16 years involved in water testing, among other things, and when you can see what we’re actually doing, it’s so hard to fathom.

      But I ride like @zorxique , 3 times a week, and run in the hills 3 others, and keep myself positive by thinking “At least I get to witness it here and now, when it’s still miraculously gorgeous.” And I drink in its beauty, the flowers, birds, trees, mountains, squirrels.

      Exploring space like we do highlights what a rare jewel we live on.

    • my friend has 5 kids and a busy clinic he runs as a doctor. He is busy to put it mildly. He rides his bike to work to get around the too busy problem. Making time to be healthy will add time and vigor to your life. Make it happen.

    • Trust me, riding to work has been suggested and considered before, but it just isn't possible. I would love to be able to do it, but circumstances don't allow it.