Friday, April 09, 2021

Season 31: A leap into summer

 Here we are in the transition from early to mid-April, and I wore shorts at work. Not to ride, mind you. The morning was still chilly in the river valley, and the rest of the ride in was manageably cool. The heat hit me after I arrived. No way I was going to pull long pants over my sweaty legs. I had considered following the full summer standard, dealing with the chilly start in light garb so I wouldn't have to lug the unused layers home at the end of the day. The problem is that it is April, the month of deception. If the later part of the day cooled quickly from its mid-day high around 70, I could find myself rolling down the north slope of 28, balancing my desire to get home quickly against the discomfort of cold wind cutting through insufficient layers. This is where commuting differs from scheduling a single ride in the nicest part of the day.

I would have liked more base miles, but my ancient car really needs some rest and professional attention. This is a good thing, really, because it blows me out of the motorized cocoon and forces me to propel myself around. This was the intent with bike commuting in the first place: to offset my family tendency to sloth and carbohydrates.

My winter training consisted mostly of squats. Like, "I did squat today." I got out to ski around on the mountain out back a few times, and had isolated outbreaks of other exercise, but it was way too easy to find other things to do. A day passes, and then another, and a few more. Suddenly it's time to launch the commuting season and I don't know if I'm ready.

The first thirty yards felt pretty good. After that I knew I shouldn't push my heart rate. I felt hollow, and wondered if this was a good idea. But since when did I let that stop me? "That which does not kill me makes me stronger" is not always true, but it is true in the pursuit of early season training miles.

The surprise came at the end of the day, when I set out for home. Rather than feeling depleted by the morning effort, I felt like I was a few days further along in just a few hours. I expected to grovel up the hills, but some sort of muscle memory had kicked in during the day. I wasn't sprinting after trucks, but I had enough to complete the routine journey.

We'll see how it holds up. I could fossilize overnight. The temperature drops back to a more normal range after tomorrow, too. At least it isn't reverting to winter the way it does sometimes. Not yet, anyway.

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