Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free to Ride

I woke up at 6:40 am. I didn’t want to wake up at 6:40 am, but there it was whether I wanted it or not. So, what do you do on your day off when you wake up way early and can’t get back to sleep? You get up and go for a ride, of course. I picked out a nice forty mile route full of hills, and I was actually looking forward to it for some strange reason. Glutton for punishment, I guess..

When I hit the road, my legs did not actually feel very good. I rode through my neighborhood, which includes a couple of leisurely hills. I blamed my poor legs on the wind (and on the fact that my legs are just poor) and then, as I got out of the neighborhood I happened to look down and ask this rather pertinent question: “What the heck am I doing riding in such a high gear?” Huh. It turns out my legs were better than I thought, but my brain was apparently not so good. Perhaps it was still asleep.

Actually, I ended up feeling really good, wind or no wind (and there was definitely wind) and I was largely able to keep my pace up where I wanted it, though there did come a point about thirty miles in, when it began to occur to me that some people have the gift of pushing themselves even when they ride alone, and some don’t. It’s easier for me to push myself if someone else is going hard and I’m trying to keep up with them, but I was determined to keep the pace up today, and I did it.

I encountered various things on this ride: Yard sales. Lots of yard sales, some of them even in yards, and some of them in parking lots, making them, I suppose, parking lot sales. I even saw a sign that said, “Free Yard Sale. Everything must go.” Free yard sale? I didn’t even try to figure that one out.

I did notice that most of these yard sales featured a variety of bicycles. Where do these bicycles come from and why aren’t people riding them?

I came perilously close to encountering an eighteen wheeler that was apparently driven by a man who didn’t know the meaning of that double yellow line down the middle of the road.

I encountered a couple of loose dogs, but they were relatively polite, chasing but not barking, chasing but never coming into the street. The two dogs who chased me last time weren’t ready for me. They didn’t see me until I was past their yard, and I was moving well, so they barked but didn’t bother to chase much.

I encountered another cyclist coming toward me. It always makes me happy to see other cyclists out riding the roads, and I always wondered if it was just me. That question was answered, because the approaching rider grinned and waved at me. I warned him of the loose dogs that he was headed toward.

Aside from the aforementioned semi and one van, the vehicles passed me politely, which was greatly appreciated. I started out gently, not killing myself on the first hills, but there is one hill at about the fifteen mile mark on this route that really used to take the starch out of my legs, and the last time I rode this route, I resolved to hit that hill hard, and I did. I determined to do the same thing, and I fairly flew up it, but I ended up slowing down at the top because the road was really rough and because I trying to catch my breath and my breath was going too fast for me to catch it.

All in all, I hit the entire route hard and did really well. I was feeling it by the end, mind you, but that’s okay. That’s rather a nice feeling because it lets you know you did something. I’m hoping to squeeze in another ride tomorrow morning.

See you on the road.


  1. I pushed myself on a long ride this weekend, too, and though my legs were really tired by the end, it felt good. I usually don't push my pace much unless I'm riding with someone else either. But Saturday was an exception. Feels good, doesn't it?! Makes me feel like I really am getting stronger as a rider.

  2. I know the feeling! I've been having to squeeze in short rides when I can get them, so it was nice to have a chance to spread my winds, so to speak.