I rode with Mrs. Bgddy last evening. Just an easy jaunt around the block, and oh my, was it fun. We laughed, raced for a few City Limits signs, and generally talked about stuff.
I was about 🤏 that close to taking the 5200 out but it was sunny and fair at 55° with barely a breeze. I had to take the Venge for one last hurrah. I’m not going to kid myself here, the days left this year that I’ll be willing to take the Venge out are numbered. Even if it’s sunny and dry enough, the Venge is a 45° and rising bike (7 C) because anything below that and I need toe or foot covers to withstand the cold, and that means I have to take the Trek because the short axle on the Venge’s pedals won’t allow for foot covers. There are worse problems to have. Add to that, the upcoming time change and weekday rides in the sun are out – and the aero drop bar on the Venge won’t allow for a light mount…
So there we were, rolling along my usual route in perfect tranquility, slow and steady after Tuesday night’s hammerfest… I’m on my race bike, cruising at 16-mph with my wife, thinking back over this most peculiar cycling season.
After thinking I’d struggle to hit my 6,000 mile outdoor goal in March, I blew by it more than a month ago. I’m currently sitting on 7,300 and change. I’ve been fortunate enough to make some excellent upgrades to my road bikes – lightweight carbon fiber wheelsets for both bikes, new pedals for both bikes, a much needed new saddle for the Venge… new chainrings on the Venge to make it a 50/34 like the Trek. It’s been a great year for the bikes I’ve got.
The speed has been surprising this year as well. I’ve broken all but my previous longer distance speed records (50 km, 50-mile, 100km and 100-mile, all from the same ride in 2013), including my best hour distance of 24.4 miles (39 km & change) on my 50th birthday.
My weight is excellent as well. I’m probably a few pounds heavier than I’d prefer, but I’m right where my wife and doctor like me. I’m no mountain goat, but I’m not chubby by any means, either. The weight was a real wildcard for me this year. I really have to learn how to control my eating over the winter so I don’t have to go into the spring feeling like the blob.
In the end, the best part of the cycling year was riding with friends. While everyone else has been limiting contact, our tight-knit group, for the most part, didn’t miss much of a beat. We didn’t have any sanctioned or supported events, but we managed without just fine. While everyone else has been shut down to most contact outside their immediate family, other than April when we were all riding solo, we’ve had fantastic group rides all season long. Sure, there were those who thought it inappropriate – such as the sad folk who would drive around their convertible with a mask on, or walk alone outdoors, 100’s of feet from another human with a mask on – but those (scientifically challenged) few simply stayed away. Not one case was spread among us, and we were still able to enjoy that all-important friendly human connection that many of us need to be happy, even if there was no physical contact in the form of actual hi-five’s or handshakes.
In many ways, because I relied so much on my wife and cycling friends to stay grounded, this cycling season was better than most. Cycling didn’t just keep me fit, healthy and happy, it filled a hole that the virus stole from most, and for that I am grateful.