Out and about on a ridiculously gorgeous day. In November. With little wind and dry streets. Started the month one for one, and this is the 5th ride in as many days, which feels good, though a bit tiring.
A month layoff is really nasty, as you definitely drop a notch or so, but your brain won’t let you off the hook. It seems to remember how you could climb a bit faster and keep things rolling on the flats. It’s that damned grey matter which thinks it would be a good idea to sit and grind up a couple of climbs which probably were doable last month, but definitely took a bigger bite today.
In other words, I’m feeling it a bit tonight.
The other part, I’m sure, stems from using a coastable, many-geared drivetrain system for the past four months. With the Quickbeam running a fixed setup, when you ride for a couple hours or so, you are actually riding the whole time, just to state the obvious. Not that I’d want to change that. And while it makes you stronger, reminds you how to be comfortable when you are pedaling at a ridiculous cadence down some hill that you didn’t really register for the last couple months, and strips away the unnecessary whining, it also has its weakening aspects.
I noticed it immediately on the hills, the momentum of the bicycle feeding back into the drivetrain until you feel somehow lifted and you begin to climb like you’re dreaming. No weakening there, but it does convince you to just squeeze a little more power out. Of course, when you get back on a coastable bike, your image of yourself as a king of the montain gets more than a bit tarnished. Climbing fixed is an almost illicit thrill.
The more sinister bits lie in wait at the bottom and top of the pedal stroke, where after months of riding a fixed-gear system, you end up letting the cranks do the work a bit. It’s actually easy to loaf with a fixed gear setup, let the momentum pull your feet through the toughest parts of the pedal stroke to maintain power.
But, that’s probably a few weeks off. Today, I picked a slightly hillier route towards the bridge. I was able to breathe a bit deeper today, and didn’t have any bad coughing jags while out on the road. I’d hoped to make it all the way to the bridge today, but had started late after some chores, looped around a bit and realized that the engine probably wasn’t willing today. And by the time I’d gotten home at 4:15 or so, the cars had already been turning on their lights in some of the more shaded areas of the county. Dang, it ain’t summer no more.
Alas, the season of dark commutes has descended upon us again. Not that I haven’t been running lights on the way home recently, but the end of Daylight Savings has ensured that the evening rides will be well and truly dark.
But, even though sore and a bit worked, it was great to be out.