So, this weekend I decided on “hitting it hard”. What that means is doing a longer, semi-difficult ride. All week long they were predicting mild temperatures (in the 50s) with on-and-off rain and gusting winds. Initially I had four or so buddies that were planning on joining me but by Saturday they had all bailed for various reasons. On Sunday morning I grudgingly put on all my riding gear, filled my bottles, inflated my tires and rolled out on the road. I’ve been riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker pretty much every day — it is my “commuter of choice” — so I decided to roll out on this beast. Honestly, it is heavier than a rhino and is geared to climb trees. Translation: SLOW! But it is super comfy; it rides like a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado and, even though it has drop bars, it allows me to ride in a very upright position that is very forgiving on my back. Not to give out too many details, my big-ass gut pulls on my back when I am bent over for long periods of time. The lumbar pain can become nagging to the point of insanity. This is another reason I need to lose weight.
The ride itself was difficult for a few personal reasons and a one or two larger-scale or global reasons. First, I think I am slower when I ride solo. I tend pull back when I don’t have other cyclists depending on me to either set a reasonable pace or just to keep up. Slowly grinding through a ride seems to wear me down pretty quick. Second, I am so woefully out of shape and this ride made that more than apparent. Usually I would finish this ride in under three hours but I managed to add an extra hour and a few minutes. My goal definitely wasn’t to ride at an “8+ hour century” speed. Admittedly, the weather, especially the wind, and the heavy bike added to the overall time but let’s avoid excuses…I need to ride more and I need to ride harder.
It was sobering — definitely sobering.