Except it's not that bad. I got to sleep in this morning (Mondays are rest days, in general) - now, most people's idea of 'sleeping in' is not 7:30 a.m., but it's mine, and I savor it. It just felt so good to not have my alarm blare at 5:30 and for me to think "damn, already?"
I woke up at 7:30 feeling fresh and rested. I turned over to look out my window and it was a bright crisp morning already, with the Golden Gate and SF Skyline in plain sight. As I sat up in bed, I realized my legs were a little tired, and rightfully so.
I managed to get in about 72 miles of riding this weekend - 31 on Saturday and 41 on Sunday. Saturday was a gorgeous day and we rode along The Great Highway out to Lake Merced and back. Just Jim, Tom and I and I was a little worried at how I might do. The last group ride I went on about 3 weeks ago was miserable for me. I couldn't believe at how horribly I was keeping up (I wasn't), my legs really didn't feel like spinning above 90 rpms for longer than 10 minutes, and I couldn't climb for sh**. It gave me a lot of concern, given at how close my first race was.
However, since then, I took it upon myself to start paying a lot more attention to my cadence in spinning class, keeping a high cadence and playing with different resistance levels. I've been diligently spinning a lot in spite of the lack of road miles, and thought it was the least I could do to help make it all work.
And...it seemed to! No problems with Jim and Tom (who are both great riders), even pulled them for a nice stretch along the crashing ocean waves to our right as we headed past the SF Zoo on our left. Tom took advantage of our tail wind on the way back and we were bookin' it at 25 mph! It was so awesome! I was a little afraid of going that fast just because of all the bumps in the road and the quick maneuvers we were having to do, and I worried I might not have enough time to react. Sure enough, Jim took a hard bump and lost his water bottle from his cage, so that was the end of our speedy train down The Great Highway. Hightailed it back through GG Park and the urban streets of SF, back up to the Legion of Honor (where I reminisced on the Escape from Alcatraz Tri...ah, the memories) and over the GG Bridge (simply gorgeous - I love both views: to the left, the expanse of the Great Pacific and to the right, the beautiful Bay already littered with sailboats around Alcatraz) back to Sausalito where we enjoyed some GREAT coffee at Cafe Trieste and watched all the cyclists (and their BIKES) go by.
Sunday morning I met up with Lee in Santa Rosa. Wasn't quite the beautiful morning I'd experienced just a day before, and it took awhile for me to warm up. Damp air, low-lying fog, but still gorgeous green around us. I love riding up there and am so grateful to be part of such natural beauty. The vineyards are green again, with grape vines getting ready to sprout those buds and produce the grapes that will inevitably be part of some fine wine that people all over the world will enjoy.
We were about 20 miles in and I got my first flat in over a year. Seriously, it's been THAT long. I allowed Lee to help me out just because it had been so long, I was fumbling more than I normally might. I count my blessings in some ways that I'm not a seasoned flat-tire repairwoman. They're such a pain in the rear and really take the momentum out of your ride!
After a few minutes we were back on the road, and Lee said "so we can either head back or tack on another 10. Up to you." Hmmm...I knew what I needed and wanted. We both agreed that we had no time constraints and tacking on another 10 would be good.
Really, the whole time...I felt great. Climbing felt great. I was strong on the flats. I even beat Lee up a few hills, though he was already at a slight disadvantage...but I took it! I was definitely done by the time we rolled up to his house, but it feels *so good* to be back in the real saddle again. That said, spinning the way I've been lately has truly paid off and I feel really ready for this race coming up.
Not only that, but there's only about 5 weeks left until the Tour de Tahoe! That's a good 73 mile ride with a bunch of climbing. Last year I was sick while riding, and while I enjoyed it immensely, I want to go out and really ride it well this year.
So, hooray for spinning. Hooray for the beauty of Northern CA that makes it *so easy* to want to get out and ride. And...HOORAY FOR REST DAYS!!!!