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Fitness: Mission Accomplished?

September 27, 2011

Today’s Ride: 63km—Harrisburg; home via Mineral Springs

Weather: Warmish, sun fighting for attention

Today’s forecast was for heavy rain—the week’s forecast, too, as a matter of fact. I’d been on the fence about riding. It’s not that I didn’t want to ride in the rain, but I thought I might pick my spots a little. That, and I really didn’t get much work done yesterday. But by 7:00 this morning, the rain had petered out, and there were signs of a dryer day ahead. I’ve mentioned before that I find it difficult to “change gears” from not riding to riding, so it took a little longer to get out of the house and tough to make it a long ride.

I got out of the house, but it wasn’t a long ride. At this time of the year, 60-80km feels like an intermediate ride at best. That’s good news, I suppose: an indication that my fitness is where I’d hoped it might be by this time of year. I’m feeling very strong on the bike, more confident, and able to ride longer and harder than I’d even imagined at the beginning of the year. To boot, in spite of the lack of motivation to fit in a longer ride, the loop took just under two hours all told (not counting a pit stop for an espresso at ride’s end). This with some good climbing involved, too. Both over the rollers along Concession 2 and Jerseyville Rd., and climbing Brock Rd. and Crooks Hollow on the way out. Also, too, Mineral Springs on the homeward leg, which can slow the pace, especially with wet ground and lots of fallen leaves, which had me cautious going into a few of the turns. The last thing you want is to feel the wheel losing traction on autumn’s (damp) offerings.

So this is good. And I’ve been noticing it a fair bit recently. How hills that left me huffing and puffing in the spring are easily attacked and easily climbed this time of year. Easy isn’t the ride word. After all:

Rule #10: It never gets easier, you just go faster.

Which is the case. But remembering a hill that caused difficulty or pain some months ago, one gets worked up for the challenge again to discover that it wasn’t much to begin with. Which means I need to get back out to Rattlesnake Point soon.

Fitness, though, is a fleeting thing (especially as one gets older). It doesn’t—it can’t—last forever. One must constantly work at maintaining it. And while I have some now, it won’t do to assume the project is complete. What happens when the snow comes? Over the last few weeks, I’ve started thinking about the winter workout regime. I’d like to work on my power a bit more and get back to the weight room in December and January while the roads won’t be too inviting. Less riding and more weights might be a good way to prepare for next spring. I haven’t hit the weights in several months, but I also want to put in some time on core strength and flexibility.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Claire Campbell permalink
    September 28, 2011 11:09 am

    Just reading this post makes me want to go back to bed.

    • September 28, 2011 6:34 pm

      So what you’re saying is I should stick to history and not get into motivational speaking? Wife, kids, and students all agree: my talking is soporific. Writing, too, it seems…

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