Sunday, June 5, 2011

The smell of sunscreen, thwap of bugs, sound of motorcycles, all on the 22's

Today was the best ride in a very, very, VERY FRIGGING long time!!!!!!!!!!

Do you get the idea I'm happy about it? You should. The bike hasn't been a lot of fun for a long time now, mainly due to a sick knee. There were some ok rides in there, but that's about all.

Today was right up there with my better rides in so many ways. It's a perfect day for a bike ride. The temperature was in the high teens, which is perfect. (Think mid 60's, for those trapped in an antique measurement system.) Light winds for the most part. Sunny, with a hint of cloud. The smell of spray-on sunscreen brought back memories of IMC, which I think was the last time I had to put it on. It's been a long cold winter and spring.

There's a change in the motorbike noises. Last year it was all the whiney zinger bikes as I think of them, mainly ridden by young idiots awash in testosterone or worse. This year it seems to be the rumbly bikes, big Harley's or similar bikes, ridden in a sensible manner. No doubt this group of riders takes off their leathers and goes back to dentistry, or accounting, or something of the ilk.

I'll get to the bugs. After some errands in the morning I started out early afternoon, pedaling easy, finding my legs. I wanted to go out 22X and down 22, for a 2 hour ride, not race pace, but not an ice cream social either. I figured that's a bit hillier and a bit longer than the route I did a couple weeks ago, but it's not the Road to Nepal either. Maybe I'll do that next week.

Going down toward 22X I picked up the pace a bit, and made it to the intersection in 20 minutes flat. From there, I think I was riding with a light wind, and it was 42 minutes to 22. By now my legs and woke up and were feeling pretty good. I decided to push the pace a bit, especially up the hills. There were a ton of people on bikes. A few waved at me, but not many. I think I recognized one guy from last year. He waved.

Going up the hill by the Rothney Observatory I realized how much I was enjoying myself. This is what I was wanting, post IMC. Being able to go for a good ride, and not be stressed about time, or distance, or pace, or any of that. About my normal turnaround point (Plummer's Road) I realized I still had a bit of time to go for the hour, so I carried on. Yay! Not that I was fussed about the time, but I knew I wasn't ready to go even as far as Millarville, and one turnaround time is as good as any other.

Coming back I rode through a huge cloud of bugs. My arms and legs were nearly black. I had to ride head down looking at my feet to avoid getting them in my mouth and nose. Yuck. I had a few larger bugs bounce off my face. At least by the end of the ride most of the bugs had been blown off.

I was into a bit of a headwind coming back along 22X, but that was ok, I was still making good time, and figured I'd be home right on the 2 hours. And so it was, almost to the minute. I ended up riding a little under 54 K (33.5 miles), which I think is a fair reflection of my cycling fitness just now.

My legs, and especially my knee felt great throughout, even when standing and pushing fairly hard. Oddly enough, the only thing that hurt slightly was my left shoulder. A bit of stiffness surfaced there, and it's sore right now. The rest of my body knows I've had a good workout, and I'm feeling nicely tired, but not exhausted. Which is perfect. I suspect if I'd gone for 3 hours at that pace I'd be hurting a bit and it wouldn't have been much fun at the end. A bit later tonight I'll do some more stretching and maybe even some (whisper it) core.

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