Monday, August 24, 2009

Time is Time is Time

If you have read this blog with any sort of regularity (a task which would either show great dedication or great intestinal fortitude) you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much lately. (Then again, you may have found this something of a relief.) A combination of circumstances beyond my control have kept me off of the bike. Finally, I had a chance to get in a ride, and I went about it in the unwisest way possible. (I don’t know that unwise is a word, but, then again, I don’t know that it isn’t a word.)

On my first ride back after a couple of weeks I did a time trial. (In case you don’t know, a time trial is a race against the clock. Well, not in some literal Alice in Wonderland crazy kind of way. You go out all by your lonesome self and ride the route as hard and fast as you can.)

Now, a pro cyclist who is going to do a time trial prepares for it. He wakes up on time, she eats a nourishing breakfast prepared by a professional chef, he gets kitted out, she climbs onto a trainer and rides hard until the sweat runs and her body is loose and ready to ride. (Do we need a new pronoun here?) Then climbs into the saddle while his bike is held in place and, when the timer goes off, she takes off down the ramp and rides.

This is not quite how I did it.

First of all, I got up a bit early after a sleepless night. I didn’t because my dog insisted that she had to go outdoors right now. Then I went back to bed for an hour or two. Eventually, I dragged myself upright, had a bowl of cold cereal, got kitted out and hit the road. I’m not sure that this is the way to win. Fortunately, I wasn't racing anyone but the aforementioned clock.

I was not feeling ambitious. I had a route mapped out in my head and had set myself a minimum time I would allow myself to ride it in. It would make me set a pace that would take some effort but wouldn’t cause me to rupture anything.

I don’t know why I decided to ignore it.

On the leg out, I was pushing into the wind, but I was keeping up a pace that would let me meet my goal, and I was content. At least, I thought I was. Then my legs, which had started the ride as if they had never been astride a bicycle before, began to wake up.

“Oh,” they said. “You’re serious about doing this. We thought you were kidding.”

The pace began to pick up. So did my heart rate. I hit my turnaround point going well and then started back. The wind was helping me out now, but, for some peculiar reason, I wasn’t content with that, and I decided to ride the route back as hard as I could go.

And I did.

It was actually a lot of fun. When I got back home, I found that I had cut over ten percent off of my anticipated time.

I got back into the house panting like a bellows. My Lovely Lovely took one look and asked, “Are you okay?” Not quite able to talk, I nodded and may possibly have grunted something at her in passing. After I got showered and changed, I knew it was going to be a better day.

Life is good on the bike, don’t you think?

See you on the road.

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