2004- Ride #6: 30.4 miles, 149.3 total.

A thirty-mile recovery ride? Why not?

Today was a sunny, dry day and 70°F. Even so, I felt chilled for much of the ride. And though it wasn’t my original intent, I soon found that I wasn’t going to be setting any records today. My legs just hurt too much. So, I lightened up on the pedals, and just enjoyed the day and the ride. I wasn’t feeling the snap in my legs that I had been feeling, but at least the foot pain I had on my last ride was gone, and the dreaded Recumbent Butt was minimal. My heart rate is usually in the low 160s during the flats and rolling hills, and up to 190 on the steepest hills. Today on the steepest hill (Twin Tower #1) I only reached 175, and the rest of the ride I was in the high 130s, with little heavy breathing. Very unusual for me, but probably because my legs were still recovering from the last 30-miler. Happily, my time was only 5 minutes longer, even taking it slow. (I’m still being coy about my times and speeds–the first rides of the season are usually pretty unimpressive.)

There were lots of little joys along the ride. One of the them was spotting a dark-brown hen by the side of the road. As I passed her, she and a very tiny chick went scurrying away from me as one. The baby was so close to the mother, I wondered how she could keep up and remain so close to her mom like that.

Another highlight was at the 15-mile mark, when I was bombing down a long, steep hill. I was going over 40 mph, with cars in tight both ahead and behind me. I had to ride wide to give room for a young woman who was walking up the hill, and she gave me a big smile and a vigorous thumbs-up as I passed her. She must have been a cyclist too. That gave me a smile for a while.

And the smells out the outdoors get better each time out. The lilacs are just starting to bloom, and I think I passed a blooming cherry tree as well. Even the newly turned earth in the corn fields had an aroma that made me feel quite content and happy to be out on the road.

There was a humbling moment or two. I was starting to bonk 8 miles from home, so I had a Clif bar & some extra water. I felt ravenous & a bit weak for a while. Also, as regular readers probably know, most of my routes end in two steep, intimidating, and (for me) challenging climbs, which I named the “Twin Towers” back in 1998. (Actually, I was thinking of the 1985 Houston Rockets and their vertically gifted forwards Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson who also had this nickname.) In any case, the name has stuck, because if I give in, the you-know-whos win!

Back to the humble pie. Just before the base of the first hill, TT#1, a guy at least 10 years my senior [that works out to 56+. -Ed.] passed me. He was riding a clunker of a bike, a utilitarian POS with panniers and ugly down to the bone. To make matters more humiliating, he either had the world’s worst gearing, or he didn’t know how to ride the damn thing, because he was grunting his way up the hill with a cadence of 30 or 40. This is very tough on the knees, and surprising for an older rider in reasonably good shape. Anyway, he gets 100 yards ahead of me before he starts climbing, but then he slows down, and I start to gain on him. At this point, after 28 miles, I’ve got almost nothing left. After a moment’s pause, I decide to ride at my own pace, and forget about the guy. I’m gaining on him, so I figure I’ll see him again at the top.

I reach the top of TT#1. I look around. I can see about 1/3 of a mile down the road, but the guy’s gone. Hunh. Well, maybe he lives up here. Yeah, that’s it. Why else would someone climb this god-awful hill willingly? Yeah, he must have pulled into one of these driveways and called it a day. Yeah. That’s it. I continue on, down a gentle incline, to the base of TT#2.

And there he is again! Half way up TT#2, he’s barely turning over at ≈30rpm, and I’m gaining once more. OK, that’s it. Something takes over–evolution, testosterone, I don’t know what. I gotta get this guy. I give it everything I’ve got–cadence to 120rpm, the biggest gear I can bear, my legs screaming in pain. He’s too far ahead to catch before the top of the hill, but I swear to myself I will murdalize this guy on the downhill. Recumbents fly down hills, and I’m really good descending TT#2. I’ve done it more than a hundred times. I am going to smoke this guy.

I never saw him again.

He must have pulled into one of those driveways, and called it a day. Yeah. That’s it.

Stoopid Stuff Stuck In My Head During The Ride for today was a duet of duets: My poor, tortured mind vacillated between Kenny Rogers’ forgettable (I wish) “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer” (that one line, over and over) and another single line from “Puttin’ on The Ritz” (link goes to Fred Astaire’s version). As always, iTunes (Macintosh or Windows) is required for the previous links. But I wasn’t hearing Fred Astaire. Oh, no. I was hearing this (and only this) one line from the movie “Young Frankenstein” with Gene Wilder & Peter Boyle. Click the Play triangle to hear it. Let it get stuck in your head for a while! Mwaaah hah haaah! (Video FX: Superimpose title, “Diabolical Laughter”.)

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