Monday, January 19, 2009

Happiness is a good ride (or run)

If you ask me why I do this I will describe for you the way I feel right now, the way it feels to be sitting here on the sofa after a fabulous ride. I will tell you about the slight burn in my quads, the endorphins still floating around my bloodstream, the quiet sense of satisfaction and the calm that accompanies it. I will tell you about the beautiful things I have seen and the people I have spent the morning riding with. I will tell you how GOOD this feels.

All that and I nearly didn't ride today. I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and my left glute seized up. I found myself limping painfully back to bed. At 6.45 this morning it was still all cramped. I could barely walk down the hallway and figured I was going to have to pull the plug. However stubborness kicked in and after a little more walking around whatever muscle was in spasm decided to let go. I could walk again and it didn't give me any more trouble. Strange.

A small group of Gearshifters riders assembled at Freyberg on what was an encouragingly still and sunny morning. We set a good pace all the way out to Petone, then headed north towards Silverstream. The lack of any real wind (a slight Northerly, but nothing worth worrying about) meant that we sat on around 5kmph more than we did a couple of weeks ago when we rode this way. Familiarity bred reassurance and, knowing how far I had to go, I felt comfortable with the pace we were riding and that I wasn't about to burn out any time soon.

The skies started to darken as we approached Upper Hutt and it looked like we might be in for a bit of a drenching. We stopped briefly at the Caltex on SH2 and then it was onto the Akatarawa Rd. Dee and some of the others were planning to ride to the top. I was going to ride to Staglands then see how I felt. We got spat on a little but the threatening rain held off. I took the undulating road at a faster pace than last time and it seemed a lot easier. After a couple of kilometres I saw one of the other Gearshifters women, Angela, up ahead of me and that gave me enough momentum to push a little harder and pass her. She sat behind me the rest of the way out to Staglands. She's normally a stronger rider than me but hasn't been on her bike much since Taupo so was feeling the hills a bit.

At Staglands we stopped for a bit then Angela decided to push on to see if she could find the others. It started to rain a little and I was getting a little cold. I was about to start heading back when she returned with Dee and one of the other guys, Stu. Rob and his friend had gone right to the top but the rest had stopped about a kilometre further down the road, at the base of the real hill.

While I was waiting I tried a chocolate gel I got free with my Powerbars. At first taste I thought "mmm, like melted chocolate", but after that the novelty wore off. It was extremely thick and I couldn't finish the whole gel. I think I might have felt sick if I had. I stuck to my Powerbars the rest of the way back to the city. I guess if I can't enjoy a chocolate gel then I'm just not a gel kind of girl.

We rocketed back to the main road and when we got there I decided to take some more Hydrocortisone. That did the trick, just as it did when we rode Paekakariki Hill Rd. I could truly feel my stamina increasing, and it wasn't just the effect of the gel, Powerbars and gummy lollies. I felt really strong. I kept up easily the whole way back down State Highway 2 and then to Freyberg. I kept up even though the wind had now swung south, meaning that we once again had a headwind (the cruelty that is Wellington weather). I even made it back to the pool before anyone else.

It turns out that today's ride was nearly 118km, which means it was my second longest ride ever (the longest ride other than Taupo being 115km). I don't feel the slightest bit tired, other than a slight burn in my quads. I'm really looking forward to riding Taranaki on Saturday.

I had another of those moments on the way out this morning. I saw myself holding my own with the others and not being afraid of being dropped or making a fool of myself. I realised how far I've come with my riding in the last year and I was pretty darn pleased with myself. I wonder what I will achieve over the next twelve months?

1 comment:

Sass said...

Well that's all great and I'm pleased for you but do you think you could have let me know that you weren't coming at all to my picnic so I wouldn't get a horrible feeling this evening that you might be lying in a ditch/hospital bed somewhere because I hadn't heard from you????