You ride. You train. You do intervals and sprints. You climb hills. You work on your breathing and conditioning. You chart your miles and watch what you eat. Then one glorious day, it all comes together. And suddenly, even the hardest training ride seems almost effortless, and you remember why you love this sport in the first place.
I’m not there yet.
I’m still working my way back from a bad accident last fall. The kind where you lose consciousness — and a lot of blood — the paramedics rush you to the hospital and you spend a night in intensive care, hooked up to enough monitors to manage a space launch. The kind that keeps you off your bike for four months, and makes your wife think you’re crazy for even thinking about getting back on it again.
You know, that kind of accident.
I’m getting close, though. I started riding again shortly after New Years, slowly building my way back up to 50+ mile rides, and a cruising speed of 18 – 20 mph. I’ve got most of my strength back, though I still need to work on hill climbing, and for some reason, I haven’t been able to get a handle on my breathing yet. Then there’s those last few pounds I still need to drop, left over from the 15 or so I packed on during my enforced sabbatical on the couch.
But it won’t be long now. One of these days, I’ll hop on my bike, and suddenly, it will feel natural again, like I was born in that saddle. And I can just ride — anywhere, with anyone — without having to think about it.
I’m looking forward to that day. Because it’s been a long, hard ride to get back there.