Up until yesterday, I'd been off-bike for nearly four weeks: 2 weeks of illness, a week on holiday and a few days before all that of being lazy. Whilst being ill, I'd lost 7kg, most of which was muscle mass: I'd noted earlier my fears about where this was from; so it was with some trepidation that I got back on my bike this morning to head into work. The morning ride was a bit chilly, but surprisingly comfortable & I was relieved that I felt rustier rather than significantly worse than before.
After an absolutely shattering & fantastically busy day at work, I got back on my bike in gorgeous sunshine, feeling the relief that comes with knowing that you've got 10 days away from work. & I hit the roads hard: no point in holding back when recovery isn't an issue!
You know those days when things just flow? Those days when things don't phase you at all and everything just works? I had one of those!
It took my a couple of miles to find my legs, then I hit the hill on the way home & was delighted that I could climb it faster than last time I tried. I've lost about 4% of the weight of me & the bike just now (having put a chunk of what was lost back on), but appear to have lost less than this in power output. It's rare for me to do a heavily trafficked climb after a good while off & really enjoy it: I was actually disappointed when I reached the top. From there on, the road just rolls. & they've re-tarmaced the useless, side-of-the-road-full-of-potholes-&-grit cycle path, to make it incredibly smooth & pothole free & I just flew down it; riding over the lumps as if they weren't there, pushing 30mph up the 1 or 2% slopes. I lost everything that has been stressing me out over the last few weeks; forgot all the things I need to do tonight; couldn't feel my slightly sore wrist; no longer felt tired & worn out. I came alive & it was just me & the bike & nothing else.
On getting home, I had to explain to my puzzled wife why I was grinning like an idiot. 90 mins after getting home, I'm still finding that I'm smiling & the muscles in my face are getting sore. My legs feel great, I feel stunning, but my face hurts from smiling to much....
Today exemplifies what I love about cycle commuting: every now & again, you find a place that is filled with utter joy; where everything feels great; where you transcend all the limits & all the crap that drags you down & find yourself just riding fast & loving it. & what makes it even better is that you know that you've earned it; that you've got it through hard work. & you know that you'll get it again, but can't really control when, except by working hard & suffering on the less good days.
Today is why I cycle & why I feel slightly sad for folk who haven't experienced this.
I love my bike!