Yesterday was one of those days. It seems like I am just one step behind in almost everything. Still, I wanted to get on the bicycle and by 5:30 p.m. I was spinning out of my drive. There was no real plan… other than not to push it.
My legs have been feeling heavy lately. I don’t know how else to explain it. There just isn’t any snap in them. When I go to put out any sustained effort I feel like I’m having to work extra to lift one leg and then the other. There isn’t the feeling of pushing up a hill. It is more a feeling of dragging myself over the top.
This must have something to do with fatigue. Not that I feel tired. I don’t. It is just that my muscles aren’t currently keeping up with my cardiorespritory fitness. This happens sometimes when you have been putting out efforts. The work with your legs have helped build your breathing and heart rate. Often you find that then your legs rest and you come back stronger and before long the pendulum swings back the other way and you have all kinds of power in your legs, but not the stamina to keep up with them. It is an ever increasing stair step progress.
So, I figured what my body needed was an easy higher cadence spin. Climbing a big hill was not on the agenda. I decided to ride out of Greenville on Old Buncombe Road and then skirt along the base of the Paris Mountain back to home. It would avoid any major climbs, but would also send me through some pretty scenery.
My mood was melancholy. It matched the feeling of my legs. I spun along thinking through the various things I was needing to accomplish. The various challenges of day-to-day life were creating a puzzle in my mind. I wasn’t thinking of what I was doing on the bicycle at all.
Before long I noticed my cadence was picking up and so was the power. My thoughts must have been finding their ways down to my legs and I was trying to solve the puzzle with each pedal stroke. Realizing this I backed off and shifted back to my small ring.
Then the beauty of the day began to affect me. My melancholy mood became more sanguine. My legs followed… still there was no snap in them, but they felt less heavy. They were, well, feeling a bit more relaxed and happy.
It was then that I came upon the one power section along the route. It is named as a segment in Strava as the “Dreamland Climb.” It is a little punch of a climb averaging 7.6 percent over a short .2 mile. Of course, the average doesn’t give you the full story as there are several sections that exceed 16 percent.
I hit it about mid-cog in the big ring and felt I was starting to spin out in the flatter section and then felt the resistance as I then swung up in the higher grades toward the end. By the time I reached the top, I felt I was dragging the bike over the top. My legs reminded me that the snap wasn’t back.
Still, I spun my way home with a faint smile on my face. Even without snap in my legs, I had I found joy along the route. Not every ride has be a record breaking effort. Not every KOM has to be won. Often winning is coming home better ready to face what is before you because you let the pedals help solve the puzzles in your mind… you may even find that the puzzles themselves disappear.