When was the last time you stayed up to watch a late night movie despite having work in the morning? Or got a drink with friends after work instead of going home? The last time you chose to live instead of rest? More times than not as endurance athletes, we choose to follow the plan and go home to rest after work or a good workout. Yesterday was not one of those times for me.

Sunday was such a productive day around the house I knew I would have the majority of the day to get a ride in. As I was thinking about where I wanted to go, one fact kept weighing on the decision making process. I just want to ride my bike. After filling bottles, getting dressed and stuffing my pockets full of food I scrolled through the courses loaded on the Garmin. I chose "Around the Lake" and shoved off. Which lake? Lake Chesdin of course. I hadn't been down there since last Fall and thought it would be fun to do something different.

And it was. I wouldn't think about doing this route on a warm weekend due to boat traffic and other overly excited lake goers but on a Monday, it was great. I was able to go for miles without seeing vehicles. It was nice to be out in the sun with the headwind blowing across my beautiful head of stubbly hair. The views couldn't have been more green.

Farm Pond in Mannboro

Shortly after stopping to take this photo, Mother Nature brought me back to reality. Open fields after open fields means two things. Nice vistas and no place to hide from the heat. About 10 miles from a small country store at the marina, I noticed I had stopped sweating despite being on schedule with my hydration. I stopped to refill and met a incredibly welcoming family running the store. They directed me towards the cold beverages. After a few minutes of small talk they asked if I needed anything more and wished me a safe ride. I was off with three more full bottles and one in my belly.

View of the Lake from the Bridge

The remainder of the ride home proved to be a bit tougher mentally as I tried to deal with the heat. Knowing I only had about 25 miles to get home, I focused on drinking not how hot it was. When my foot would start to ache due to the swelling caused by dehydration, I drank. When my legs burned, I drank. When small country dogs lying in wait charged into the road, I squirted them. Then I drank. My new schedule was to consume a bottle every ten miles. By the time I got back to the house, all three bottles were gone and I had started to sweat again. I layed on the cold bathroom floor and thought I'm tired but I'm sweating. It's a victory in my book.

Days like yesterday are the ones I look back on during races. When I get into tough spots on the road, I turn the memory back to these long hot days of training on the roads I love. I turn back to the days of battling through hard speed work which follow the days when I disregard the plan. I remind myself I chose to do this. When asked why, I reply "I just wanted to ride my bike."