Back Up

Out on the machine again today for the first real ride in a month except for some erratic and not very intensive courier action.

Like many on the east coast this winter my fitness has been on lockdown. During the storm weeks I haven’t made any strides toward a wind trainer or a gym. My exercise has consisted of massive shoveling, sit ups and push ups and barn carpentry projects, as well as idling/rest and a steady mantra of, ‘fitness will still come, it always does/real conditioning will just come later this year’.

The roads in Lost River are remarkably well plowed. Long back-woods stretches are basically clear. The county and the state have been out in full force and farmers with their own rigs fill in the gaps.

It was warm enough to ride but not too warm for a big melt so surfaces were dry. We had a fresh two inches last Sunday that made it look even cleaner and newer. Long narrow blacktop strips through bright white rolling meadows. A bike pathway with four foot high plowed borders. A nice effect and diversion for the generally hurtful first roll out.

I was glad to be solo and not at the mercy of a group or other pressing jousting athletic rivals. Basic RTR stats: 57 miles; 6200 feet; 4 hours and 22 minutes.

Just trying to get a feel for the road and the bike. Get back into a groove. The hardest part was the very first climb. Not even a climb. A little hill after the three quarter mile dirt road (that was snow and mud today) descent from the house driveway. Later in the ride I rode past the barn ascending from the steep back side. I saw 23 percent on the Garmin for today’s high.

Anyway, it is kind of striking how hard it can feel at the onset as well as potentially discouraging. You know, four cold hours to go and I’m creeping and struggling up this slight incline, but that is the (off) rhythm part. It really had little to do with fitness. My body was just out of sync and it took some miles to dial it in. That is some of the reason why I maybe avoid the stationary. The motion just can’t be duplicated. The way it all works: climbing, standing, breathing, shifting and maneuvering. Once fluidity is regained the oxygen can make its way to the muscles and the efforts aren’t quite as daunting.

This takes into account that my ‘efforts’ were minimal beyond responding to the natural forces of five and six mile up hills. No stops. Just trying to keep it steady and give the body a preface for future weekends.

All in all a good day on the bike. Despite the big anchor the snow has thrown us this season I was seriously digging it today. Maybe being out of the city and encountering it clean and undisturbed. A route I have done many times was framed a new. The blues, reds and greens looked sharper and stood out. A random door on an old shed suddenly had an identity and a slanting red building in the distance appeared lit up.

I avoided any black ice and made it back to the start point. Now I can walk down stairs and feel that distinct knee pain that reminds me how great it is to be a cyclist!

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