Yesterday we pedaled the loop around town. I was riding behind The Yankee and watching her work down into the drops as she got into a hill. I pass her on the climbs, trying my hardest to make it look nonchalant when really my lungs are falling out of my feet. She usually catches me later and all will be grand.
Until, about halfway through, her front derailleur failed. I was caught by a red light and she wasn’t behind me. So I waited through the cycle and still no bicycle. Another turn of the lights and finally she topped the hill. She’d been in her worst gearset for two hills because a rivet popped out and forced her into the wrong chainring. We tinkered with it under a brilliant sky and earnest sun and finally pedaled the rest of the way slowly. As in, this is easy and I have good legs and could take on the world, slowly. I topped one of the larger hills in my biggest gear at this pace and didn’t even feel it. Great legs!
So, today, with her bike in the shop and a cold coming on, she stayed inside and I decided to ride the loop again. If I did it comfortably and easily yesterday, I figured, this will be great to do it at pace.
Only it didn’t work that way. It was warm. My legs weren’t good. I hadn’t eaten enough. I was a bit tired. And my mind was busy making excuses for what was going on. I found some shade at a vacant grocery store:
It is funny, but I’ve noticed that the days that feel the worst — I could complain about the heat and how I feel and all that — allow me to look at the computer and find a new personal best for that route.
Even progress is humbling.
Also, I need to get back into the long rides. The ones I really want to do, the ones in my Map My Ride account are a lot longer than around town. I mapped out a route that would let me hit Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, three states in an afternoon. I just found another one for the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails, which cover Georgia and Alabama and is the longest paved trail in the country. Somewhere out there is the big one, the state tour. Sitting in the shade of a dead Kroger isn’t going to make any of those happen.
So I did a few more miles and marveled at the heat and the various ways I feel on the bicycle right now.
Yesterday we went to James Brothers and Danny asked how my recovery was going. Right after I crashed they were all very concerned, which is nice. The answer, though, depends on when you ask. At that moment I felt great. As I write this … well, I’ve felt better. Nothing a 400-mile week wouldn’t cure, I’m sure.
But these things are what they are. He’s bouncing back from some difficulties that have hampered his training. We talked of triathlons and marathons and various things. I’m hanging out with people who say things like “I can run 10 miles, but I can’t run 12 because … ” and wonder what I’m doing in that conversation.
So naturally tonight we had a healthy dinner and I treated myself to the foam roller. Later I had ice cream.
There’s not a lot to this, because today was today. Tomorrow will be full of errands, however, and so that’ll be something to write about. Just you wait and see.