Isn’t It Interesting…

Only two other B riders showed up for our club ride Sunday, and we decided to head to Creedmoor. This staple of our Sunday routes had been forgotten lately; in fact, I hadn’t ridden it since June. The others were looking forward to the ride, too.

After not riding a route for awhile, some changes are bound to crop up. Most of the ones we ran into had to do with road construction. Our main way east out of our neighborhood narrows to a two-lane, unstriped, country-style road for a short stretch. Then, at a T-intersection, we turn left, and then pick up that road again at the first right.

The city is eliminating that zigzag. It’s adding a curve to the road, and the new route will meet the old at that first right. But it’s not ready yet, and while they’re working on it, the two lanes are quite narrow. I debated getting up onto a new sidewalk that has been put in along the road, but at 8:30 in the morning, there’s not a lot of traffic here. We got to the T-intersection without a problem.

A similar diversion is going in about a mile farther east, as the city straightens out another zigzag route. This time, the road was blocked by large barricades, but there was just enough room for a bike to get through. We were feeling good that bikes could get through where cars couldn’t.

Creedmoor is about 16 miles from our starting point. After a pleasant trip, we wheeled in for a breather at the convenience store stop we always use.

“Isn’t it interesting,” asked Maggie, “how easy that ride is now? Remember when we used to do this ride?”

I remembered. There were times I’d get to the store and want to stay for an hour, just to unwind. This time, a ten-minute stay seemed a little long, and we got back on the bikes for the return leg.

The ride is easier now, for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve been losing a little weight. Not much, mind you, but enough that I can tell. It feels good to have to fasten my belt to the last notch on some of my pants. The other is that I’m stronger. I credit mountain biking for that. It’s beefed up my legs. Hills are never going to be my strong suit, but by powering my way up short, steep climbs on the MTB, the longer, less steep climbs on the road bike aren’t the struggle they used to be.

Now, all I have to do is attend to some bike maintenance again. Isn’t it interesting that a chain can start skipping some cogs after a two-hour plus ride, when it was shifting smoothly at the start? I see a new chain and cassette on the horizon.

The Post-Ride Nap

napIt started a few years ago. I’d come home from a ride, especially one of our Sunday morning club events, shower, eat…and soon, I’d be on the bed, dead to the world.

My post-ride nap was a refreshing interlude.

Now, this from a guy who has never really napped in his life. I tend to sleep very little — maybe 5-6 hours overnight, and I can function just fine. If I ever did feel tired during the day and I made an effort to take a nap, it never worked. I just stared at the ceiling.

So when I started napping after longish bike rides, it came as a bit of a surprise to me. My wife joked that nothing would get done around the house until late in the afternoon, because I’d be conked anywhere from one to three hours. In fact, she found it a bit exasperating after awhile, because sometimes the lawn wouldn’t get mowed, or the edges wouldn’t get trimmed, or some other chore that I normally did on Sunday afternoons didn’t get done.

Of course, anyone who does nap at all is aware that you can overdo it. If I’m down for three hours in the middle of the day, I’m not one hundred percent afterwards. A little bit of drowsy clings to me. I walk through the rest of the day in a bit of a fog, and I’m not really alert until well into the evening.

But lately, my post-ride nap on Sundays has spread over all my ride days. I can do an easy 20-25 miler close to home, and I’m out. In fact, every time I ride, I can count on at least a short snooze.

Over the past two days, I sneaked in a short mountain bike ride after getting home from work. Just about an hour, on single track trails in the neighborhood. Not particularly hard work, although I know that I work twice as hard on my mountain bike as I do on my road bike. Our family routine has us watching the TV show “Jeopardy” from 4-5 p.m., then news, then some other syndicated fare. I don’t sleep through all of it, but now I’m sleeping through some of it — sitting upright in my chair in front of the TV. These naps last only 15 minutes or so, but I might get in two with some awake time in between.

Now, I look forward to my naps. Unless I’m down for a couple of hours, I wake up rested and refreshed. I know I wouldn’t be able to do that without the bike ride to prompt my body in that direction.

Do you nap sometimes, always, or never after rides?

Why I Bike

Maybe you’ve already seen this one. If so, my apologies. But I thought it nicely summed up why I bike. (Or why I like to think I bike.)