I used the word perfect in the title of this post to describe this weekend for cycling. Technically I used the term loosely as it had more to do with my attitude than the weather. The important thing that was perfect as far as the weather was the lack of rain in this strange prelude to winter.
I’ve never been a fan of fall cycling through I’ve never passed on an opportunity to ride either. Cycling in sucky conditions beats being a couch jockey any day. My big problem, aside from the fact that I like riding in shorts and a short sleeved jersey, has always been the cold and the wind. Picking up an excellent windbreaker vest, an Assenmacher 100 Garneau model with a mesh back and three deep back pockets, made a huge difference. That vest changed how heavily I dress to ride, cut down on the bulk.
There’s another huge change that’s made this fall much more enjoyable than falls past… I’ve been cycling with my wife and friends a lot more. I’ve always viewed fitness as a solo thing. Even with the running club I ran with we were on our own after no more than three or four miles except in rare occasions. The last three years, with cycling, 80% of my rides were solo and because it took a while for me to get the technique, strategy and legs sorted out, I was always too busy trying to hang on for cycling to be a true social event. No longer. I have a solid bunch of friends that I ride with and we’re all quite evenly matched so, while we’re all working hard when we’re riding, I’m able to enjoy the social aspect now. Of course, being one of the horses of that group doesn’t hurt either.
Everything has come together so that cycling, even when it’s cold and windy, is fun, exciting and throughly enjoyable. All just in the name of getting and staying fit!
Now here’s where this gets cool: I’ve become a member of the local cycling community. Not because I have a nice bike but because I ride the bikes I do have hard and I do my fair share. I did not seek to be admired but to contribute. I simply kept showing up and doing the best I could to contribute to the group. Becoming a full-fledged “gotta have Jim on that ride” guy has taken two years of gutting up and not being a complainer or whiner.
And now that I’m in, it’s sexy baby.
Friday: 20 miles, solo.
Saturday: 35 miles with three of my cycling buds and my best friend (well, she hung on for 8 with us)
Sunday: 38 miles, just Mike, Phil and I.
Now I think I’ll get the 5200 ready for the winter and maybe take it for an easy spin because all of my house work is done. Life may be good. Cycling makes it better.
Solo rides are great and have their place, but during autumn/winter it’s hard to beat getting in the miles with a bunch of your best riding buddies sharing the work and shelter. Plus the hot coffee tastes so much better on those rides!
Indeed. Truer words have never been written.
Nice post – you sound like a happy man! In terms of autumn (fall) cycling it’s well worth spending money on good kit built for the job I reckon. Last thing you want is to be layered up in all kinds of kit when one wise purchase means you can get out, stay warm and still look good. One of my regular cycling friends calls this ‘peacock time’, and likes to get dressed up in all kinds of cool kit (head bands, caps, Belgian booties, you name it). Having said that, the boy is more than just a peacock – he can SERIOUSLY ride and so gets away with it!
I am a happy fella – this has been my most enjoyable fall ever…
Kind of funny how a little speed takes care of the peacock thing, eh?
As in life…if you’re good, you can get away with all-sorts