Yesterday’s ride never had a hope of being flat. And it’s time for me to get hilly. I need some fitness and the hills are one way to do it.
Lately, there’s been a fairly consistent crowd for the Sunday morning rides, but they are clearly more fit than I. Little wonder considering the dearth of riding for me this year… but it does represent a challenge I’m up for. Anyway, a few weeks ago I had an abortive ride caused mostly by my being over-medicated in the blood pressure dept. following a significant change in diet. After 500ft of climbing I had to call it quits with my heart racing in my chest. No pain, but completely toast. I basically turned around after 5 miles, rolled back down the hill as far as I could, stopped to let my heart slow, and continuing. When I reached the bottom, after sitting still for fifteen minutes, I finally caught my breath and slowed my heart. Then, I rode some more, because while I was cooked, there was no pain, so I felt safe. The next day, with my Doctors consent I dropped the BP medication and haven’t looked back. The next ride had the leeway that comes along with only riding with one other person, but began to suggest that things were getting better.
Of course, there was a two week layoff from riding again (I simply can’t get my schedule together this year, yet. Maybe my boss can help me out…) so once again I had no idea how I was going to feel on a ride that I knew would have some steep climbing.
I started poorly as I left any hints of cash at home. I also forgot that the Park where we were starting starts collecting parking fees at 8. I was there two minutes after. Sigh. So I used an old trick that allows me to park free of cost, but does cause me to ride a short steep at the end of my ride in order to get to my car.
So I roll out for a warmup loop, carefully timed so that I’m at the starting point nicely warmed up when I realize that I’m not wearing my sunglasses. It’s not really a problem, but the glasses I had on are not nearly as protective, so I hustled up a bit and climbed back to the car, exchanged glasses and rolled back to the parking lot.
The climbing started shortly after we left. First good sign, I wasn’t completely off the back. Second good sign, I was close enough to stay with the group for about 15 miles before I finally hit a patch of climbing that separated me from the pack. Finally, there was one other person who was in roughly the same boat (while climbing) although better than I still, but close enough that we formed a gruppeto and made our way back. We were sorely tempted to bail and have my wife deliver us back to the start since we were very close to my house at the time, but I was determined not to bail. That’s a bad habit to get into.
In the end, we had a great ride back, and another frien we met in the parking lot was kind enough to toss my bike in his van and drive me up the last incline. I was cooked, but in a far better way. And while I climbed slowly, I never redlined or got to the point where I needed to stop. Good stuff. Now to continue to build on my dropping weight and increasing fitness.