April 27, 2009

First ride in 2.5 years

Yesterday I took my first bike ride in over 2.5 years. There were a number of uncertainties going in:

  • I had a new pair of shoes along with new cleats, picked up in anticipation of riding in 2007 that never happened. I remember having a little trouble getting used to the clipless pedals and my muscle memory for getting in and out was gone. So I anticipated at least one tip-over where I'd need to stop but forget to twist my heel.
  • My bike had been in the basement for the whole time; what crud had it accumulated? Would the tubes and tires be in good shape?
  • Physically, I've been exercising fairly regularly since early February. But running on a treadmill and riding a sit-down exercise bike is very different than being in the real world.
  • Stuff I didn't know I didn't know.

I went on my normal path of the Montour Trail. Typically I'll get on just off the Montour Run exit from the Parkway, but the Parkway was closed this weekend from 79 westbound, so instead I drove up to Coraopolis.

One thing I'd forgotten was that the trail goes slowly but steadily uphill. I used the My Tracks application on my phone to plot the course; it told me the elevation change from start to midway was about 350 meters. Fortnately, that means that the ride back was downhill.

Another thing I'd forgotten was how to downshift! Seriously. I'd only ridden this bike a handful of times after I got it in 2006, and it's the first road bike I've had. Eventually I figured out that moving the brake lever inward (for the rear gear) downshifted. Dumb.

I wound up covering nearly 22 miles in 1.75 hours. Not a great pace, but better than I expected. No tip-overs. And physically things were okay, though I'm a little sore the next day. But it's a good sore, like a "my muscles are there" sore, vs. a "I don't want to move" one.

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