I have ten rides in on Zwift now. The first was just two weeks ago; 2.1 flat miles and 10 minutes long. The knee was stiff, and until it loosened up after a minute or so, painful as well.
Today though, I rode an hour on a respectably hilly course. Pushing hard, I chased down Zwifters who passed. On the long hill, riding right at my lactate threshold cut my time from 15 minutes and change to 14 minutes and change over my previous attempt. Overall, an hour netted me 16.8 miles, a pretty good average speed.
But then I made the mistake of comparing my Zwift PRs on Strava to those of my friends. Despite the fact that I used all the sizzle in my pizzle, I was mostly dead last in PRs. Now, I’m rarely at the top of that chart, but neither am I at the bottom. It was sobering. And it’s not the knee that’s slowing me down, but the fact I’ve been off the bike for five months. A lot of fitness has evaporated.
So, that was depressing, although not unexpected by my rational brain. I rode hard this morning. My relative effort exceeded my normal when riding roads and trails. My quads were burning and I was sucking in air and the sweat and the snot were flowing at flood stage.
And I sucked.
But then I thought about my first ride two weeks ago, and compared to that, I was on rocket fuel, Baby! Rocket fuel! Five months since my 58 year old body had ridden regularly and one month since surgery. Of course I sucked. This is just the baseline. There’s the whole winter in front of me now, months when I can explore the pain cave. Come spring, I think I won’t suck.