|Notice snowmobile parked behind me.|
I just went for my first bike ride since the Iceman. Last fall, I finished the 29 miles of the Iceman, got off my bike and didn’t look at it again for THREE MONTHS. Very unlike me. I'm not sure what happened, but I think it was one of those “let’s end things on a high note since I didn't die in that hellacious race” kind of excuses.
But today it was sunny, 36 degrees and for some reason, it was time. A thrill raced through me. I ran through the house, gathering loads of long underwear and bike helmets, trying to find my garb before I lost my nerve.
Then I hauled my bike up the stairs out of the basement, shifted it about 3 times accidentally in doing so, applied the brakes once as it almost backed over me and finally rolled it out into the fresh air. Welcome back to the light, my friend.
Bonus: I had to roll it past the snowmobile Nelson parked in the garage last night. The irony was not lost on moi, who did a little jig to defy mother nature and her snow today as I headed out.
Mile 1. Golden. MY god, I felt manic, pedaling like a fool, wind in my face, Under Armor top and bottom, little charcoal packets in my shoes and mittens, shaking away.
Mile 2. Shitola. Reality set in and I quietly, without debating it with anyone at all, shortened my route from a hilly 16-mile loop to an easygoing scenic 11-mile loop around Lake Ann.
Things that soon unfolded:
My fan base: In the course of 11 miles, I got a honk & appreciative wave, a “Woo Hoo!” hollered from a man in his driveway… and a fluffy white Shih Tsu that kept pace with me much longer than I’d like to admit.
My pants: I don’t remember my spandex bike shorts having a steel band in the waist last time I wore them. I also developed a weird side ache that wasn't in my side but more in the middle, where my belly was being sliced in two by lethal pants.
My tire pressure: I have these fancy bike valves that require me to learn how to use them, which I refuse to do as a boycott against why they have to make them so fancy anyway? So, I checked the pressure with the all-knowing thumb-press. And found it to be spot-on (as usual when using this method). This, of course, meant I proceeded to check my tires three different times on the road, as my speed indicated I was traveling on a flat.
My foot warmers: Due to the weird purple marks on my toes, it appears I used the foot warmers incorrectly. Afterward, I read the directions - they are not for use in shoes with air circulation (you might consider the mesh in my bike shoe this very thing). Why would this matter? I scoffed. Because oxygen activates them to a temp of approx. 109 degrees. (Sidenote: The only thing worse than really hot feet is being in skin-tight, sweat-soaked Under Armor that you can't possibly peel off on the side of the road, or maybe ever.)
My doctors: About 30 minutes in, I started thinking a lot about my chiropractor, like what her hours are and if my back was going to need a brace. 45 minutes in and I was thinking pretty heavily about my ob/gyn too.
My speed: I was held hostage to guessing my speed for a full hour. I couldn't reach in my pocket and check my Garmin because I was wearing mittens the size of Michigan. At first, I was a galloping horse and I felt no need to know my speed, for it was amazing and I needed no proof of otherwise. Five minutes later, I was wondering about the pavement, was it slower when it was cold? Was my perception off because the trees were bare, no leaves to gauge the passing of a biker? Was that the wind at my face, the same wind that only moments ago that I swore was at my back? Later, when I checked my Garmin speed at home, it was shockingly accurate. I was going slow.
So this was my first ride back in the saddle. Oh how I've missed biking!!!!