First Hot Ride

I had a side gig with my friend Patrick this morning doing some demo in a basement. Even demo is fun when you’re working with someone who gets it. Got home around 11, and went for a bike ride. It was just shy of 90F when I left the house, the first time I’ve ridden in the heat this year. I was looking forward to it – Heat doesn’t bother me as much as it does some.

Cycling has been frustrating since I sprained my wrist – I’ve needed to take it easy enough for healing, but I don’t want to lose fitness that I’ll have to beat the shit out of myself to regain. I think I’ve managed that pretty well, first riding the trainer, then going out on paved roads. I rode a slow, 34 mile gravel grinder Thursday night with a couple of friends. I don’t want to ride with the fast guys or on the trails until I’m sure the wrist is good enough that that kind of riding won’t cause a setback. It hurt by the time I got home, but I was fine Friday morning.

Today, I went out alone with the intention of pushing hard on dirt roads. A normal ride here includes about 100 ft. of climbing per mile. Today, I did 16 miles and climbed 1900 feet – A lotta up. I set a Strava PR climbing Flag Swamp and one climbing Garnet, then slacked off for the rest of the ride. I was pretty confident of both PRs before I uploaded my Garmin to check. On the first, the hard parts weren’t crushing – They just felt like riding up a hill. The second, Garnet Road, is one with sections I was walking less than a year ago. As I rode it today there was no question I’d be able to ride the whole thing. It still hurt, but I’ve never had that kind of confidence there before.

So, my fitness is okay. And the wrist did okay, especially considering the work I did this morning.

The climb up Apple Lane was largely in the sun. By the top of Old Roxbury Road, the heat had me sagging. I stopped by the ancient cemetery and just enjoyed the breeze and the shade. Two monuments there explain how this was the site of the first church in Roxbury. They, the cemetery, and the trace of an old road through the woods are the only remaining hints of this.


From there, I pointed the GT down the hill to the beaver dam, and up the sharp, short climb after. Intersecting Bacon Road, I could have turned right and been home in 3 flat miles. But this was the first ride when my wrist had felt, if not fine, then at least not painful, so Gravel Gertie and I crossed Bacon and soft pedaled a few hundred feet higher up Grassy Hill before heading home.


About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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