This past Sunday morning a group of 10 cyclists took off on a 50-mile ride from Aurora out to Big Rock and back. The course was nicely crafted by an engineer in our group for an enjoyable route of quiet country roads. There weren’t many hills, but that’s a product of glaciation 10,000 years ago. You can’t fault even an engineer for that.
It was down close to 30 degrees fahrenheit as we set out on the ride. We jokingly complained about numb fingers but I took precautions to protect the middle finger on my left hand that had been operated on last fall due to infection from a sliver. The finger now has poor circulation and turns white in cold weather. You have to know where your limitations lie at times.
The group mostly stuck together but soon enough the fittest riders rolled ahead and the group split up a bit. At those moments every rider has to determine for him or herself what they want from the day’s effort. You can bust your thighs into hamburger trying to keep up or accept that due to circumstance and choice you’ve ridden only three or four times in the last few weeks. Weather and darkness and business obligations all combine in autumn to reduce the cycling miles.
So I watched the group advance ahead of me after 20 or so miles and settled in at 18 mph in a crosswind that wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t speeding along but neither was I crawling. The tagalong yo-yo effect happened a couple more times during our 50 mile ride and it would have been easy to get upset over the inability to keep up. Even when I was protected in the pace line my thighs were tired and on the edge of dodginess.
Finally I had some company off the back of the group with a woman that in September completed her first Ironman in Wisconsin. I’d been there to watch her cross the line and had been on training rides and runs with her. “This is the first time on the bike since Madison,” she chuckled. I’ve been tired since we started out.”
There is still a bit of racing to be done this fall, likely winding up with Turkey Trots around the Thanksgiving Holiday here in America. After that it’s a time for rebuilding.
But it sure felt good to give in and give up a little and let the legs find their own pace. There’s no sin in that, just as there is no sin in rocking your partner’s world when the occasion comes around.
It’s all good. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.