First Outdoor Ride of the Year
Well, I sort of have a general biking rule that says I don't go out unless the thermometer reads 50 degrees. Running is a different story. Any temp is fair game, but since I don't have a lot of fancy bike gear (like gloves and ear protection for under my helmet, I reserve the right to refuse to ride outdoors.
Saturday was the long run of the week - a recovery, so only 11 miles. Yesterday the sun was shining, and the thermometer hit 51, a real heat wave around here, and a little seed was planted in my brain that said I should go out and test the roads. When my brother Matt called and asked if I wanted to ride, it sealed the deal.
Now Matt's a pretty solid guy. I like riding on flat roads with him because he's 5'10" and 220 pounds of solid muscle. He provides a great draft, and when he first started biking at the end of last summer, I could for the most part keep up with him. This year, I'm really going to have to work to keep up. Our conversations yesterday went something like this.
Matt: "So, um, yeah...I've just been setting my trainer on the highest resistance it will go this winter and just pushing as hard as I can."
Pharmie: "Wow, that's pretty good."
Internal Pharmie: Oh, sheesh, well, I've been to 1-2 spinning classes per week and have hopped on the trainer a couple of times... This could be interesting.
The plan was to go out for an hour or so just to enjoy the weather and get in a nice ride. A few miles into it, I knew it would be a little more than an easy Sunday on the bike. I was pushing HARD and still struggling to keep up.
Matt: "Hey, how ya feeling?"
Pharmie: "Oh, all right I guess. I think my legs are a little sore from the 11 miler yesterday."
Internal Phamie: Why does everyone get so much better than me? I used to be able to run with Steve, now he's winning 5Ks. Now Matt's blowing me out of the water.
The "out" portion of the trail is 3/4 uphill. It's one of those deceiving rides where you can't tell that you're going uphill until you turn around. We were also in a 10-15 MPH headwind. My speedometer wasn't working all day, so I had to ask Matt what our speed was.
Pharmie: "Hey, how fast are we going?"
Matt: "Oh, looks like just over 18."
Pharmie: "Well, that's not too bad!"
Internal Pharmie: No wonder I'm feeling like I'm going to die! Uphill? Against the wind? Sore legs from the run yesterday, and we're going 18 freaking miles per hour?
Matt: "So, um, do you feel like we're working here? 'Cause I gotta be honest with you. I'm not even really breaking a sweat."
Internal Pharmie: Uh Oh.
He waited for me at a couple of intersections, but for the most part, I just kept sucking wind and keeping up. We turned around somewhere between 11 and 12 miles in. The tailwind downhill return home was very welcome, and he either let up a little or there really was a huge difference between the out and back.
Matt: "Hey, my legs are finally starting to warm up. The beer and Jägermeister are finally working their way out of my system. Man my friends and I had fun last night. I think I was still a little drunk when I woke up this morning."
Pharmie: "Glad you're feeling better!"
Internal Pharmie: Holy crap! That ride out was your legs feeling BAD?!?!
Over all, it was a little chilly, but it was so fun to be riding outdoors again. I was covered in mud splatters by the time I got home, and it made me feel like a little kid. I have no idea how much of the ride yesterday was my legs being tired from the run the day before, how much was just lack of training over the winter, and how much was the fact that I was on my old bike instead of my new one. Since I am looking to build up my speed and endurance this year, though, I really do want to be able to keep up with Matt and Steve. I don't want to have to ride all by myself this summer, especially since there's no Ironman in my future, and I don't need to train myself to be lonely out there!
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