The last day it rained too much to squeeze a ride in around here was June 10th.
I’ve put just shy of 1,500 miles since that day and, while I’ve had a few rough mornings waking up, I’m usually up and moving freely again within 10 or 15 minutes… and if I’m really in bad shape, a Tylenol and an Advil together will have me feeling like I’m 25 again in short order. Between my two road bikes and the tandem, there’s never a dull moment and I feel fortunate to be able to switch up bikes whenever I want – this way, there’s always something to tinker with. Last night was removing a spacer from under the handlebar of the Trek to see if I would ride a little lower comfortably. I’ll just say the jury is out after the first ride – I’m not going to toss the alloy spacer in the recycling bin just yet. At the beginning of the season I was simply too… erm… well, chunky. Too many winter dinners did me in. I’m down fifteen pounds at the moment, though, and the weight is coming off easily as long as I’m not stupid.
I’ve got two months to drop another nine pounds (nine is the hopeful version, I’d be satisfied with four), then I’ll see if I can’t be a little more intelligent about the winter. I don’t want to have to go through what I did this spring, staring at a number I don’t like on the scale. This year I’ve been faster on a bike than at any point since I started cycling – even with the weight and riding every day. Thankfully, our part of Michigan is mercifully flat!
The trick has been to take my active recovery rides. To thoroughly and embrace the slow days has been a difficult journey through the brain, but now that I’ve got it, I’m having more fun than should be legal. What I had to do was look at the slow days as building blocks for the fast days. I still have to mentally hold myself back and remind myself that every day doesn’t have to be a building day… and once I took the time to look around and enjoy the scenery I was missing because my head was always down trying to get the most of a ride, I began to enjoy those slow days.
And so it was yesterday evening. After a long week with four hard efforts (one trying unsuccessfully to outrun a thunderstorm), I could feel I needed an easy day. I picked Chuck up at his house and we tooled around town talking about the day’s events. We didn’t charge up one hill. We didn’t knuckle down one time. Just smooth, easy, fun miles.
This is the only way I know to ride every day, week after week. And now that I’ve figured out my place in how this all works, I get the exhilaration of the fast group while enjoying cycling like the slow group does every now and again.
It’s the best of both cycling worlds. Life is good.