Its the first day in over a month without snow coming down, the car snot is clearing off of the slushy roads. The giant bank LCD screen says that it is 40*F outside.
You want to ride.
Today is that day – You get off work and start calculating how much time you have until it gets dark. You know that you just finished putting on new cables, housing, and bar tape and want to try out the shifting on the road. You’re tired of your trainer, and the treadmill feels like a jail cell with a belt underneath you.
Time to ride.
Those bib tights with the fleece sure do feel great right now. “So happy these were on sale this summer“, you think to yourself. Debating on calling your riding buddies, you hesitate… Do you really want them to know that you are preparing to beat them with their own legs for the next nine months?
Off you go.
You’re glad you were on that mountain bike all late fall into early summer. It feels great to get on something light, but you still appreciate how much time you pushed around that off-road steed. The float on the cleats feel the same way they did three months ago. You still have your pedal stroke down like a king.
You are riding.
Feeling the finesse of the road bike, you start to get your speed/heart rate up. Almost out of town. Finally, you are on those familiar rural roads taking you out to your favorite hills and places. Five miles down and you’re ready to take on the world. Oddly enough the roads are getting clearer the further you get.
Bring on those miles.
The hills begin to test you. You keep your cadence, but you start to cross chain due to wanting that 50×23. This puzzles you. Heart rate is at 170, but you’re doing well and feel like you’re in the groove. This is it. You’re doing it…
…3mph slower than in September.
You don’t remember the local legend mountain being this long. You wonder what your Garmin says the incline grade is. 4%??! That is it? You’re only 2/3rds of the way up the mountain and already out of gears. 186bpm “YOUR HEART RATE IS TOO HIGH; your cyclometer tells you. Your legs begin to tire.
You thought you prepared.
You remember the snow is still on the ground while cruising down the other side of the mountain. While taking a sip from your bidon, you say:
This is only the first ride of the season. You’ll get better.
Okay guys. Tour Down Under starts on January 17th. Pull out your tights and your road shoes (with toe covers) and get on that bike. Ride those miles. Endure the pain. Destroy your local peloton this spring.