Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, What a Day

Heaving myself out of bed yesterday morning, I was filled with neutralness.  It could have gone one way or the other, but thankfully I saw this as I walked to the kitchen:

The sun was just punching up over the horizon, and it made me smile.  

The morning didn't really get rockin' until after I resolved to get out on the bike for a ride.  That required a proper breakfast [ham and eggs with toast FTW], a trip to Safeway [$47 for cat food - WTF!] and a bike check.  I didn't feel like dragging out the Cervelo, so I got the Lightning down off the hook:
Pumped up the tires and it was good to go.  

An aside: I really like it when things just work.  This bike is a great example of that.  There is very little to go wrong, and therefore maintenance is a breeze, or in my case, simply not done.  Other than air in the tires, I just throw a leg over and ride away.

After figuring out that it was too warm for the winter jacket [+12C!!!!!], I threw on bibs, shants and merino under my 7-11 jersey, stuffed my pockets with provisions and set out.  As usual, the wind picked up just as I left the house.  Lots of gravel on the way out to the highway, but I roll 25C tires so I had no worries.  ;-)  Traffic was not too bad, and I made it to Westside King's unscathed.  2.5 weeks without a decent ride had taken its toll, but I felt pretty good.  The sun was blazing away, the snow was melting fast and I was outside riding my bike.  [contented sigh]

Rolling out onto Hwy 8, I felt the true strength of the wind in my face.  It's always headwinds and hills around here, but every spring I'm surprised at what a bit of air can do to my forward progress.  I actually checked to make sure that I didn't have a flat and that my pads weren't rubbing...  No, I was just that slow.  Cresting what I've come to know as "Calf Cramp Hill", I was struck by the sky, the road and the distant mountains.
I was further struck by road grit pummeling my shins as I stood taking the picture.  A wee breeze indeed...  

Back on the bike, my legs were starting to burn pretty good, and my brain started to turn off.  I had a pop song in my head that wouldn't go away, so I was set.  In the picture above, you don't see any trees, shrubbery, etc. blocking the wind.  You also don't see that it's a false flat, gradually rising all the way to the intersection with Hwy 22.  Awesome.  I don't really remember much about that part of the ride; I think I managed a cadence of 60 rpm or so, likely less.  I recall that my vastus medialis and rectus femoris were on fire most of the way, and that I had to get out of the saddle and hammer from time to time when the gusts came.

By the time I got to the turnaround point, dried sweat traced a line from my temples back to my ears, my arms and back ached and it was wonderful.  Wonderful.  

Heading home with the wind at my back, I might as well have been on a different ride.  I kept spinning out, which means hitting 45-50 km/h in the Lightning's 48x16 gear.  I coasted until I could feel the wind on my back, pedaled for 10 seconds so that I was in still air again and resumed coasting.  It wasn't until I crossed the Elbow River and climbed the last hill that I felt the rush of lactic acid in my quads.  Crossing the snowy soccer field east of 69th, sprinting past Westhills and cruising home on 26th, I felt great.  In pain, but great.  I'm a shadow of what I was last year at this time, but that's fine.  It's all good.

The rest of the day was spent on Twitter, tidying things a bit, making a pizza for dinner, enjoying a couple of Velvet Fogs with my wife, catching up on 30 Rock and reading a bit before blessed sleep came to claim me.  Great day.


timmyhto said...

sounds like an awesome ride. i miss those roads.

Pink Robe said...

I'm not sure I believe you, Mr. Above-Zero-All-Year-Long! :-D