It’s a tradition here at The Athletic to journal and share our slices of inspiration with y’all, who would we be if we broke that tradition? Let me preface this by saying that I’m no writer, I pour my soul into spreadsheets. Yes, by choice (but, if I blink three times fast, please come get me).
To me, there is something so incredibly vulnerable about writing that my brain short circuits at the thought of letting that wall come down; this is why I love sports. It’s a moment where filters don’t exist. Where exhaustion brings out your truest self.
The goal today is to get out of my head and re-discover an old haunt. No thoughts of compensation plans, quotas, budgets; just hurling the metaphorical laptop into the Willamette River.
The plan? A jaunt to the West Hills. This particular route is one of my all-time favorites and one we would do often during our “Hills for Breakfast” rides a decade ago with the PSU Cycling squad.
I love this ride because it’s a slow burner. Starts downhill and gently goes up until you hit Westwood and BAM! A struggle fest to the top, American-style cobble roads included.
While my heart is pounding in my ears all that I can think of is “WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?” until I reach Fairmount. But the beauty is that in those moments I’m in my body and nothing else matters. Nothing except catching my breath and making sure I don’t die. You know, the usual fare.
Once at Fairmount, you can continue up to the top of the West Hills known as Council Crest. That was my planned halfway point except it was in the mid-eighties, I had consumed most of my water, and I was cooked. Well, that climb isn’t going anywhere so back down I went.
Rides don’t have to be massive to be fulfilling. A shaking of the cobwebs, an accentuation of cycling tans. That’s all this soul needed today.
As I get near home all I can think about is what I’m going to eat? Can I drink another coffee and still sleep tonight?
UPDATE: It is Monday and while I had hoped to be the human version of Neapolitan ice cream with my different shades of tan, I’m sad to report that sun block works! How dare it?