I have a few things going on this year.
Recovery is the easy part. It’s a daily reprieve, baby. Work is work, it’s still there. My relationship with my wife is freaking awesome, and with my kids is equally good.
As fitness goes, I don’t even know how I’m doing as well as I am. I’m well beyond 50 mile shape already. The distance is feeling a little short. 40 miles is almost too short while 50 is feeling like a workout but once we hit 35 miles I’m having to concentrate on not feeling a little down that we don’t even have an hour left. I feel phenomenal, even at 46 days without a day off. Better, I’m having so much fun I can hardly contain myself.
Saturday was our first real “shorts (bibs) and short sleeve” day of the year. Leaving at 11 am (to allow roads to dry out) we did have some fairly extreme wind to deal with, gusting at times to better than 25 mph and sustained winds from 15-20 mph. Even with the wind, it was warm, topping almost 75 degrees. I realize for those in warmer climates, this is almost cause to pull out the spring jackets but for us northerners, it’s time to subject that pasty skin to some rays. I had a smile stretched across my face the entire 43 miles. I did mess up a bit though. I only took one water bottle with me. It wasn’t enough so I ended up trying to play “hydration catch-up” for the rest of the day.
Sunday was a little cooler but shorts (bibs) and short sleeves were still reasonable and comfortable. I was a little tired for the start but felt better as the ride progressed. The wind pounded our group again but we just dealt with it. We did our time into the wind and then let it push us home. My best fitness surprise of 2017 came over the last ten miles of Sunday’s ride. I had been up front for a mile of crosswind when we turned to head east, with a 20+ mph tailwind. I took a minute to let the group catch up and, on carefully checking over my shoulder that everyone was there, started to turn up the heat. I took it to 25 and that was a little easy. Another gear and 27. I could see a Genesee County Line sign ahead so I really put the hammer down coming down a small hill that would barely register as a “grade”… 37-1/2. Interestingly, I found out that one can still smile while pushing one’s bike beyond 35 mph.
My buddy, Mike came up for a mile-long turn up front and as we entered Durand I put the hammer down again and took that sign at 35 mph (dead flat). Rather than drop back after everyone caught up, I stayed up front. 24 mph, 25, 26… And that’s when the howling protests from the back started, asking me to cool it a little bit. I took it back to 23.5 and kept it there. I took it all the way home, more than ten miles, only giving up the front for two miles all the way home. I felt awesome all the way to my driveway – although Sunday’s nap was a fairly deep sleep and I needed it.
The point, however, is that last winter’s hard work on the
hamster wheel trainer panned out better than I ever could have hoped. 2017 has started out even better than last year and I’m happy each morning I wake up to have another day on the right side of the grass, pumping air.