Here we go again

Last night was wonderful. After getting off work, I argued with myself about getting on the bike. A meeting had gone long and I knew the beautiful redhead needed me at the house that evening. Maybe I needed another day off the bike after the rough Friday and Saturday. I’m glad the “get on the bike” side won.

When I got home my wife said, “You’re going out riding, right?” I replied, “Well, I’m home later than I planned. What works for your schedule?” She looked at the clock above the stove, “You’re going out for an hour? That would work perfect for me.”

So, after saying hello to the Things Three, I headed out on my bike. I could tell right away that it was going to be a good ride. Yes, I was a little sore after my efforts over the weekend, but I could even tell my legs LOOKED different. They were even starting to FEEL different. There was a little bit of the snap coming back.

It was like going back in time. Jim, my coach, hasn’t given me any training objectives yet. I’m just going out and trying to find my legs again while working through the stiffness in my neck and getting comfortable on the bike. I simply headed out to Cleveland Park to do laps just as I did back in the beginning of cycling days.

The 8 minutes or so it took me to get from my house to the park gave me time to loosen up a bit, so when I got onto the loop within the park I started to open up a bit… though slowly. I still wasn’t paying much attention to the computer. It was all about feeling the bike again.

On one lap about 25 minutes in I came upon two riders who were spaced out. I could tell they weren’t together. I went around the first and then came up on the second one just as we started the climb onto Woodland Way. I really wasn’t trying to drop him or anything. It was just that I had been pushing it a bit — though I admit that coming around him on a climb made me put out a tad bit more of an effort. 🙂 I launched up the grade and took a glance at the computer. I was climbing at over 600 watts! Ahhhhh, I was leaving that guy in the dust!

I crested the hill and then swooped down toward the doggie park. Suddenly the effort caught up with and at the same time, so did the rider I had passed earlier! He didn’t slow as we started to climb this more shallow grade. I put out an effort to get on his wheel. I found it harder to stay there. Later while looking at the data from my ride, I saw I was pegging 187 bpm during that period. Yeah, that would explain that feeling I had in my stomach!

Then we got separated at an intersection. I thought he was long gone until I reached the Woodland Way climb again. There I could see him just ahead of me on the climb. Once again I put out an effort and got up to his wheel before we reached the crest. However, this time he dropped me for good on the Woodland Circle climb. I let him go.

In the past, I would have kicked myself for not being able to stay with him. Here I was all duded up in my Low Cadence kit, shaved legs, and fancy bike. Yet, here was a guy who looked more like a recreational rider taking it to me. I didn’t kick myself. I laughed at the situation.

No doubt three months ago I would have been able to leave him in the dust. No doubt three months from now I will be able to do so again. Right now it is just kind of reinvigorating to go back to those early days when it was all new to me and every rider was a question mark. Also, just being on the bike is enough. I have nothing to prove.

On the other hand, it was an evening with my first feelings of that competitive urge. That too was a welcome feeling along with the new snap in my legs. In so many ways I am beginning again. This time I am going to take the opportunity to enjoy the journey even more.