Here’s my last week on the bike:
- Monday (last week): 20.5 miles at 17 mph (easy)
- Tuesday: Warm-up 7 miles (easy), Main 29 miles and change at 21.5 mph (hard)
- Wednesday: Off Rain/Travel
- Thursday: 84 miles with a bunch of climbing @ 17.7 mph (hard)
- Friday: 95 miles with a bunch of climbing @ 17.5 mph, ending in the rain (hard)
- Saturday: 46 miles with a bunch of climbing @ 17.7 mph (hard, but mercifully short) Top speed on the day: 49 mph.
- Sunday: 35 miles at 18.7 mph (moderate). I spent a bunch of time up front but the pace wasn’t all that bad. Still, my legs were absolutely smoked and I spent half the ride wishing I was back in bed.
So that brought me to Monday… yesterday. It was better than 92° outside (33 C) and exceptionally windy – nasty hot for Michigan and the wind made it feel like you were in a furnace duct. Not at the end of the duct, mind you… In the duct. I had a choice; ride or not.
I was so very tempted to stay in the air conditioned comfort of my home, but I suited up anyway. I know what happens if I take a day off just before the Tuesday night ride… it hurts worse than if I’d ridden hard the day before. I started out with a goal of around a 17 mph average. Any faster and it’s counterproductive. Much slower than that and I simply can’t stand going that slow.
I started off protected from the wind, heading north. After a mile of hot, but easy, spinning at around 18-19 mph I made a left turn to head west… and that’s when I got out from behind the protection of homes and trees. The full blast of the wind hit me dead in the face. I tried to ride in big ring but just couldn’t sustain it in the blast furnace. I shifted down to the baby ring and managed to spin at around 14-15 mph for two miles till I headed north again. After a loop around a subdivision and another mile north, I had a couple of more headed west before finally turning south, then east, for a little bit of a push.
Still, rather than do something silly and try to get a speeding ticket with the tailwind, I just concentrated on keeping a good cadence. I tinkered with my in-line adjuster to bring my rear derailleur back into adjustment after some cable stretch and headed for home.
Sweat started dripping from the bill of my cycling cap. The heat was oppressive, but bearable, and the pace was comfortable. I started to think about how lucky I was to be out riding. I thought about how thankful I was to be healthy and on the right side of the grass. I thought about how lucky I was to be riding one of a couple of spectacular bikes I’ve got… I swiped another bead of sweat off the bill of my cap… I thought about how lucky I was to just be in the moment, enjoying a Monday.
And before I knew it I was home. Smiling. 17.28 mph average.
Every once in a while, a day off of cycling is called for. More often than not, what I really need is an easy day on the bike. It does the legs, and the soul good.
Life is almost always better on two wheels.