Monday, January 25, 2010

42 and holding strong

Finally, Mother Nature, obviously reacting to her own guilt for the New Year starting off on the wrong FROZEN foot, offered an olive branch on Saturday….mild mid 50-degree temperatures. The sun was NOT part of this attempted peace treaty but plenty of low hanging clouds and light breeze made for a comfortable afternoon. I found myself completely tickled pink with a overshadowing of giddiness. I accepted this substandard attempt to lure me out on the bike with open arms and anxious legs. In my weather haze, I almost found myself forgiving Mother Nature understanding that winter is a part of a quad-seasonal package.

Until now, my winter rides have been frosty lessons in general human suffering. I was lucky to last 16-22 miles and normally found myself planted in my warm leather driver’s seat as soon as I possibly could get off the bike. The necessity for exercise, the desire for continued strength, and the need to keep the legs spinning has been the driving force to endure sub zero temps, cloudy, grey days and blistering windy hill descents. Saturday, was a rare and much appreciated treat that even without sun, anyone could appreciate.

The taunting and teasing of the approaching spring was amplified throughout Saturday. I stood outside briefly on Saturday morning to conclude that my long riding tights would remain hanging on a towel rack while the shorts were pulled out. I tried to ignore my ultra-white, semi-translucent legs but had there been a power outage, I believe my calves could have lit up the room with their iridescent glow. There was no need for the hot embrocation….the warm sufficed and it was nice to not have my ankles burning from the edge of my socks activating the lava-like lotion. Meanwhile, the ride took on a life of its own.

First, my legs warmed up fast…unlike cold rides where sometimes 12 or more miles are required to truly “warm” the legs up (if ever). In this case, I was warm 5 miles in. Second, my ride was flawless. The bike performed seamlessly…I was able to practice cornering techniques and get in some quality hill work. Third, there was little or no physical discomfort. I did not have to worry about freezing snot on my upper lip, my toes turning light blue, or my nose morphing into a bright red dot on my face (all of the above have occurred). If my body and schedule could have handled it, I would have ridden all day. Instead, I settled for a generous portion of the afternoon and I folded 42-miles under my belt—the longest ride of the year so far and one of the best.

I was prepared for body ache, pain, and general discomfort. However, I will note that the discomfort was at best, “mild” and the only real soreness was due to the lack of chamois butter applied to the “gentle” areas. I ignored my own rules of slathering, spackling, and globbing the emollient into all appropriate areas, therefore resulting in a John Wayne swagger up some deck stairs later that evening. I spent hours after going over the ride in my head, correcting things I would like to work on and imagining the next ride…the next good ride.

Note, today there are snowflakes landing on my windshield…

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