It’s been a mild winter. I rode yesterday because it was 50F, taking a variation of the bad-knee route I’ve been using since The Incident. It’s a good basic ride with lots of possible variations. The first climb is an easy 350 feet up to the spine of a typical Connecticut NESW trending ridge. Once you’re up there, it’s fairly flat for a long way through a mix of glacially blessed fields and hardwood forests. There’s even an airport.
Or, you can take one of many roads down the side. The east side is steeper than the west, and that’s what I did yesterday. The hill below the old Widmark place had some residual snowy patches on its steeper dirt parts that made me tense up thinking about my knee. But I consciously relaxed my shoulders, shifted my ass back a little, and took my weight on the pedals. It got fun again. Dropping down past the old Miller place I stopped at the intersection by McCourt’s place. There, the gloves came off, as did the head band, and I opened up every zipper on my jacket and jerseys before turning back up the ridge. A little beyond Calder’s the climb hits 23%. A week ago, I took a break partway up. Yesterday, I didn’t.
Taking a different ridge home, I rode some dirt. Soft from the warm day, mud splattered my black tights and made me work harder. At Bacon Road, I decided not to turn for home yet, but to see what it felt like to grind out Grassy Hill.
It was hard, but it’s always hard, especially on warm winter days when your tires leave serpentine tracks that reflect your struggle up a dirt hill. Other times, I’ve felt much worse at the top.
It felt normal. I like normal.