Friday, July 13, 2012

Tri-training: Yesterday's ride

On a day that was supposed to be a rest day, a day that was overcast and considerably cooler than any we've had lately, I couldn't resist the invitation for another ride on the loop we tried out on Monday.  Coty had looked over the map and found a couple of ways to lengthen the loop.  At a couple of points along the way we could make a turn and add a mile or two.  I was thinking I'd skip the added loops and do the same thing we did Monday and meet up with him at the end.

That, however, is not what happened.  Despite legs a little sore and tired from Wednesday's run, every time we got to a turning, I said yes.  At both of the ride lengthening intersections, Coty waited and asked, "Want to go longer?"  I said yes.  We came to roads with names like Jake Tucker, Flowe Store, and Pine Grove Church Road, passed a hole-in-the wall little country restaurant called Terry's Kitchen, got chased by no dogs, saw an emu in a pasture, and got yelled at by only one redneck.  It was a good ride and I learned a few more things about cycling.

From the long downhills, I learned not to fear the speed, to pedal in the highest gear and get plenty of momentum on the downhill, attack the uphill at the base of the hill and work my way as smoothly as possible through the gears without changing my pedaling cadence.  On a couple of the hills, I was pretty exhilarated by the feeling of going fast up the hill ... by getting to the top and not feeling spent ... by cresting the hill and getting momentum over the top for the next stretch of road.

There was one hill, though, where this didn't happen.  Pine Grove Church Road is a narrow, bumpy road with a long, pitted, and rough downhill.  The bridge across the creek at the bottom has been patched numerous times so it's very uneven.  As I tried to slow myself on the downhill without squeezing the brakes too hard, I had a mental image of Andrew flying over the handlebars as a 12 year old, breaking his collarbone.  I grimaced with each jarring bump.  But I made it.  No falls, but with no momentum at the bottom, it was hard pedaling back up.  

We reached our last long hill and Coty was further ahead of me, so I had no imaginary string pulling me forward and no encouraging angel that came up from behind for that last long uphill climb.  This is where I am learning that you just gut it out.  You shift into the lowest gear and pedal til you think your legs are going to fall off.  Sometimes I let out a groan.  I did yesterday.

But then, when I got to the summit, bells starting ringing!  Really.  From the church across the road, the church built by my great, great, great, great grandfather in 1861, the bells starting pealing.  How's that for hallelujah, hip-hip hooray, I-made-it music at the top!   I was huffing and puffing and smiling mighty big.

Today - no riding and no running for me.  If this thunderstorm will move along, I'll be swimming and doing very little kicking.  Time to let the arms work.  My legs have had enough for a day or so!


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