辛い言葉

昨日が私の大事にしている、大好きな、生きている目標の朝練。

先週は以外と調子がよくて、友達を新しく見つけたオーガニックなお店まで連れて行ってあげて、走り終わったら檜原村まで行ってきました。平日なのに合計112キロをのんびりと走ってしまいました。少しハンガーノック(英語で言うと「hangry」だけど、日本語の発音じゃ意味が不明な「ハングリー過ぎてアングリーになった」状態)みたいな気持ちになっても、打ち合わせで夢の話もでき、復路で予想外に元気がでました。

土曜日はお休みにして、日曜日の朝練をやる気満々で向かって行ったが・・・

何故かどれほど力入れてもスピードがでず、仲間に追いつけない。まあ、そんなのはなれていますが、神谷師匠に後つかれ、ギアーを重くしろ!もう一枚!もう一枚!頂上まで休まず、ダンシングだ!まだだ、踏め!と強く走らせられる。ありがたく、もって力入れて、もっと頑張るが・・・

一つ目の峠を超えたらまた仲間に追いつけず、同じことが繰り返す。

お店に帰ってきたら、頑張ったつもりだけど、少し物足りなかった気がします。そこに、尊敬しているロード師匠が言う、「デニーが確かに速くなってはいるが、坂で諦めている」。立ち上がれなくなった。何故日曜日の朝練をこんなに大事にしているのに、何故毎週千切れても文句言わず付いて行っているのに、何故心臓が胸から飛び出しそうになるぐらい頑張って走っているのにこんなことを言われなきゃいけないの?
でも考えてみればそうだった。デニーは千切れることになれて、覚悟して途中からもう追いつかないことに諦めていた証拠が確かに心に残っていた。だから物足りなかった気がしてたでしょう。

頭をたれて帰って行きます。デニーが才能ないけど心の勝負で誰にも負けないという自分のイメージが自慢でした。そして一瞬で壊されてしまった。

まあね、辛いけどそれが事実であれば、言われないより良いでしょう。これで来週に向かった千切れるか千切れないか問わず、脚が全く回らなくなるまで走っておこう!

English


Yesterday was the most important day of my week, Morning Training, the day I live every other day for.

Last week I was in pretty good shape. I even took my classmate out to a new restaurant I found, passing through Hinoharamura on the way home* and having a business meeting about bicycle related dreams. At the end of the day I had put in 112 kilometers — on a week day, no less!

Even so, somehow on Sunday, no matter how hard I tried I could not catch up to my team mates. In some ways, that’s not even news. I’m used to being the last one in the pack. But then Kamiya-shisho turns around and comes back for me. “Up your gear! Another! Another! Don’t let up until you crest the hill. Out of the saddle, go!” The man drove me up the remaining 500 m of Otarumi pass like a cracker, whip in hand.  I was grateful, and I used the energy to dig out even more power and push just that much harder…

But then, cresting the hill and leading a hair raising chase down the other side, one in which I kept on my coach’s tail for half the descent, catching up to and dropping another member ahead of us along the way, my energy dissipated. I was in good spirits and I rode those instead of my bike. I got dropped again and this time I couldn’t catch up no matter how much I pushed.

The ride was over before I expected and I felt a sense of dissatisfaction lingering as we coasted back to the shop. It was then that my coach says to me, “you’ve certainly gotten faster, but you are giving up halfway up the hills.” What?! Where the hell did this come from? I live for Sundays, I train, rest, eat, recover, turn down invitations to go out drinking or partying, all so that come Sunday I can ride myself into the ground and this is what his impression of me is? I come out, rain or shine, hot or cold, and I chase boys and get dropped and catch up and get dropped again and again and I never complain and always keep going and he thinks I’m half-assing it up the hills?

After the first shock passed over me, I listen further to what he had to say and I realized he was right. I had become used to getting dropped. I had internalized “weakest in the pack” and had started riding like the weakest in the pack — always keeping at least a small reserve in case I don’t have enough juice to get home, only pushing most of the way up a hill as I wait for the inevitable breakaway of everyone else in the group.

There are times when the truth is really painful. I thought of myself as the girl with no talent who no one ever gave a chance to, but who will never lose to anyone in spirit and determination, and yet this is what Kamiya-san was saying I was not. If I have no fighting spirit, I have no chance.

But painful truths are better heard than hidden. He’s right, after all, and with this I can now face next week’s session with a fresh mind and a fresh attitude: regardless of if I get dropped or not, regardless of who crests first, I am going to ride myself into the ground. Period the fucking end.

Watch me! Imma do something wild!

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