It was right about the halfway point of my bike ride yesterday evening that it clicked: God, I’ve missed cycling.
This was the first ride I’ve been on since January, when I made the ill-considered decision to jump on the bike on a cold day sans protection beyond my usual Giro, T-shirt, and shorts. My sinuses felt like someone was hammering cold nails into them. Big nails. With a big hammer. At night in the Arctic.
Okay, just a smidgen of hyperbole, but I’ll be the first to admit I’m a wuss when it comes to cycling in the cold. Part of it is, yes, I need to wear clothing appropriate to the weather. And there was also a lot of rain this past winter. But the other part is that I’m a cold-weather-riding wuss. I know SoCal isn’t exactly Minnesota, but I’m talking relatively.
I took my relatively frost-bitten body into the gym, which is where I’ve been holed up since January. My poor bike’s front tire slowly deflated over the next four months, from its whimpering and whining in the garage. “As soon as it warms up,” I told it, averting my eyes as I backed the car out. I imagine it sighing as the garage door descended, leaving it in dusty darkness for another day, alone.
Truth be told, it’s been more than warm enough on and off for a month or more now, but the gym habit was taking care of my endorphin needs. And my sinuses were probably exerting some sort of mind control after their winter trauma.
At last yesterday, with enough weeks past the spring equinox so that even my sinuses had to admit it was warm enough, I found myself in the same riding outfit, inflating the front tire of my bike. While I didn’t wind up needing the 376 gallons of water I took with me just in case, the 8-mile ride was just awesome. Thanks to the gym work I’ve been doing, those hills that used to kick my ass weren’t so bad anymore.
This year, I promise to pick up some cold-weather gear so I can keep on the bike next winter.