Nine months, nine long months since I’d done any meaningful training- and a full six months since I’d even laid eyes on my road bike. Around two weeks ago now, faced with the sizeable challenge of getting back into shape for cycling 1500 miles over two weeks, I had to get back on the bike. Aside from the occasional downhill run from the castle in our village or cruising a few km’s down the road to cool off in a nearby lake, my legs had basically forgotten how to ride whilst in Romania. More than that, I’d forgotten how to dress for the British “summer” on the bike, which way round my helmet should be worn and had run out of inner tubes (choose two out of three).
Nevertheless, as with any big goal, I had to start with a few small steps. I headed out into the Kent countryside for a couple of hours with no major incidents. Suffering only slight embarrassment from overenthusiastic waving at oncoming cyclists, and the leg sapping reminder of riding into a headwind. Oh, and a flashback to breaking my thumb after failing to unclip from my new pedals 4 years ago having passed through the same village, no such problem that day. It was great to be back riding, but the effects of the long break were more than obvious.
A couple of weeks down the line and things are looking up; signs of muscle memory and cyclists’ “old man strength” are beginning to emerge and the pedals are turning just that bit more smoothly. I’m averaging around 150 miles a week so far, and plan to steadily increase this over the coming weeks. It’s important to keep on top of the riding, although there is a lot of planning involved with a ride like this, that all becomes academic if your legs aren’t ready for it! With the arrival of a warm spell of weather, and the deadline for the start of the ride back to Romania ever looming (exact start date to be decided in the next day or so), it’s easy to stay motivated for now. And I might get to ride with Rob at the weekend, which will serve as further motivation- especially if he gives me a bit of a kicking!
And finally, if you’ve come back for more after the first post yesterday, then thank you!