For some reason, the normal aches and fatigue of a regular riding schedule lose their grip on me in July. I still hurt, but I turn a higher average for the same pain.
Racing is a pain game. For the most part, every racer feels like hell when the pace picks up. What separates them is not who can hurt the most but who gets the most from their hurt.
I am an aggressive commuter. I believe that a crisp, assertive riding style subliminally influences motorists. This means I have to be ready to ride like I mean it in sections where the traffic is only a little faster than I am.
The open highway is actually more restful. The motorists have room to whiz by at four times my speed. They swing wide by reflex at that speed. Some are better than others, but the vast majority don't want to risk too close a pass.
Wolfe City presents the most demanding part of any commute. In the morning I hit town warmed up with at least 40 minutes on me. The town criterium gives me a last surge of aggressive energy before I walk into the shop. In the evening it's much harder. I may have to sprint and throw elbows from the start. This is after spending the day on my feet. It's hardly an optimum warm up. As much as possible I drop back to an easy spin between jams until I gain the relative peace of the highway. The route home is slightly different from the route in, and longer. The potential jam sections are spread over a longer distance than in the morning as well.
July arrives with its peculiar energy. The month of my birth seems to bring rebirth. I was born in the long days and short nights of the New England summer. It feels right to me. As much as I have come to appreciate things that happen in other seasons, the height of summer is the center of my year.
Some time in August the chase group will reel me in. My leaden legs will slow. As the tourists and second home crowd recede I can take more time on my daily rounds. For now I enjoy the stage race of July.
Time to get ready for today's start.