Having been of the bike for almost a week, I headed out the door under a cloud for a "Bread and Butter Beals" ride. I had some concerns the night before about trying that on my 12-23 cassette, but forgot all about it on the day. I knew I could do it in my granny gear, but had wanted to change back into the 12-27. As it turned out, I didn't even think about it until the next day. The legs are getting stronger.
The weather has been very windy, or raining, or both, so it's been a challenge to get out at all with allergies. I kept running my check list, forgetting little things as I was getting dressed, putting lights back on the bike, airing up my tires, and making sure I had keys, helmet and glasses.
I expected to feel sluggish, but was standing and stomping hills within a mile or so. Not the strong hammering stomp, but low-cadence leg-stretching kind that keeps the pace up. It felt good. Familiar. Encouraging. Blissful. A nice break from the angst of looking for work, getting my ride smogged, wringing my hands about not getting enough exercise, and making ends meet. Oh, and being amped out of my head on too much coffee! :-O
It was a gift to have the wind at my back as I turned upstream on the ARPT for Beals. A nice way to work the legs back into their familiar rhythm, and a welcome sense that things were moving in my favor, literally. It was a bit late in the day, so I made a mental note to cut my rest short when at Beals, but mostly I just kept the pace up and enjoyed the speed as familiar scenery greeted me at every turn - although the tall green grass and abundance of flowers is just amazing this year.
It wasn't until 30 minutes into the ride that my low back loosened up enough to start using the aerobars - too much time off the bike I think. The bottom part of Beals I did with my hands on the tops of the bars - a position I never use, but am liking now for climbing with the seat more forward. With more wind and a steeper grade at the top, I climbed in the drops - a position I use even less. Always amazed how time off the bike induces these kinds of changes.
I had a nice conversation with a woman who's son was participating in the TBF (total body fitness) tri event going on. They were swimming in the water of a brimming Lake Folsom, with water temps in the low 40's I'm sure. Even as we wrapped up our chat, a dark, threatening storm front moved in and spattered us with raindrops. I topped up my now diluted Gatorade bottle, bit off a chunk of Powerbar and shoved off.
For whatever reason, the headwind I should have encountered waned, even as the storm closed in around me. I had decided against a windbreaker, and hoped that wouldn't prove a big mistake. One thing I have experimented with this year is riding colder - without much core protection especially - so I was concerned, but not panicked.
The flipped stem and lower waterbottle mount made for a noticeable reduction in wind drag, but even so I was very surprised when I got home and uploaded the Garmin data. My time was right at my PB time. I was cold and sneezing, so just jumped into a hot shower while the microwave worked on a big baked potato.
The next morning I could really feel the rust. My neck especially was sore, and I was generally fatigued, but up and raring to go. I'll have to put the Profile Designs bottle rack back on my seatpost as the weather is warming again - FINALLY.
It's a beautiful day today. I'm enjoying a delicious cup of coffee and marveling at how many different kinds of birds are feasting on the cherry tree outside my window. Time for another ride to test out my new Novarra gel shorts. $22 bucks with my REI dividend check and a 20% discount. The best shorts going, and at less than half price. :D
4 months ago