How life is like a Crit

Another year, not very many words. 

Another storm rolled over the Sierra Nevada range today, drenching the streets in rain. It's hard to believe that two days ago, I was bare-armed, sun tanned and racing a crit at twilight. This has been a strange season: four rounds of antibiotics for a sinus infection that just wouldn't go away, and my heart, something I thought spoke in the language of literature, went silent. 

For months, I became an observer of my own life; watching, waiting, becoming distant even from myself.  For people who claim oblivion isn't a place, oh it is. It is a place I went to for January, February, March and April. It is a place where there is no hope, where everyday feels like the second after a long, hard cry, where exhaustion seeps into your bones and you fall asleep on the commute to work, and on the way back home.

I didn't much like this; I searched (in vain) for ways to change.  I listened to books on my hour-long commute that I had read before. Back when I believed I was a writer. Back when I believed in myself. On those trips to and from work, I cried. I believe in nothing. The Little Prince who leaves his rose. Boo Raddley locked away in his house. Winston and Julia and Big Brother.  I cried for them all, those ruined lives.

And, I rode my bike because when the world doesn't 'make sense, I ride my bike. I rode my bike because I was so sick I could hardly walk but the bike stand/CompuTrainer would keep me upright even if I had no balance.  My muscles cramped in my sleep from nothing, but I rode my bike. On my third round of antibiotics that ruined my vision and balance, I remember attempting a walk around my neighborhood, and having to come home due to the spasms in my legs and tears I couldn't stop. It was probably the infection. 

The misery of confronting yourself, as you are:  I'm 35 and a mediocre, middle-aged woman. I envision a net meant to catch those of us who fail, and I slip through it. In these moments, I ride my bike. 

Around and around: criterium races follow a circular pattern. They remind me of a poem by Yeats called The Second Coming: 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer; 
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...

Around and around-- this was not my race and not my body with several more rounds of those atomic-chlorine blue pills to put in me I'm not healthy yet.  Yet, the wind in my face, and yet-- the sound of the bikes around me, like a swarm of bees. A turn, a break when someone sprints. My legs and lungs burn. We re-group. This might be happiness. 

My life is a cubicle. . My life is not what I thought it would be.

For 45 minutes, though, I can forget. My life, instead, is this.