Tuesday, April 27, 2010

back on the bicycle

I am now officially training for my Olympic length triathlon on July 18th. So far, I've been loosely following my training plan while focusing on gaining back the cycling strength I lost over the long, cold winter. Since October, I've been on four 20+ mile bike rides - all of them in the last two weeks. It seems everyone took the winter easy, so we'll all be working up to 50 mile rides together. Also, as I'm diving back into cycling head first (probably not the best metaphor...) I'm taking it easy with everything else. I need to do something nice for my body before it completely rebels.

For a small town whose motorists seem intent on picking off cyclists, Nacogdoches has a pretty sweet cycling community. The Nacogdoches Bicycle Club hosts organized rides two evenings a week; the local Bike Shop rides three mornings a week; and both groups ride on Saturday mornings. The evening rides are pretty much my favorite thing ever. I don't like to exercise after work, but there is something about a twenty mile ride that feels less like working out and more like decompressing after a long day at the library. Also, my leg muscles are gaining definition way faster than they did while training for the marathon, which is interesting and pleases my inner narcissist.

On Sunday, Nathan and I went on our own bike ride. We took his GPS and rode ten miles out on FM 1638, added a few side streets and detours, and then turned back the way we came to make 23 miles, total. It was a beautiful day and a lovely ride - lots of rolling hills, lots of longhorn cattle basking in the shade, lots of wide open spaces and short, shrubby trees and bushes. It's crazy how quickly East Texas can go from a small sized urban-like area (IE, North Street) to secluded ranches and quiet county roads. And I love how, on the back of a bicycle, you can watch those changes, feel those shifts, as you move through them. I saw a lot of things I wanted to photograph, but didn't bring my camera. I think I'll take my iPhone out next week and see how that works. 

My legs were tired when we were done, my thighs burning something fierce. I am looking forward to the day when I can ride for hours and feel strong until the end. Soon, my friends. Soon!