Yesterday marked the beginning of the official training rides. We rolled out around 10AM, covering 50 miles of hilly terrain. It was a new route, so a lot of the hills and roads were unfamiliar. There is something interesting about winter riding. As we rolled through the solitude of quiet roads, trees with no leaves, past frozen ponds, I wondered if I would remember these scenes when I am suffering in the 90 degree heat later in the summer.
It is hard to describe the feelings of cycling to people who look at me like I have a mental disorder when I tell them about my short 50 mile ride in 31 degree weather. The feelings of peace when spinning down roads lined with quiet houses, the smell of wood burning stoves and the feelings of freedom. The sound of your own breath as you climb a large hill for several miles. The light that filters through the leafless trees with the sun low in the sky.
It is an area I have ridden in many times, and some of the road I have been on almost weekly, but in different conditions like this, it seems foreign. Simply reversing the route on a few roads meant I was climbing hills I was used to zooming down. As I climbed, I noticed the surroundings that previously I would have missed.
The ride was a struggle, but in a good way. The hills were tough, but instead of seeing them and groaning, I was smiling ear to ear. Here’s to another week riding!