Knocking the Rust off

February 19, I had the longest mountain bike ride I have ever done. I was feeling good and even felt a little proud of myself! Then…a couple days later, I wasn’t feeling so good. I tried to muscle my way through it by doing a weight training workout, thinking I wasn’t fully sick, and I wasn’t. Alas, that turned out to be a mistake. I woke up feeling worse than ever. Oops.

It was a sinus yuck and then it was a chest yuck, and boy did it ever hang one! TICKED me off. I don’t have patience for stuff like this, and I was angry about losing my headway. Granted, I did get some needed reading done, and I was thankful for that. However now, I’m in the process of kicking the rust off my body, and this part isn’t fun b/c it had been three weeks since I’d been active – really active. I went from being in nearly constant motion to a complete sloth. That fact, alone, did a number on my psyche!

Last weekend, I started back toward the active life with what I thought would be an easy and not-too-long scout hike for geocaching. However, the leader of the hike got a little overzealous, and my son and I ended up doing almost twice the distance and finding twice the geocaches, all over bigger hills than expected.

7 miles.


Boy, did my feet hurt and my muscles grumble after that hike!

Plus, I had a mountain bike ride planned for the next day with some girlfriends, and I was concerned for how that would go after depleting myself so badly on the hike. As it turned out, everyone else wanted to go slow b/c one of my friends hadn’t been on her mtb in a year, and another just wasn’t feeling 100 percent, either. I was thankful for the slower than normal speed, and I was especially grateful just to be outside on two wheels, again.

After the busy weekend, I was too fried and tired to do a needed indoor “recovery” ride on Monday. So, I didn’t. Didn’t do one on Tuesday, either. I figured this was still part of the de-rusting process, and I’d get back to my usual line-up of rides, weight training, recovery, etc the following week (which is this up coming week).

Then Wednesday, my hubby and I joined a friend for an impromptu road bike ride – the 1st one of the year for me. I hadn’t been on my road bike since mid-November. She wanted to do no more than 20 miles and that seemed like a good starting distance to gauge my strength and endurance.

Sure, I knew that I’d have some back sliding from not road biking at all since November and from being sick for the last part of Feb and 1st half of March. However, I wasn’t at all prepared for the lack of strength I felt while climbing hills that last year were no problem for me at all.


That’s more the word for it. Okay sure, I had been sick, and yes, I’d been off my road bike for a few months, but I had hoped that the mountain biking I’d been able to squeeze in [b/t the bad weather and trail closures] and the weight training I’d been doing would have balanced some of that out.

I really and truly was not prepared to average only 15.2 mph on a route that I had been doing 17-18mph just this past fall. I really and truly was also not prepared to ache, claw and scratch my way up hills I had previous breezed up back in the fall.

::headdesk:: ::headdesk:: ::headdesk::

SOAB! It felt like I was starting out all over, again…and I wondered if all this work on the weight training and mtb was for naught. *sigh*

more ::headdesk::

Then comes Friday (yesterday), and my hubby and I squeezed in a quick mtb ride on our favorite trail system. I started my favorite trail feeling wobbly, tired and weak. My muscles complained and ached, and I got off in a couple spots where I’d been able to mash right through just last month. But…go figure! When I was done with the first round on that trail, I looked down at my heart rate monitor/watch with more than a measure of surprise. I had just nailed my fastest time on that trail since I started mountain bike riding a few short months ago. It was a minute and a half faster.

I’m. Still. Surprised.

Then, I went for round two on that particular trail, knowing that my first round is always the hardest. I had hoped maybe some of the achiness and weakness would have subsided as part of the warm-up process. (I always notice that my first round on a given trail is the hardest.) Alas, no. It was all still there. However here again, I bested my time, once again! This time by another 30 seconds over the previous round.

Huh? WTF. Gee, I feel like crap and I ride better than I ever have on that trail? Really?!

I can hardly wrap my head around this concept, but when I put some logic to it, I realized a couple things. First, I seem to have gotten braver with the downhills. I’m faster on them – more of a “bombardier”. During my second “run”, my husband commented later that he started to come up on me (spotting me ahead), but he had to work really hard to actually catch-up to me. Good! I heard someone behind me. I didn’t know who it was [b/c I only have eyes in the back of my head for my kids], and since I get passed fairly regularly on these trails by the experienced folks on fully geared bikes, I figured I’d at least make it a little harder for that person to do so. Ha! So, there. ;P

Second, I’ve finally managed to overcome my fears and ride my bike over all four of the log piles on this trail – one of which is quite large. (Well at least to this newbie, it is.) So, not having to dismount, walk over, get back on, and then get back up to speed saved me some time, I guess.

Still…I did walk in at least 3 places where I didn’t have to during previous mountain biking sessions. So, that adds more time. IDK, go figure.

So, I sit here in a maze of emotions. Proud of my mountain bike accomplishment yesterday and floored at my weakness on the road bike.

Hubby says I need to give my body some time and the muscle memory will kick back in. Perhaps. But patience has never been one of my strong points.