I rode the Pond yesterday, the third or fourth time in as many weeks. Yesterday was with two younger and fitter guys. Strangers I was showing the trails, they kicked my ass in a gentlemanly way. Even though I pushed hard, I’m not in my 30s anymore.
It was good though. I only felt like puking once or twice, and I made it up one pitch for the first time since my surgery. I hit two technical sections that I’d just begun to clean last week as if they were easy. The ride left me hungry for the rest of the day but my legs didn’t feel burnt.
This morning I woke up feeling that feeling that only cycling has ever given me. It comes every so often when I’ve picked up my riding pace. Nothing hurt. The normal aches of middle age weren’t there. I felt lean and strong, aware of the steady beat of my heart.
It’s as if I’m at a threshold. I’m not in my best shape yet, but my body is ready to be pushed. My mind pictures the joyful pain of rising from the saddle to punch out a climb like I couldn’t have done a month ago. It’s a moment I chase, and one to be relished.