Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fun on 2 wheels

Photo of my trusty steed by Sue Cadman (this is actually her bike too!)
For most Canadians the start of summer comes with the May 2-4 weekend.  For me, it comes with the start of The Tour.  I know, I know, we've "officially" been in the summer season for about a week and a half by the time the Tour starts.    There is something about the 3 week long suffer fest that screams SUMMER'S HERE to me.  Maybe it's the brightly coloured jerseys.  Maybe it's seeing the beautiful European countryside.  Maybe it's just the fact that they're cycling.  Cycling is one of the quintessentially summertime activities in my books.  Right up there with running through sprinklers, family BBQ's and road trips.   Granted I ride year round, but the majority of the year I'm on the trainer in the basement.  That's not really cycling, that's the running equivalent of a treadmill.   I'm not one of those die hards that will ride in the cold.  Unless of course I'm training for an Ironman.  As soon as the weather gets warmer (i.e I don't need a jacket) I'll venture outside.  

This past Saturday was my first real training ride outside the city in almost 3 years.  We drove up to Lake Wilcox in Richmond Hill and did a very easy ride through the country side.  It wasn't the nicest day out (it was overcast) but it was warm.   I watched the sun try to poke through the clouds with no avail.   Oh well.  At least I wasn't going to get burnt.   I had done a hard-ish hour long run in the heat the day before so I wasn't sure what my legs would be capable of.  Our plan was to ride for 2 hours.   We were in easy terrain.   There were a couple of climbs, but nothing too tough.  I felt really good.  I made sure I brought some food (a sample sized cliff bar and a couple of gels) as well as fluids.   We motored along at a very easy pace.  My heart rate never got too high.  The whole point of getting out on my bike was to get comfortable on it again.  If I want to get faster, I need to get riding.  So this was the first step.  An hour and 15 minutes into the ride, my legs were sore.  And we had a grinder of climb to go up on the way back.    Awesome.

When the grinder started, I tucked in behind our friend John for a bit but I felt like I could go faster so when I had the opportunity to pass him I did.   Then the hurt started.  I had no one blocking the wind, and I was going uphill.  Wow.  I forgot how much cycling can hurt.   I don't think the run the day before helped any either.   But I kept turning the pedals.  Wishing I was off the bike.  Wishing I was sitting down.  Wishing I was anywhere but there.  As I crested the top of the hill and made my way towards the parking lot, the sun finally managed to come out to play.   The warmth on my arms and the breeze in my face erased the pain from a few minutes earlier.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I wondered where my 2 wheels would take me next weekend.

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