It’s Just Like Riding A Bike…

…or has memory failed me?

I have a confession to make. I have a perfectly good bike that has been sitting in my basement for a year and a half. There have been ample opportunities to haul it upstairs, dust it off and take it for a spin. And ample reasons, as well.

Two years ago, I was in pretty good shape. I was riding my bike an average of 100 miles a week, spread out between 4-5 days of cycling. I even kept a chart. Logging my mileage and my progress. I worked out with weights. I went for regular runs. I ate well.

Yeah, I have no idea what happened. I mean, I know what happened… I just didn’t see it coming. And I’m still not sure how I let it get there. Motivation? Non existent. Energy? Not a kilowatt. Let’s just suffice it to say – I am not the ‘fit’ gal I used to be. And here I am, quite a few LB’s later…. a slug. A squishy, smooshy slug.

But, something has happened in the last 48 hours. A renewal. A regenerating. A retrospect of what once was and a resurgence of determination to get back there. Maybe it was spending the weekend in sunny, siliconed, Southern California. Once upon a time, I lived in the land of the fashionably-fit and fun… and considered myself an sufficient peer. After all, you have to keep your body in shape, when the local formal attire means throwing a t-shirt on over your bikini.

Regardless, and respectably… I don’t want to question where this new-found motivation has come from… but I do want to take advantage of it. And now, before it vanishes as quickly as it appeared.

So, yesterday… I ventured down into my dank, dark basement… located my now dusty, but once-bright-red Diamond Back Centurion hiding in a webbed corner near the water heater… hoisted the metal onto my shoulder and carried it up into the light (just wanted to clarify and give props… the bike actually belongs to my friend Tracey Collins, but it’s been on loan to me for about 3 yrs, and well… possessive references come naturally now).

So, after a good cleaning, and checking the tires and breaks… I headed out my old regular riding spot: Shelby Bottoms Greenway (it runs along Vince Gill’s golf course – a strip of running/biking trail nestled between the VinnyLinks and the Cumberland River). It’s a good 8 mile loop… and two years ago… when I was fit, I would ride it at least 3 times to get my miles in for the day.

But being realistic, as I usually am when it’s convenient… I decided to shoot for getting in at least one 8 mile loop. So I got to the park and unloaded my bike. I was exhilarated! It felt so good just to be out there, to slip on the helmet, to drop the water bottle in its holster, to mount the old Diamond Back once again.

But suddenly I’m nervous. It’s like seeing an old love after years gone by. I want to make a good impression. Am I going to wobble? Will I fall? Will I look foolish?

But, I got a good solid start. I shot right from the parking lot and headed onto the greenway. I felt good. It’s true what they say… “It’s just like riding a bike”. It all comes back to you. It felt as if I’d never missed a day!

Until a little after the first mile. I’d forgotten a few things about cycling. But it all started coming back. And as the 8 mile ride continued… I realized… that though I remember how to ride a bike… I forgot what it was like to ride a bike. Here are a few of the things I forgot:

I forgot how aerobic this was… I can’t believe I’m breathing this hard.
The heels of my hands really ache from the handle bars.
That somewhere within the first mile, I can’t feel my left hand.
That the hills are steeper than I remember.
That I sweat like a mutha.
That soon I won’t be able to feel my right hand.
That my quads start quivering around the 5th mile.
That they don’t stop quivering until I get home.
That I sweat like a mutha.
That my shoulder blades burn like a torch has been lit to them.
That by mile 8 both my hands are completely numb and I’m not sure how I’ll use the hand breaks.
That my “southern region” simultaneously aches and is numb.
That I sweat like a mutha.

I also forgot:

That I love the sound of the wind in my ears (that beautiful silence like when you dive under water – where all you can hear is your own heart beat and the distant mating call of a hump back whale)
That I love whisking through the trees that line the trail.
That I love the feeling of my muscles tightening from extra use.
That I love sweating like a mutha.
That I love all the calories that are burned in a 40 minute ride.
That I love being outside.
That I love RIDING MY BIKE!!!

Okay – why in the world have I waited so long to get back to it?

I’m on the road this weekend so I won’t be able to ride again until Monday.
But this time I’m doing 2 loops.


5 thoughts on “It’s Just Like Riding A Bike…

  1. you are my kind of crazy! I too have a bicycle…somewhere. I too enjoy the wind whipping by… and that would be the end of my identification with you Wild Woman. I have never pedaled my bike any farther than around a small block (about the size of a brick). Honestly, I like the idea of bicycling, not the reality…but I wish you well! Me? I’ll stick to treading water in the shower in my bikini.

  2. …but being realistic, and I usually am when it’s convenient…I LOVE that! keep riding my friend. and when you start to “be realistic” think, “at least I’m not Angela Hart riding through a tornado!”

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