Keep Calm – and look at a map

Apparently I’m a descendant of the Fugawi tribe.  You know – that famous nomadic tribe that wanders around and finds themselves constantly asking, “Where the Fugawi?”   A little known fact regarding my navigational deficiencies is that, in spite of all this self awareness,  I will look at a set of directions, think “oh yea – I know the way” and then take off without benefit of carrying the directions with me. A smartphone helps but it does annoying things like tell me to go East or West when us Fugawis  only speak Left and Right. And so it is that I am often lost and in a panic and humming Stevie Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” in my head (generally sung by Eric Clapton but sometimes I go for the Blind Faith version)

The group ride this Saturday was from Danville to Pinole to go to the Bear Claw Bakery in honor of a friend’s birthday.  I loves me some uber fattening pastries but almost never eat them so I was very excited about this ride because it was long enough and hard enough to justify the calories. Yum!



I’m not a very fast rider and many of the people I ride with are, so we tend to break up into an A group and B group and some days I have a hard time hanging on to the B group. This was one of those days. All went well for the first 10 miles or so and then, going up a hill, I fell off the back but didn’t worry too much about it because I fully expected that once I got over the top I would see the other riders and they would wait for me at the next turn.  I was no more than a minute behind them.  Sadly,  I was wrong! and when I crested the hill and started my descent I never saw anyone and no one was at the bottom of the hill waiting.

No problem. I knew the way so I hung a left and rode on. And then it started – the moments of doubt; the moments of questioning where I was   and what I was seeing around me (Fugawi!) and so I stopped and called the ride leader who is quite skilled at answering her phone while riding. She assured me I was going the right way so on I went.

After some time I thought I would turn around and head back because I was alone and I’d left the dog in the house and it just seemed like a good idea so I called again and Carrie said no – keep coming. So I did – I rode some more. And after another while I thought about turning back again because I was pretty sure I’d never get there so I called again and Carrie said, “no – you’re almost there so keep coming.”  So I did. I kept going but I kept being sure I was in the wrong place. In fact I was sure I was in the wrong town like I had magically traversed a distance and put myself on the wrong end of the county.

I found the road she told me to take, asked another cyclist if going left was the way to Pinole and he confirmed so on I went. And then I ran out of road and the real panic set in. I called again and Carrie said “use your Google maps and you’ll find the way”. Did I do that? Oh no – as a Fugawi  I prefer a good stiff panic attack so I turned around, still convinced I was in the wrong town, and headed back the way I had come, up a giant hill. And then I stopped to look at the phone and saw I had  gotten a call from another rider so I called him and, in my state of panic and exhaustion,  swore and moaned and gnashed my teeth and he told me to just look at the map so  I finally did and lo and behold – I’d been in the right place all along.  I was not in the wrong town, I was not at the wrong end of the county and  and I had been very close to going to right way before I foolishly turned around and headed up that hill.  Too bad the road momentarily changes its name from San Pablo Ave. to Parker Rd.   Had I known that I would have been 100 Euromutt and 0% Fugawi.   And so I turned around and rode to the bakery and, at long last, I made it!

Much to his credit, my friend Harold waited a long time for me. Another guy who had intentionally gone a different route was also there and so after I chowed down on half a bear claw (these things are HUGE!) we took off.

I was shot. I was slow. Harold and Kevin waited for me over and over and over again even though I told them to go on but, as Harold said, “it’s a beautiful day to suffer” and it was. I suffered for being exhausted and he suffered waiting for me and between us we had a pretty good time.   4 hours and 45 minutes after I left my house, I got back home.

I told my coach about this and she said, “You have to work on this. This is what you do. You decide you’re in the wrong place or you can’t get there and you panic. You have to find a better way” So that’s my current task – finding a better way when I feel lost and Fugawi’d  or defeated (refer to quitting Ironman Canada in an earlier post – bad decision… very, very bad decision).

Meanwhile, I think I’ll indulge in another round of Can’t Find My Way Home. Care to come with? It’s okay to get lost in the music.

This entry was posted in community, Cycling, Ironman. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Keep Calm – and look at a map

  1. Petra says:

    I think the Fugawi tribe is a good tribe to belong to. As to your coach’s comments – probably the right thing to think about. Do you feel you should not have quit Ironman Canada? I spend a lot of time worrying about cutoffs / failures / being slow so I can relate. The other day I ended a swim workout prematurely because the person in the lane next to me was so fast that I thought “what the hell is the point in my floating potato style swimming when this is possible”. Which is kind of stupid, I know. And my coach told me as well. I need to learn to handle being slow. Not easy though is it? Shame you live so far away it would be good to ride together. I have the sense of direction of a homing pigeon (my husband’s words) so I could be of use. And I would love a bearclaw.

  2. Carrie says:

    So many metaphors for life- how many times we veer off course only to find our way back. It’s like this talk I heard on relationships and auto-pilots. Planes are constantly veering off course and auto-pilot brings them back. It’s not about veering, it’s how long it take you to recognize you’ve gone off course and how quickly you get back on course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s