After my open letter yesterday, today started my new beginning – I was going to start riding again today. It’s been about a month and a half since my crash back on Ride 23 and the effects of that debacle are long gone. I didn’t have high expectations today and just wanted to get the ride/mileage in. That said, I went to bed at 10…and didn’t fall to sleep until 12. Go figure.

The alarm went off at 5:00 AM and I hit the snooze. A couple minutes later I rolled out of bed and got ready. I was worried about it raining this morning because we had had a light rain most of the night. When I opened the garage door it wasn’t raining but it was overcast. The roads were wet and looked slick. All of this, combined with my recollection of the crash, didn’t give me a warm fuzzy but I was determined to ride. Throughout the ride I did get sprinkled on here and there but nothing major. I took all the turns slowly in fear of my bike coming out from under me. I wasn’t going to let the fact that I had new tires on get the best of me.

I got out of my neighborhood and onto my main straightaway without any problems. I could tell pretty quickly that I hadn’t ridden in 6 weeks. My hands, legs, and rear-end became uncomfortable way too fast. It was from non-use and I was paying for my laziness. Do you remember that great golf movie Tin Cup? Remember that scene where Tin Cup and Romeo are on the driving range at the U.S. Open and Tin Cup says, “My swing feels like an unfolded lawn chair!” Well, that’s I felt on the bike this morning. Not to mention I felt like I was sitting on top of a 2×4. I was paying for not riding and I knew it. All I wanted to do was get the mileage in to start creating a new baseline in my fitness. I’m hoping it won’t take me long to get back into the swing of things. Pardon the pun.

I saw a few folks this morning; a couple of runners and one cyclist who was out in front of me. All I could see was the flashing red tail light and I eventually lost that. He either dusted me completely or pulled off ahead of me. I’d like to think it was the later.

I think the one thing that bothered me the most was having to get through the intersection at the end of my ride. Up to this point I avoided this intersection by taking the sidewalk and using the cross walk but the crash back on Ride 23 has convinced me to stay off the sidewalk. I shouldn’t be there anyway. I pulled up to the intersection and it wasn’t too busy. There was one car ahead of me in the turn lane. The light turns green and the guy just sits there. I give him a second or two and he doesn’t budge. I start to go around him, he’s looking down at something, looks up, I slow down, and he takes off. I follow around behind him in the outside lane of a dual turn lane. I make it through just fine. What I don’t like about the intersection isn’t necessarily the traffic. It’s not being able to quickly clip-in to get going. I can’t do it every single time without fail and it slows me down and increases the amount of time I’m in the intersection as a target of opportunity. I guess it’ll come with time but if anybody knows some surefire strategies for clipping in easier/faster I’m all ears. Two minutes later I’m back home and have completed my ride. 13 miles in 50 minutes. Not spectacular but I was just trying to get the mileage in.

Fay Path

Fay Projected Path (courtesy of weather.com

I’m not sure how much more riding I’m going to get in this week. If you been watching the weather you’ve probably heard of Tropical Storm Fay that’s headed towards Florida. It’s expected to become a hurricane soon and run up the west side of Florida and move over Jacksonville (where I live) mid-week. Lots of rain expected. You can see the expected track in the pic to the right.

In light of the rain, numbness, and lack of fitness, it was good to be riding again.

New word: Road Slag – similar to welding slag, this is the asphalt droppings left on the side of the road (the exact place we ride) that forms a ridge, or mountain, of asphalt waiting to catch the inattentive bicyclist unaware and either throws them to the ground in a heap of flesh and metal or scaring them half-to-death by bouncing and jerking the handlebars around until you almost lose grip.