It's a spectacular late winter Sunday. Temperatures are up above 50 F/10 C and skies are cloudless and blue.
I usually don't get on my bike until spring is well under way. I didn't take my first ride last year until 19-Apr-2009. Sand and pavement broken by ice and snowplows usually combine to scare me off, but I couldn't resist this year. I pumped up my tires and headed out to circle the lake in Marlborough, a modest ride of 15.9 miles.
I was dressed for colder conditions. I had a new pair of fingered gloves that kept my hands nice and toasty. I wore a hat under my helmet so my ears wouldn't go numb. I had tights, a sweatshirt, and a windbreaker on. I worked my way to a good sweat by the time I was done.
I think the extra 500 yards I've tacked onto my daily swims is paying dividends. I felt fit today. There are three decent climbs on this ride, including Jones Hollow Road in Marlborough. I downshifted and kept my seat the whole way up instead of standing on the pedals and rocking the bike. My heart, lungs, and legs all felt good. I've been doing more kicking with a board lately during my swim workouts. My legs were up to the task today.
I had no problems with sand or pavement. My brakes were squealing loudly when I left the house, but once the pads and rim warmed up the noise went away.
My equipment was in fine shape. I replaced my pedals last year. A chronic problem with flat rear tires was corrected with a new rubber seal on the spokes. I added a strobe light that hangs off my seat post, at the cost of having to remove the carrier I used to bring my clothes to work. It'll help to keep me safer in the morning if I start riding to work again in April. I'll have to find another way to transport my clothes. Perhaps a backpack will do the trick....
I loved being back on my bike again. It means that winter is on its way out, that spring isn't far away, that I'll be back on the road to work with my friend Michael again soon. Of course I tracked my riding last year in the same spreadsheet that I used to track my swimming totals. I'm starting earlier than last year. If I could work my way up to two rides to work per week on average I'd have no problem besting the 625 mile total that I accumulated last season. Maybe I can break the 1,000 mile barrier this summer.
If only I could translate this goal and metric oriented thinking to my entire life. I'd accomplish far more than I have to date if I could only figure out how.