Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flipping the Switch

It's been a long winter.

Cold, wet, occasionally icy, but one thing's for sure, it was not a great time to be on a bike.

There's just something about having to put on six layers of clothing just to get out the door that makes it less than desirable to head outside into an environment of 20 mph winds... that you are creating yourself.

My brilliant solution to this problem this winter was simply riding for fun and work. I road to school 5 days a week and I often spent my weekends on my mountain bike playing on the trails. I was never really working though, always just surviving. Rather than pushing my legs and lungs to their breaking point it was my fingers and toes that I was spending most of my time worrying about.

I knew that this was not a very effective way to be ready for the upcoming race season, so I tried, honestly I did, to work my core and even (gasp) my arms to try to avoid the cramping and general pain that endurance events caused there last year. Apparently my paltry nightly efforts did little in that regard either.

Monday when the weather got nice and I went out for a ride with Roadie Steve the weather was nice for the first time in a very long time. I set out on that ride and a switch in my head flipped on. Suddenly I was no longer riding a bike, I was training, heck I was almost racing. I was pushing, I was attacking, and was hurting and I was loving every minute of it.

I like to consider myself to be a cyclist, and I differentiate that from people that ride a bike. Riding a bike is fun, thousands of kids can tell you that, but riding a bike doesn't make you a cyclist. Cyclists don't ride bikes, they train on bikes. After a winter of playing around and riding my bikes I'm ready to be a cyclist again. I miss the burning sensation in your legs after a good effort, feeling your heart beating in your ears, and wondering if you'll be able to do it all again the next day.

I felt the switch flip on that ride on Monday. I'm attacking the hills on the way to school now. I've got grease on my hands from trying to fix the shifting on my road bike, after all once Steve's got his legs back I can't have misshifts and still beat him up Hyders, and I'm looking forward to my next suffer fest.

It's good to be a cyclist again.