The Big 2K: It’s Been A Long Ride

August 22, 2008

I started cycling to work in March at 20ºF.  It was a numbingly cold, 33 minute ride in on my trusty old mountain bike.  One day it snowed gently.  It was the warmest day that week.

I had no complaints.

Since then a few things have changed: my route, my bike, my gear, and the temperature.  It’s much warmer now.  Today it was 52ºF in the morning and will be 85ºF when I go home.  I still don’t have proper rain gear but honestly, it’s just rain.  Riding through a quick shower on a hot day can be very refreshing.

Now though–now it’s getting cold again.  One day in March I rode at 34ºF in the rain for 40 minutes.  A police officer blocked my shortest road home. “Blasting” he said.  I had a helmet, I was willing to take the risk–but no.  That was a bad ride, but it’s the only one I can think of.  I’ll have to pick up a wind/rainproof coat, and leggings soon.

One of the best rides in was when I managed to draft behind a dump truck.  The truck smelled bad, but offered a large draft zone.  I quickly accelerated to 30mph and stayed there for some time.  Eventually the truck accelerated to a speed I couldn’t match, even in a vacuum, and continued on.  The next day that same truck passed me before a turn off, and honked as he passed me the second time.  He held a fist up with a yellow bracelet.  Live Strong!

My commute is about 6.5 miles, or 13 miles round trip, to work.  Occasionally, I will cycle up to Manchester to teach Kenpo Karate.

The first of these trips was gruelingly painful.  It was only 15 miles, but I was carrying extra weight and I had never cycled that far before.  The traffic was heavy and fast, and very discomforting.  When I finally arrived at my destination (more than an hour later!), I could hardly walk, let alone carry the mountainbike up stairs into my aunt’s house, and that was just to get into the house.  Climbing the steps to get to the second floor was even more difficult, even without the bike.  I did this ride twice in the first week.

I’ve come a long way since then.  I started by adding 10 miles to the route, to get off the crowded rt 3.  Now it’s 25 miles from work to the studio, and I’m barely winded.  I’ve started riding longer routes now: a few 50 mile rides, and recently my first century: 100 miles.  For reference, I have two more centuries scheduled next month: one in NYC and one here in Nashua.  They are one week apart.

First I lost 5 pounds, then I gained 10.  My legs feel like the twisted steel cables of a suspension bridge: Powerful and unyielding.  The confidence, stress relief, and joy cycling brings me every day is more than enough to keep me riding, but I must mention the workout, the absence of road rage, and the reduced environmental impact as other benefits.

It’s been a long road, this two thousand miles.  I will cherish every moment.

One Response to “The Big 2K: It’s Been A Long Ride”

  1. Mom said

    Wow! What a great post! I have noticed that you are more calm and easygoing. I am -SO- proud of you!

    Love you lots,

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