Five whole months. That’s how long it has been since I last rode outside. This was in part, intentional. But I haven’t been off the bike this long since pregnancy, since the surgery that followed. For at least 5 years.
When the babysitter arrived I opened the door for her and realized just how beautiful it was outside. I was giddy with happiness. I was going for a ride.
I clipped in and took off down my street. What was most apparent to me in the first moments of the ride was that the memory of fitness lasts longer than the body’s ability to retain it. I knew the depths of my endurance, but I was like a pool drained and left stagnant for the winter. I needed to replenish my depth.
After the first 30 minutes I felt myself return — at least a little bit. I was on a familiar route and I knew what kind of typical output was necessary for certain climbs. I was still better than my first 5 years of riding, not as good a my last 5. That’s ok, I told myself. It’s the first ride of the season. Despite the diminished climbing abilities (and let’s be frank, I was never much of a climber), the long stretches were still smooth and quick. My average speed was about where my first rides of the year start off. Last year I didn’t have this slow start because I was so diligent on the trainer. But I can’t remember feeling so happy to be on the bike after such a long hiatus; the smile plastered across my face as I pedaled along my old route, a streak of speckled mud straight up my back. I loved the spray from passing cars in my face, kicking up water from the melting snow. I dodged potholes, pedaled fishtailing through muddy spots on the edge of the roadside. It was undeniably spring. Spring! With our snowbanks and seemingly impenetrable fields of ice damming the roads into carved swaths of crumbling asphalt, it was spring!
PS – snow forecasted for Monday