Most of my riding of late is with friends, rather than the meditative solo rambling I gravitate to naturally. Riding with other people means riding a little faster and a little better, at least for me, and that’s not a bad thing. When I sign up for stuff with friends, that’s when I found out where I am in my cycling fitness. Mostly I find out I’m a little behind.
My friends are younger than I am, but that’s no excuse. It’s a few years. Five. Maybe more. If I’m not careful I’ll start sand-bagging them.
I thought the pandemic would produce much higher level cycling fitness than it has. Instead, I’ve used the extra time to diversify my portfolio. I’m doing a lot of trail running, some hiking, weight work, paddling with my wife. It’s been so good to engage the outdoors in a lot of different ways. I still love the bike, obviously. I’m just approaching it more casually than I have in past years.
It’s August, and my fitness level is quite high, but it’s not a tuned, bike fitness. It’s more rounded. I can hang with hard bike efforts up to about two hours, and at that point, my quads say ‘no mas,’ and the rest of my body says ‘uncle.’ I see other people coming into their own at that point, as if they’ve finally ridden themselves into the flow of the thing.
Two hours is pretty good fun anyway. A little ego-deflation is never a bad thing, either. Sometimes I break off and ride home to lick my wounds and drink my coffee. There are worse fates.
I’m wondering where you are in this odd bike-friendlier season. How are the sensations? This week’s TCIF asks, are you ahead of it, behind it, or right in the pocket? Have you doubled-down on the bike? Or like me, have you diversified your portfolio?
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