There’s always something very rewarding about a full day in the saddle, leaving me with positive feelings of sustained exertion and expected though by no means day-ending fatigue. It’s even more satisfying when such a lengthy cycling trek has not happened in a while, which was indeed the case for me yesterday.
Most simply, despite my few extra pounds and frequent selection of the less-taxing throttle, I’m happy to say I still have it in me. My body’s overall physical performance has by no means failed me, as I remain, as I often like to say, “permanently trained?” I’ll include the question mark, mindful it may not last a lifetime, at least not without continued effort.
My cycling career has made a distinct shift in the past few years. That is, I clearly transitioned from the sustained long distances of centuries, to the much shorter and faster world of races. In 2007 century events, meaning cycling 100 miles in a day, were my most frequent choice of cycling recreation. Come 2009, I was most often pedaling as fast as I could to try to beat my competition in road races that spanned anywhere from 15 to 40 miles. Suffice to say, these are two very different types of cycle exertion.
No change for the worse after two years, thankfully enough.
My own rides have most recently remained shorter and faster for the most part, with the very occasional 50 or 60-miler thrown in. Then came yesterday, yielding me 85 miles in the saddle altogether. Looking back in my very complete ride records, the last time I rode this distance or more was on the Solvang Century in March 2009. The precise type of fatigue I felt last night, I have not felt since that last century. This feeling is by no means a bad one; in fact it’s quite thrilling and adrenaline inducing. The fact my legs felt heavy and stairs were exhausting is merely an observation and not a complaint. I ended up dressed for the evening and out late, on my motorcycle no less, with merely an extra yawn here and there. Many thanks to muscle memory, no doubt!
My body knows how to perform when called upon, even infrequently. While there’s always space for performance improvement, I’m in a self-satisfying and “permanently trained” physical place. It’s, um, like riding a bike. What more could I ask?
Well, here’s one thing: Another fast descent down Panoramic Highway into Stinson Beach. It’s truly the best I’ve found in the area thus far! Check it out for yourself, and I’ll be there to race you to the finish! 😉