There were rumors all week that this weekend would sport some glorious weather. I almost didn’t want to get my hopes up because the last several weekends boasted predictions of sun, but the actual weather, while rideable, proved somewhat disappointing. Further, it rained consistently all week long. I wasn’t holding my breath.
I am not a fair weather cyclist nor am I wimpy when it comes to riding, but I decided pretty early on in this cycling venture that a career as a downhill racer was something I was just a bit too old for. I tried some trails. I even braved some single-track around a lake in the mountains near where I live and I was actually getting the hang of it. Mountain biking and downhill definitely have their positive points, especially if you are a thrill-seeker. It just took me one good spill, where I missed a turn on a switchback and ended up coming off the bike, to convince me that I was leaning toward becoming a roadie. (This was the same ride that drove home the importance of being in the right gear and underscored, yet again, that timing is everything. Shift into gear before you hit the incline.) I ended up putting the bike down in thorns and rocks and landing on top of the bike. This put the bike in the shop for a new wheel which took out two days of riding last summer.
Mountain biking definitely increases my odds of needing repairs on the bike, at least while I’m learning. This is something I have no patience for. I want to just get on the bike, put my head down and ride. Coming off the bike, for any reason except food and beverages, is annoying. The fact that I am pushing 50, less agile than I used to be, and very unskilled when it comes to technique, means that mountain biking is also potentially life-threatening. Of course, any kind of cycling has its risks, but for me, it seemed clear that road was probably going to suit my temperament and patience level better than the trail…unless the trail is relatively smooth.
So, while I’m not courageous enough to try to excel at technique on the trail, I’m certainly willing to ride in just about any conditions except snow, ice or standing water from torrential rain. The weather forecast, for the most part, is irrelevant. But there is just something about riding with fewer layers of gear on. So, I found myself hoping again that this weekend’s forecast would be as predicted. It was, but in spite of the beautiful weather, our riding this weekend was pathetic.
Friday morning the weather was a bit spotty, but by Friday afternoon it was rocking a nice 70-something degrees. We were delayed in getting out due to tube replacement and repair, but we still got in 17 miles. One of the tube repairs didn’t hold so toward the end of our ride the SO had to keep stopping to pump up his tire. That was frustrating, but at least we could roll home instead of walking.
Saturday dawned clear, exactly as forecast. Sadly, due to being out in the middle of the night because of an emergency with one of our cats, the SO, was not feeling up to hauling himself out of bed at 7, in order to repair his tire and be on the bike by 8 so that we could meet up with the Velo Club for the 23-mile ride we’d planned on. That was pretty disappointing because we couldn’t ride later due to having a number of things planned. Saturday ended up being a wasted day where cycling was concerned.
Saturday evening we entertained a good friend at our place. The SO picked up a bottle cheap red wine and we barbecued hamburgers, sipped wine and sat out on our back deck in the shade of cedars and talked for hours. I think it was midnight before we turned in.
Cycling Tip # 348: Too much cheap red wine and a late night will ruin all chances for a morning ride.
Sunday dawned bright and clear. I, on the other hand, couldn’t even wake up until ten. It was another couple of hours before my head stopped hurting and I could get moving. I was determined to ride, so at about 1:30 in the afternoon we rolled out.
Cat’s Cycling Tip #487: Cycling with a hangover is painful.
Okay, I didn’t really have a hangover. Wine, of any kind, just doesn’t agree with me anymore. I end up with a massive headache and a sluggish feeling for a good 24 hours after, even if I only have one glass. Though I had no headache nor nausea, I was feeling that sluggish feeling and this made the riding a challenge today. Add in the fact that it was midday and 86 degrees, and I had the makings of a grueling ordeal instead of my usual enjoyable time on two wheels.
We decided to just slow things down and not push. The effort of pedaling was challenge enough. By about mile 11, I was beginning to feel much better, still weary, but much, much better. The rain began to fall during our last mile and a half. Big drops. Hot rain. It felt great.
We ended up cycling 39 miles for the weekend which is dismally pathetic, in my opinion considering it was such perfect weather.
I’m already looking forward to next weekend.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in a couple of car accidents and several cycling accidents. From the time I wrecked a friend’s car in high school because I wasn’t wearing corrective lenses because it was before I was diagnosed with needing them, to the several fender benders I’ve had in my own vehicles over the years to the bicycle accidents I’ve lived to tell about, each accident has its own story; its own specifics. While the circumstances surrounding each crash differ, there are some similarities with each incident. I think there are some lessons I can learn about each of these crashes in my life.