“It’s a glorious day for bike ride,” exclaimed Mrs. Noob, as she walked back into the house after her Sunday morning jaunt.
I acknowledged her comment, but sitting in my robe drinking coffee and reading the New York Times on my iPad, I wasn’t in a position to dash out on my own and embark on my version of the ride. I had driven down to Austin from Dallas the night before, and I was savoring the extra hour of sleep I got from the time change, and the joy of not having to get up early for a Sunday club ride. Most of the clubbers were at a team time trial 40 miles south of here, anyway — one that I had not entered.
But she was right. Early November in Austin, and the temperature was hovering around 70 degrees (21C), the sun was out, and the wind was moderate. I got my stuff together to head out on the bike.
I decided to go to Creedmoor, since that was the route I had done two weeks ago when my wife had to sag me home because of a recurring flat. Because of the later than usual start, I knew I had to be prepared for heavy traffic around Interstate 35, but I expected the rest of the ride to be uneventful.
I was right about the traffic. I have to take the lane on Slaughter when passing under the Interstate, and even though I rode as far to the right as practicable, several bike-hating drivers laid on their horns. The ones that baffle me are the ones two lanes over, who aren’t even affected by my presence. Several versions of a speech I could give them, along the lines of, “What’s your problem, pal?” went through my head over the next few miles — from polite, reasoned discussions to profanity-laden tirades.
But it was too nice a day to spend a lot of time on that topic. I was alone on country roads by now, and when I reached the turnaround at the store in Creedmoor — 16.7 miles out — I was pleased to see that I’d reached it in just about one hour, for a 16.7 mph average speed. Since the route home was more uphill than down, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that average. But I was just enjoying myself today. I was pedaling steadily, with seemingly little effort, and still riding at a good speed.
On the way back, I realized that part of the reason I’d done so well on the way out was that I had a helping wind. Now, I was into the wind, and although it wasn’t strong, I did have to pedal harder against it. That just added to the interest of the ride. Negotiating the traffic at I-35 wasn’t as tough as on the way out, and the climb up the backside of Davis Hill felt easier than usual. That could be to the fact that, being in Dallas, I hadn’t done my usual rides on Friday or Saturday, and so was still fresh.
In the end, nothing earth-shaking. I rode 36 miles in a little less than two-and-a-half hours — average speed 15.0. I showered, made a sandwich, sat down to watch some football, and immediately felt myself falling asleep. I headed for the bedroom, and three hours later, woke up to find that the big chore of the day — mowing the back yard — wasn’t going to get done.
After a sub-standard October, this was a great way for me to get back in the swing of things. I expect I can resume a regular riding routine that will only be broken by Thanksgiving weekend. It feels good to be back to normal on the bike again.
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