Sometimes riding your bike is a labor. Other times it is as though you are floating in the air. This past weekend gave me an opportunity to experience both.
Friday I went out for the very first time on my new frame. That also meant it was the first time back on two wheels in about a week. While spinning through Cleveland Park, I decided to give my hip a try. I sprinted up the entrance on Woodland Way. It put me back in my seat real fast. The hip wasn’t ready for that kind of effort!
Saturday I rolled out of bed feeling pretty sore. I decided I would go on the Sunshine Cycle Shop ride. Thankfully, by the time I reached the shop, I was starting to loosen up a bit.
There was a very good group on hand. However, the ride took on a different feel than normal. We had riders leaving and joining us throughout the route. There wasn’t anything real eventful other than the snake that was in the middle of the road at one point.
The worse thing about the weekend (physically) was bowling with my family Saturday afternoon. My youngest wanted to bowl for this birthday. We ended up doing three games.
I couldn’t bowl traditionally. This first time I tried it, I dropped to the floor in pain. It took me a whole game to alter my approach and release. That first game I got beat by a 6 year-old. Thankfully, I worked things out by the last game so that I reestablished my dominance within the clan!
Sunday’s ride was much better. However, I got started on it right after a wonderful lunch at my in-laws. Dessert was a scratch pound cake swimming in lemon sauce. Yep, I ate it with a cup of coffee.
Rather than tearing it up, I decided to just go out and take some roads less traveled. My plan sent me through some sections of Greenville that I had not been through. I think everyone should do this in order for them to see all facets of our city. My heart went out to some of these folks.
Going this route through west Greenville put me out on Agnew Road. I’ve often heard of this street, but had never driven down it. I wound through several different streets like this until I came out at West Parker. This took me into more known territory and finally to one of my favorite roads – Old White Horse Road.
By this time, I had stopped feeling my pound cake. Climbing up Keller Mill Road was a pleasure. Then is was time for some more exploring as I took some unknown roads to cut back over to Old White Horse and then tried to work my way toward Paris Mountain that loomed in the near distance.
It was on one of those roads that I found that feeling. It is that feeling that comes when you completely forget about the bike. The bike really seems to be a part of you – as much as your legs are when you walk. You’re not thinking about the effort. You’re not thinking about the mechanics. You’re not thinking about steering. You just are.
The roads ended up leading me to Travelers Rest and the Swamp Rabbit trail. I hopped (no pun intended) on it and headed toward Paris Mountain. Going over would be my fastest way home.
Reaching the base I started up at a leisurely pace. However, I soon realized that this pace was not really that slow. By the time I reached the mid point of the climb, I was only 15 seconds over 6 minutes. Plus, I was feeling pretty good.
You guessed it. I picked up the pace just a bit. I figured if I was feeling this good at this point, maybe I could make up that 15 seconds and get a good finishing time. I wouldn’t say I was putting out more than 85%, but I was giving it a decent attempt.
I reached the yellow turn sign that I use as my The Wall marker at 11 minutes and 30 seconds. I stood and attacked the climb. That lasted for about 15 seconds and then the body just shut down. I went from sprinting to sucking wind in those few seconds. The pound cake was reminding me that he was still around.
I’m not exaggerating. I reached the top in 13 minutes and 15 seconds! That, my friends, is called bonking!
Still, it was a great ride. My attempt up Altamont wasn’t something I planning for. What I wanted was a good ride out in the country without pain in my hip. I got that and then some.
After training and racing, it does a body and mind good just to go out exploring. You never know what incredible road you might find out there. I’m certain you’ll always find a good time. Just watch out for the pound cake!