Anyone fortunate enough to have spent some decent miles on a bike spinning just below their butter zone knows what that first solo “no jacket” ride of the year feels like. It’s the ride where you assess over the course of an hour or so, exactly how productive your winter was.
The cyclist’s euphoria is beautiful too (if you don’t experience this when you ride, and it is palpable, you’re probably not trying hard enough – pedal harder, it’s awesome). Perhaps I don’t try hard enough on the trainer but I’ve never experienced that same relief after an indoor session, that overwhelming sense that while the world may be a screwed up mess, my little chunk of it is awesome…
I found an excellent excuse to leave the office a little early yesterday afternoon and changed clothes shortly after I got home. I was on the road by 2:30 and only had enough time for 20 miles because we had the girls’ swimming practices to get to… I was figuring I’d keep it easy, something like a 15 mph pace. I was thinking, decent ride yesterday, I’m playing hooky again tomorrow for a loooooonnnnngggg ride. I thought, “You know what Jim? You just don’t need to be fast today. Take an hour and fifteen minutes to get 20 miles in. Maybe even an hour and twenty”…
I walked out the door in arm wamers, a jersey, leg wamers and my Hammers’ bibs, and a gilet… and promptly shed gilet. Too warm for that.
Once on the road I looked for a manageable 17 mph on my computer (if you want a 15 mph average you have to ride at least 17). I found it and held it for all of 8.675 seconds and if you know me, you know what happened next… I hit the gas.
“Lazy is as lazy does, Forrest.”
I knew I had to leave some gas in the tank for today’s ride, but I’ve got DALMAC in what, six months? No time like the present to start training for back-to-back hard efforts, right?! All kidding aside, I figured I’d be happy with an easy 17.5 mph 20… So I switched my computer from average speed to current speed and just settled in to see where it shook out. I didn’t want to cheat by actually shooting for a target.
The wind wasn’t very bad at all and the sun was glorious. I had the thought pop into my consciousness at least a few times, “Oh, this is why riding a bike is so frickin’ awesome”.
I kept it reasonable the whole ride. I wasn’t pushing all that hard but I sure wasn’t watching the paint dry either….
I pulled into the driveway with just under an 18.4 average, one hour and three minutes after I left. For just under 20 miles. Now, considering I was on the slow bike and I was trying for a 17.5, that’s pretty damn skippy. Especially considering I only experienced one mile, that last mile (into the wind) where I was really working all that hard and had to convince myself to keep pushing for my driveway.
So here I sit (this was written last night) at my daughter’s practice, with a grin I can’t wipe off my face, ready for bed… and today’s ride will be even better. Hooky – WOOHOO!!!
God, I missed good weather.
.On another note, I haven’t even hit daylight yet and I’m already wishing I’d gone to the office… Don’t get me wrong, once I get out on the road I’ll be just fine but in the meantime, it’s been at least 20 years since I really enjoyed playing hooky from work – I can’t get over the fact that I should be doing something productive with my time. Thankfully this illness rarely transfers through to vacation…