Seven whole days it has been. S E V E N! Even I can’t quite believe it has been that long off the bike. First couple of days are not bad. Day three you start to get the itch, and by day five it feels like a five alarm rash. All you can think of id that you have to get out there and pedal. But day five comes and goes and you find yourself entering rarely charted territory. How are you supposed to feel? What are you supposed to do? Nobody has ever come back from days six and seven and ever been the same.
Dramatic? Perhaps. Let me just say that when I rolled out of the driveway this afternoon, I was on a mission. To ride and to ride hard. The conditions were near perfect: almost no wind, drying roads, a pleasant 24c and no aggressive sun to sap the energy from you before it made it to the pedals. Let’s go!
One of the pleasant side effects, probably the only one, of being sans saddle for so long is that you’ve given your legs a chance to rest. They’ve completely recovered from all that commuting with a 25lb back pack and that hill climbing while standing in the pedals. They are ready to remind you what it feels like to ride fast. Today they did not disappoint. Lance once described those rides where you feel invincible as having “no chain”. Of course, turns out that he may have had additional assistance rendering the chain as the least of his worries, but still, I have always liked that expression. Today was one of those days. No chain! By the time I got to Parc Levesque where I planned on doing some intervals I was feeling very Graeme Obree half way through the one hour world record. That is to say it felt as if nothing was going to slow me down.
I underestimated the power of the “bike path rollerblader” in my calculations, however. Have you ever come up behind a rollerblader and wondered why they have to take up both lanes of what is ostensibly a fairly wide bike lane? The swooshing from side to side that almost deliberately consumes the east-west axis is infuriating. You watch them closely as you come up from behind and try and time your arrival to coincide with the far swoosh, but the problem is that you’re not dealing with people who are generally aware of their surroundings. The tell tale white wires hanging from their ears identify them as Apple shareholders which means that at that moment in time they have absolutely no idea you’re charging up behind them at almost 40 kph. Adding to the mix the seven straight days of rain which means a trip onto the grass would be certain disaster, and you’re left with no choice but to call out to advertise your impending arrival and if that fails hit the brakes!
Fortunately all interactions with both joggers and rollerbladers were successful, which means there was no interaction, or collision anyway. Unclipping in the driveway at home I was keen to check the stats and I was dead chuffed to see 37 km at an average of 32.2 kph. I know my time should have been quicker than that, but when you opt to hit the path on a Sunday afternoon you know you’re not going to be the only one.
This is one of my favourite rides and it is one that I do regularly. Always surrounded by water it’s almost perfect. Now if I could only find a way to dissuade others from using it! Ride safe.