Well, here I am. It's nearly a month now and I'm still struggling to get my legs back. The last few times I've ridden I just can't seem to find my rythm. Prior to, and including the Gator Ride I was feeling and riding great. No kidding. I had never been able to sustain 20mph on the bike yet it seemed very comfortable. Maybe it was the new bike; lighter, more efficient and better fit allowing for more output with equal input. All things considered, I should be kicking ass on the bike. My diet is good and I'm back down to 165.
My rides lately have been 20 to 30 miles and so uneventful that I haven't even bothered to log the miles. I feel guilty for neglecting my bikejournal. My back, shoulders and neck have been giving me hell just 15 miles into each ride. The weekend before last I rode with the WOOF Pack for the first time in a while. We did the bridges ride over to Cedar Bayou and back. It ended up at 74+ miles for the day. The first 40 miles were great. I thought, "man, this is it...much better," then I just went nose in. I struggled the last 10 miles just to get home and, I had a tailwind! I couldn't help but think, "damn, jack, you suck!"
During the week I put in a couple "round-the-blocks" of 24 miles each. I still was not feeling all too courageous so I skipped the Rolling Hills Challenge. I rode Monday and Wednesday for 56 miles combined. I jumped on the bike Friday feeling pretty good and went for a spin with no preset goals...it was just gonna be a nice ride. So, 15 miles and my back was hurting and I rode through it. Then 30 miles at weemart and I felt good. Then 40 miles and I still felt pretty good though it was getting warm. I took off my helmet and hung it from the stem over the bars and kept a nice slow but steady pace. Then 48 miles and I started feeling that wierd tingly feeling that creeps in from who knows where. At 52 miles I was barely ticking over the pedals as I made the exxon in Manvel. I had already finished 4 24oz bottles but still I drank 2 quarts of gatorade and ate a package of cheese-peanut butter crackers. I sat on the bench and watched my legs twitch and jump. After about 20 minutes I swallowed my pride and called TC for a ride home.
It's now Wednesday and I'm cleaning my bike and figuring on riding tomorrow once this rain passes. As Van Morrison sings that there will be days like this, I contemplate my back injury and how the nerve damage affects my riding and, more urgently, how it will progress as I get older. Is this my 40yo midlife crisis? Is that where this damn feeling of losing my grasp...losing time...watching my ability slipping away is coming from?
Thanks to TC I now have a really nice bowflex trainer in my garage and am going to put some work into my overall strength. This should help with my endurance and basic performance. Other than that, I simply need to put in some serious individual saddle time.
You don't have to be fast to have fun!