Monday, May 14, 2012

Powerful and connected

That's how I felt on my tri bike on Sunday evening. It was the first time I've taken it for an outdoor ride this year (probably since last September), and it was magic!

I'd had a horrible swim Sunday morning, hosted Mothers' Day brunch for my mum and dad, run for an hour and fifteen minutes on a local trail after eating almost half of the fruit plate I made for the brunch (I don't recommend this), then started some short ribs braising on the stove. I was bound and determined to get a ride in on Dolph (my 2009 Cervelo P1) before dark, so at quarter past 7pm with tired legs I set out to get it done.

Delicious but dangerous.

I started off easy, just spinning in the small ring into a very light headwind on my way out to do my standard 20k time trial route. I told myself I could take it as easy as I wanted; the whole point was just to get a feel for the bike and my position, which had felt great on the trainer on Wednesday. With the Woodstock Triathlon only 2 weeks away, I needed to be sure that I could be comfortable down in the aerobars!

As my legs warmed up I was moving further and further down the cassette, so I shifted up to the big ring and let the pistons work a little. The back of my shoulders were feeling a bit of strain, but everything else was comfortable, my head was tucked nicely and my upper body was quiet. I could feel myself ducking under the wind, and reveled in the silence of my well-tuned ride.

Dolph and I at the Welland Half Iron last year

Turning out of the wind, I clipped along happily through a stand of trees, spotting two Canada geese with their goslings all resplendent in their pre-pubescent fuzz. My shadow chased alongside me, legs astir as we cut through the evening air. A dicey moment here making a turn in the aerobars at a gravel-strewn corner, a burst of speed there to make it through an intersection, and a few quick pumps of the legs to climb a small hill under an overpass. Glutes fire, cadence dips; up and over.

A sprint, now, to make a light, then rolling downwind toward the finish. Right turn, down the sweeping turn toward home, I laughed to see I was exceeding the speed limit with no special effort. Dolph and I wound our way into our little crescent, then 'round the final curve and into the driveway. 8pm on the nose; exactly the time I said I wanted to be done all my workouts for the day.

I'm delighted with the way bike and I performed together; the exhilaration was almost like my first ride on him, back in May 2009. As a matter of fact today is exactly 3 years since I got Dolph, though his baptismal ride wasn't until May 17th (after assembly by a local bike shop). I've put almost 5,000km on him since then, but few have been so satisfying as last night's ride - that feeling of connection with the bike, coming together to form something greater than the sum of our parts. Totally stoked for tri season now; I hear the battle approach and stand with my weapon at the ready!

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