I know, I know. The phrase is “back in the saddle.” But that doesn’t make sense on a bike. So I changed it.
Yesterday, I took Ethel the bike out for her first ride of the season. She’s been in the trainer all winter, and by “all winter” I mean “since after the marathon in January.” I’ve been better about trainer rides, but yesterday’s ride showed me just how much fitness I’ve lost.
I joined the group from Princeton Sports, a local bike shop for their weekly ride. There was a 15 mile and a 25 mile option. I opted for the slow 15. It was pretty much just an out and back, but said out and back was full of hills. By the end of last season, I was doing pretty well on the hills, but yesterday was a struggle.
I made it up all of the hills without having to walk them, so I consider it a victory. But my lungs were not happy with me, and I could tell my heart rate was higher than it should have been. Of course, I’ve been fighting a cold for a week, and while it’s pretty much gone, I have a lingering dry cough that is slowly driving me crazy. That probably didn’t help much.
I have to say, I don’t know how people get up some of those hills without being attached to their pedals in some fashion. Seriously – if you’re a cyclist avoiding clipping in, go out right now and buy new pedals. I would have never made it up the hills if I had to simply rely on my ability to mash down on the pedals. Being able to push and pull with my legs was the only thing that got me up. And I didn’t fall. I consider it a win.
So this was week one back on my bike. Next winter, no long extended breaks from my bike. Yikes.