Since beginning biking last summer, I’ve heard that you should follow a strenuous ride with a recovery ride, where you spin easily in low gears and make no effort to go fast. Frankly, recovery rides haven’t been much of an issue for me, because I usually have taken a day off after a long ride.
But today was different. Yesterday, I joined about 17 members of my bike club for a 45-mile jaunt south of town and back. Great weather; sunny, but not hot, traffic wasn’t crazy, nice long break at a funky coffee shop in the little burg of Kyle, Texas before heading back. Kept up a 16-plus mph pace for the whole ride. Felt tired when it was all over, but it was a good tired.
Today, I rode with my wife in her last major training effort before the Hill Country Ride for AIDS next week. We went out to Dripping Springs for a ride along one of my favorite routes. I’ve mentioned Pat’s bike before. It’s a heavy steel hybrid. She usually cruises at about 10 mph. As we left Dripping Springs and headed out on the country roads, I found myself constantly slowing and waiting for her. At about halfway through the ride, the road gets hilly, the uphill way. Only one hill posed any challenge, though, and I stood in the pedals to get to the top. I was proud when Pat also made it all the way up. Last year at this time, she would have unclipped and walked the bike up.
The Texas Hill Country west of Dripping Springs, with another @#$%! cattle guard coming up.
But when the road rises, it also has to return to its original level. We had a great time coasting down the curvy stretch back to Creek Road. Our total distance for the trip was 20 miles, and I must have coasted half the way. Rarely did I feel any reason to use the large chainring. Our average speed was a whopping 10.9 mph. At home, after showering and changing into street clothes, I noticed that I tightened my belt one more notch than usual. I felt wide awake, a bit exhilarated, and even ready to do a little yard work (just a little).
This weekend, I’ve ridden a total of 83 miles, and because the last 20 of those were easy ones, I’m ready for more. This recovery ride thing is great. They will be a staple of my riding from here on out.