The weather has warmed up enough for me to start training for my July bike ride from Jasper to Banff in the Canadian Rockies. I am back in the saddle after a break of many months from biking activities, indeed a break from the time of my last long ride! Considering the tremendous amount training that I did for the Pittsburgh to the DC area ride last year, I was wondering how the body would react during my first ride this year.
I started off early in the morning with the intention of not going too far. It was still quite chilly when got to the trail, and I had to bundle myself to defend against the cool early morning breeze. It took me a little longer than usual to get prepped for the ride and for me to try to get back into the routine that I was so used to following last year. I remembered that I needed to gather an adequate supply of food and water before I left home to keep me fueled through the ride. I needed to fit the basket on to the bike to carry the supplies. I needed to make sure that the bike was OK after a long period of disuse.
The ride went off OK. The miles passed by quickly as the bike (and especially the basket on the handlebar) rattled along on the uneven surface of the towpath. It was quite the different experience from running! It felt easy at first. But it did not take too much time to be reminded of the level of effort on the muscles to keep pedaling for a long time. The muscles in the thighs were out of shape. I was also beginning to feel it in the butt. I have a way to go before I will be ready, but the good thing is that there is enough time to get the body back into shape. We will be riding on a paved surface this time, and the distances we will be riding will for the most part be shorter than what we were covering last year. So perhaps it will not be as tough.
It is not that one is not already in decent physical shape, but the difference in the kind of effort that is required for running and for biking feels quite significant. I was reminded of this when I made my first run last year after an extended break when I was only riding the bike, an experience that caused me to take extra precautions in my preparations this year. But all is good. It is time to get back in the saddle once again. Lets ride!