Every once in a while you read the perfect post, one that can change your outlook on a day instantly. Katharyne over at Fab Fitness wrote one that changed mine, entitled “What Makes YOU Happy“?
Please check it out, it’s excellent and inspiring.
I was all prepped for my big debut with the advanced club at Assenmacher’s yesterday evening. Bike, H2O, snack and anything else I could possibly need packed neatly in my transition bag and in the back of the Escape. I pulled into the shop about 20 minutes early and went in to wait for everyone else to show. After about five minutes, Matt completed his business and asked how the riding was going, to which I responded, “fabulously”… I was just there waiting on everybody to show up. That’s about the time he let the wind out of my sail by informing me that the ride didn’t actually start at the shop but 3 towns north and west of where I was. He gave me some quick directions and said I should be able to make it in the 15 minutes I had remaining and that there would probably be some stragglers that would wait for me to set up. I ran out the door, but stopped before I even hit the parking lot. I don’t show up late – and right on time in my world is late, so I did an about face and went back into the store to let him know I wasn’t going to try to make it, that I’d ride from home and make the ride in a couple of weeks. He gave me a map with the location of the meeting place marked and we talked for a few minutes about riding and his hopes of getting over a serious leg injury quickly so he can get back on his bike. With that, I headed home, a little dejected, but it was still early enough that I’d be able to get in a decent ride.
While driving home, I started to think about different possible routes that would keep me from the downtown roads because the last thing I wanted to do was battle traffic and the wind that would be in my face on the way back rather than out. I surprised myself and came up with a route a couple of miles longer than my normal 16 mile route that would keep me on rural roads, pulled in the driveway and commenced to getting ready. I clipped in just before 6:00 and proceeded to pound out one of my most satisfying rides since I started riding last spring. The weather was glorious, 82 degrees with a hazy sunshine so it was warm, but not hot and I was able to ditch the sunglasses for clear lenses. I’ll skip most of the technical stuff and simply say that I had as much fun as a man can have with his clothes on. I owned that ride – right on the edge for the entire 18.16 miles, I left nothing on the road and it was absolutely awesome. On the miles into the wind I was down in the drops, cranking away and I attacked every hill like it was the last one I’d ride. When I had the wind at my back I turned the big ring just as fast as my legs would take me… I had a grin on my face for the better part of that entire ride because I was entirely free. No worries, just me kicking the road’s @$$. I took a screen shot of my Endomondo workout to illustrate what I was referring to about attacking the hills. That’s 23 mph, with a cross wind on the way up… If you look just to the right of that, at the major elevation change, I slowed at first but jumped out of my saddle and pushed past the top – that was at 23/24 mph as well (though I did have the wind at my back for that one). The dips in speed, by the way, are all stop signs which probably cost me at least a minute or two in slowing down and speeding back up (I now have automatic pause, so I’m no longer fully penalized for having to stop, though it’s sensitive – I have to stay statue still or the time starts back up but it doesn’t show on the speed).
In the end, I completed 18.16 miles in 55.25 minutes which works out to an average speed of 19.66 mph and I couldn’t be happier with that. It’s amazing what making a proper decision did for my attitude – something I talked over with Matt when I was at the bike shop – with all of the pressure of the .5 IM off, I’ve got my love of the ride back and I’m absolutely digging it.
Finally, on my cool down mile I saw and unbelievable recumbent. Hand built in a garage, with the excellent tutelage of none other than our LBS owner, Matt Assenmacher – it was so cool I asked the owners if I could snap a picture real quick so I could post it here. The people who built it (pictured) wanted something that they could ride together, without having to be single file so they came up with this:
Note the small back wheel, that’s the steering and brake wheel, the handle sits between the two riders. If you look closely under the guy’s seat you can make out his derailleur – it’s a five speed.
Now that’s some kind of awesome.