I totally failed on getting any pictures of Frank's and my trip to Barry-Roubaix. It was just so freaking cold, I never wanted to take my gloves off for pictures. At one point I joked about taking a "post-winter dirty-snow hellscape selfie", due to the giant piles of dirty snow that still lingered everywhere, but we didn't. In the end, this year's Barry-Roubaix was completely different and yet very much the same as last year.
Much like last year, I really only signed up to hang out with friends and as something to do with my post-Death March fitness (which this year turned out to be not very much). Also much like last year, when I signed up I had a vague idea that a major life shake-up was coming, but had no idea it would come more quickly than imagined and coincide with the race such that the last thing I wanted to do was drive to Michigan and ride bikes in the cold with so much worry on my mind. So once again I went even though I didn't really want to at the time, and after it was over, was glad I did.
The morning started off badly with a mad scramble to get there in time to pick up our numbers, although once that happened, we had an hour and a half to wait around until the start. During this time, I discovered that I hadn't brought a sports bra, which occasionally happens when I'm packing in an unenthused state, due to the fact that my sports bras live in a different drawer than the rest of my cycling clothing. Then I dropped my sunglasses in the toilet when I went for my final pre-race bathroom stop. The saving grace of this was that we were parked at the public library, so I was using a relatively clean indoor toilet compared those closer to the starting line. By the time I was ousted from the warm car for a brief orientation ride around the start area that quickly ended with me camping out in a warm coffee shop until five minutes before the start, I had managed to shed a few tears about how badly I didn't want to be there.
Luckily Frank handled it with his usual calm and grace and got me to the starting line on time. For a few miles I was stuck in the feeling of not wanting to be there, which was then compounded by beating myself up for both letting the bad attitude slip in and moreover letting it spill out and become visible to others. My turning point came to when I told Frank that I wanted to just do the 36 mile route, even though we were signed up for the 62. At the time we were DFL in the wave, which was the last of the day, and we were on pace for over 5.5 hours of lonely, cold riding. We eventually caught and passed a couple of 62-mile riders, but once our ride was cut down to what equated to a good workout at my current fitness level instead of an all-day torture session, I felt much better about things. I did struggle with a few more miles of worrying that Frank would be disappointed in me for not doing to whole thing, but I knew that any disappointment he felt would be tempered with relief for not having to ride that long, either.
By the end we were happy and chatty again, and we finished in time eat with my friend Isabel and her family. I think my real problem was mostly just not wanting to spend all day on the bike and finish too late to see or talk to anyone after, so once things were more manageable, I was happier. I know that I *can* ride 62 miles, but there simply was no benefit in it for me that day.
So now we are back in Bloomington with less than two weeks until my departure for Pennsylvania. We have our own house lined up for May 1, so the actual furniture move is still six weeks out. I have a subletter lined up for June and July, so at least I get a couple months' relief from double rent. Now I'm just going through all of my mental checklists about what needs to be packed up when, what needs to make it in into the car for the first trip to PA in April, what sources of income will be received when and into which bank account they should go, etc. It's still pretty exhausting, but we're getting closer to settled every day. I can't wait to get there and get started working at my new job, riding the Rothrock gnar, and just living everyday life with Frank instead of driving back and forth all of the time.