Hello, sports fans.
So today began as a very exciting day for me. The day I get back on the bike. After more than 5 weeks off (the one 40-miler in PDX notwithstanding) I have been dying to get back on The Goat and back onto the roads of Cycling Mecca.
And with my wispy 208 lbs bod, well, the next ride was sure to be a humdinger.
But I’m an experienced cyclist. I know the in’s and out’s of listening to one’s body, proper fuel and hydration, etc. I know about warming up correctly, and all about bonking, gassing, cooking, blowing up, and how to avoid all of the above.
I decided that, being the intelligent and experienced cyclist I am, I would not push it the first time back. I would just go for a good 24-mile or so ride with maybe 1600 feet or so of climbing, nothing major, but nothing rough for me and my barely-there 208 lbs bod.
I would take a flat 2.5 mile road from my place to Mulholland, turn left, then roll by the Biggest Loser compound on my way up about 6 or so miles of climbing – but easy climbing. Like barely a 4% average, with a few rollers sprinkled throughout.
If I was feeling particularly jaunty, I’d head up 7-Minute Hill at that point in the ride. If not, no worries – I’d just continue on, make a big loop around, do a bit more roller-type climbing, then head home. Nice and easy. First time back and all.
I pumped the Gatorskins on The Goat for the first time in over five weeks, and my layoff apparently affected my depth perception as I smashed my finger with the Joe Blow pump to the point that I had to sit and ice it for half an hour. It is dark purple as I type. Was this an omen? Never! I’m a carbon-fiber-like 208 lbs, baby! I’m gonna ride no matter what!
I was so amped for this ride, in fact, that even the threat of rain did not deter me. I donned my Rapha magical jersey, stuffed my Hincapie rain jacket into a pocket, loaded up with Gu’s and water, and rolled off.
Then turned around at the end of my parking lot because I’d forgotten my sunglasses.
After a double-check that I finally had all I needed, I rolled off. Hal 9000 started his math, and as I hit that 2.5 mile stretch of road leading to Mulholland I found myself thinking back to the images of Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallonne I’d seen recently. What gets you more pumped for riding than watching the pros in the spring classics?
I bet some of those guys only weigh 208 lbs.
Before I knew what was happening I was averaging 28mph over this 2.5 mile road. I felt GREAT. I was in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, baby, and I was on a breakaway! But then my intelligent, experienced cyclist mind kicked in and reminded me that I was less than 5 minutes into my ride… perhaps cranking at 28mph was not smart.
Ah, but I quickly decided that it wasn’t me – it was the crosswind with a semi-tailwind that I had convinced myself was a gale force tailwind that was propelling my feathery 208 lbs at over 28mph.
I hit Mulholland with full force and rocketed myself up the road, jumping out of the saddle and dancing on the pedals at every stinging roller. I was flying. I was Rolland on Alpe d’Huez. I was Rodriguez on the Mur de Huy.
And let me pause here to point out to those of you who are waiting for the falling shoe… I was feeling AWESOME.
I felt strong and fast and light, and thus, pushed harder, and thus, went faster. 208 lbs is just like weighing 145 lbs, apparently. I was loving every minute of this ride.
Until I had to stop because I could not pedal anymore.
Until I had to stop because I was moments from vomiting.
Until I had to stop and pray that a giant truck with a texting driver would crest the hill and permanently put me out of my misery because CYCLING IS THE WORST FREAKING THING IN THE WORLD.
There’s that shoe.
I was cooked. Exploded. Gassed. Dead.
And the best part?
I was just over six miles into my ride.
Now, I knew I would recover. You always recover. I learned that the first year of this project on the Unfat Machine.
You will always recover.
But I didn’t care. In that moment on the side of Mulholland, I didn’t care if I ever recovered. Bury me right there. Put up a little cross with a sign that reads “He only weighed 208 lbs.”
Even if I did recover, I did not want to pedal anymore.
Unless it was in the other direction. The direction of my apartment which I remembered held… a bed.
Yes. That’s what would get me to clip back in… ride to the mattress, young Fizz.
And so I did.
As I rolled downhill and began to recover, I noticed that the feeling of nausea was not leaving. The more I rode the sicker I felt.
I got to the end of Mulholland and turned back onto the 2.5 mile road.
Only 2.5 miles from sleep. This encouraged me because I remembered how quickly the 2.5 miles went by way back at the beginning of the ride.
Way back all those… minutes ago.
I pause here, dear readers, to drop some cycling science on you. So grab your notebooks and get ready to be enlightened. Here it is:
2.5 miles goes by much quicker if you’re averaging 28mph with a semi-tailwind, than if you’re averaging 13mph with a semi-headwind.
Yep. Heard it here first.
I felt like I was on that road for hours. I may still be on that road.
No, I’m not. I’m at Ladyface Alehouse and I’m eating MOULES-FRITES.
Yes, I am. Frites. As in fries.
I will return to my senses tomorrow. Until then, I’m sitting here drowning my sorrows in mussels and fries and iced tea.
208 lbs… what a crock of shi–
Ride your bike.
…I got nothing.
Watch out for the road idiots