For the first time since early October, I took a ride outside . . . no more staring at the walls on my trainer. A cold front fell short of sweeping down into Alabama and is not supposed to be cooler until Sunday. The temperature was 66 when I clipped in. It had been raining some, adding to my trepidation of finally getting beyond my injury only to fall and re-injure my arm. Having something with my family later in the evening, the ride had to be hard and quick. Traffic was heavy.
I spun up rather quickly and immediately noticed that I felt good. It was a good feeling, both physically and mentally. I had to face this first ride, knowing that I would not be where I was pre-injury. It is something that is so difficult to endure. All of the work and effort to get to a certain place could be completely gone. Yes, I have been working hard in CrossFit and riding my trainer, but nothing prepares a rider for riding more than the road. The mental part is almost as difficult as the physical therapy, especially when in my 40s I can hear the clock ticking louder and louder.
Sliding into a comfortable pace, I switched hand positions more often than usual to see if I could add pressure (by pushing or pulling) with my arms. The sign of no pain added to my confidence, but I began to feel the lactic acid building in my legs more quickly than usual. My breathing was steady and my heart rate stayed a constant cadence. The ride was a ten mile loop that I rode twice and had a couple of descent climbs; that is where my giant stood. I have to work very hard at climbing, having more of a sprinter’s shape, and climbing work on a trainer never really equals the real deal . . . actually, not even close. My form was not there. I rotated gears and shifted a lot in my seat, while standing and sitting and standing and sitting. My mind wouldn’t stop panicking . . . you will not be able to get back to where you were pre-October. The mental game is so difficult.
All in all the ride went well. I am aware that many readers taking a glance at my blog will give a “who cares,” but there are many out there fighting back from injury or sickness. You are not alone. I will never be a great cyclist. I won’t even make it above Cat 4, but I want to be as good as I can possibly be and enjoy it. I must be resolved in my mind to start where I am and accept the challenge.