Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Appreciating What You've Got, When You've Got It.

So I finally did my first road ride of the year at home today. I've got this little 12 and a half mile loop that's got some nice rollers in it. It takes about 45 minutes to ride it, or, it takes longer than that and I'm not as unfit as I thought I was.

Anyhizzle...It was the first hilly ride I've done this year. I've been riding around my parents' house, on the flats with constant headwinds for all of my rides so far. Now that I'm back home, I've decided that maybe I've missed the hills after all. It's not that my legs and lungs missed them, but the variety makes a nice change.

I got to thinking about the good and bad parts of riding in mountains vs. sea level along the coast. I realized that fighting those persistent headwinds in every direction, on roads with no topographical variation whatsoever, is probably pretty good for the pedal stroke. There's no real place to stop pedaling at the shore. There aren't any hills to power up, with descents to coast down. You aren't really resting. Ever. All you can do is vary your speed, depending on how aggressive against the wind you feel like being. Never, in my case. Except in 10 second bursts of 'Oh yeah wind!? Is that the best you got!!?', followed by a return to my senses, or a feeling of breathlessness.

Now that I'm back in the hills, I am enjoying that approach-to-anaerobic feeling, followed by the brief recovery period that follows on the downhill side. It makes a nice change of pace, literally and figuratively. I was thinking about some of the loops around here, and how much I dread the thought of going up some of the hills. But at least I have hills to dread here. And quite roads that provide periods of great views and heart rate increases.

I may sound like I'm slagging off riding at the shore. I am and I'm not. I love riding over to the coast and taking in the salt air. How could I not love the mid-ride stops at Mack & Manco's for a slice and a birch beer? And I do appreciate the end result of the strength I gain from the wind and the flats, even though it feels like the life is being sucked out of me during those rides.

It's hard to say what type of terrain I like better. I'm no great climber. I'm quite bad at it, actually. But I don't have the fitness right now to maintain a high pace on a 40 mile flat ride, either. At the end of the day, both types of riding have their place. And either type is better than no riding at all.


Ross said...

You're the wind beneath my wings.

I'm not really gay said...

she certainly provides wind in the car when she's snoring :-)