Saturday, May 30, 2009

Up Grade

59 miles and over 4,000 feet of climbing today.

One sighting of an unbelievably blue Eastern Bluebird (except it seemed to have a yellow breast, not orange.)

One driver pulling alongside me as I was climbing the final half-mile of two miles of eight percent grade (about 40 miles in to the ride) who asked me directions to UMass. While I was climbing. Dude -- can you hear me wheezing?

One moment of extreme self-doubt, traveling about five and a half miles an hour, about two-tenths of a mile from the peak of that same hill (the highest point I reached today). If I had allowed any other thought into my mind besides tenaciously repeating the words, "I can do this" -- anything, such as, "There's a cloud overhead" -- I would have tipped right over in the middle of the road, and just lain there, heaving for breath, hot tears washing my sweaty face clean.

One incident of extreme, full-leg cramps, where I again almost fell off the bike. This is the point at which I changed my route and headed downhill. I added miles but reduced grades.

* * *

Today's ride was my best cycling achievement since I rode most of the Oregon/California coast as a teenager (with 30 pounds of gear on the bike). I try to avoid posting stats on the blog, because I don't like encouraging the whole comparison plague. I just can't help kvelling today. The pneumonia and bone bruise/muscle tears might have set me back a couple months, but I'm making progress, and I'm so happy about that.

I'm still thinking of switching my 53/39 chainring for a compact. It seemed like a stellar idea on the last hill before home.


idon'tremembereatingcorn said...

Solid work my friend. What was the route? Glad to hear that things are going well. Let's hook up and ride sometime this week/weekend

Velosopher said...

I climbed up through Leverett and Shutesbury, and then farther up into Wendell (pretty up there; I'd never been); then down to 202 South and then back uphill again into Shutesbury (that was the "I can do this" part). I started uphill again after that -- that was the cramps. I turned back and went down Leverett Road into Cushman and home again, home again!