Yeah, I had the same reaction my D.C. / NoVa readers just did. Anyhow, I linked up with them, got them the route, agreed to join up along the way, drank two beers (Resurrection, very nice), missed out on the pizza, tried to joke with Tim Johnson but only insulted him, chatted with lots of nice people, and peed in the corner.
I only made one of those things up.
This morning I rolled out early to get to the designated Rendyzvous point. Did I mention that they made the youngest guy on the trip, a good young framebuilder from Boston, the navigator, and that he apparently was good at getting them lost, based on the jokes? Well anyhow, he was supposed to bring them along the route into D.C. and I'd meet up with them... so anyhow, after waiting near the northern terminus of Powder Mill Road for an hour and 10 minutes and hearing no radio response, I decided it was time to take my hypothermic ass into D.C. So I probably scored more points with those guys, which is great, because you never can have enough people mildly disliking you.
I had to hustle to work. This was interesting because there was a small but steady and significant headwind the whole way in. I was a little spent when I got to work, 40 miles is a little more than my usual weekday riding dose.
I learned something at work though. That is, Sportsbalm Hot embrocation doesn't come off under the pulsating blast of a 1.2 gal/min high efficiency shower, and the dregs of a two year old Suave Body Wash (Motto: Fine, we're not as good as Axe. But we only cost half as much) only serve to help spread the remaining embro to the genitals and eye sockets.
Interestingly - and by interestingly I mean painfully - I sat in a couple meetings with my legs basically on fire. This would have been bad, but after being all hypothermic and shivery, it actually felt kinda good. And it smelled like the start line of a cross race. Which was *awesome*. For me anyhow. I'm sure it smelt like burnt underwear to my co-workers, but I'm there to make me money, not there to make them happy.
The ride home was just as significant. I was sure that it was Wife of Rouleur's Garden Club night. That's right, it's a G. thang. Some last minute emails generated one of those situations that wasn't life threatening, but which required attention lest the big boss start asking obvious questions, and, God forbid, hard-to-answer non-obvious ones. So it took a solid hour after my scheduled leaving time to answer the obvious ones, and I trotted out of work sorta late, convinced it was my butt if I didn't get home fast. You don't mess with a G. thang, shorty.
I didn't go super hard. But what I did do was a steady L3/L4 tempo the whole way, and on every little rise where I started to slow, I stood up and tapped out an effort until I crested it.
By the time I was rolling down the far end of Good Luck Road, I was about 80% on the rivet, and I had that tight-all-over feeling that you get when the bike is holding you in the harness. Muscles that aren't related to pedaling are locked into position, in place. You feel every pedal stroke, and can tell if your circles are starting to get squared...
It felt pretty damn good. I wasn't on top of the pedals, that'll take a month more of work. But I felt about 3/4ths on top of them and it'll be interesting to see what the power numbers look like.
Do you know, it's March 8th? Last year at this time, I had just finished my first real training ride after being totally laid out with the blown lower back. It was about 23 or 25 miles, easy. It crushed me. Here's what I said:
It wasn't a good kind of hurt that I felt at that point; it was a bad, ill-used sort of feeling. The first thing my wife said to me was, "you look really haggard." But I was looking haggard at the end of the ride and I had earned the right to look bad. The nagging fear that my back wouldn't hold up proved irrational, and I proved to myself that I can get through a ride of decent length despite the layoff, and despite the discomfort of the ride itself. It was the first hammer blow on the block of metal I hope to build back up into a decent cyclist.Well, here we are. I may have done a bunch of things lately to seemingly try to make people cars, my friends and Tim Johnson hate me, and I'm fat as a monk right now, and my attitude frankly sucks and it's going into my permanent record... but as a cyclist I feel okay and I'm way ahead of last year, and looking forward to a good MTB racing season, and then to cross.
Be happy. Find progress where you can. Make the most of what you got. Be good to your family and friends, and for God's sake, try not to pick on Tim Johnson after he's just had the Day From Hell. You only get one chance to live each day, then it's gone. And be grateful for what you get.
TOT 18: My Headlamp Rig