We needed something to reach for to help us resume our regular exercise, so on Wednesday we finally registered for the City of Angels Fun Ride on the morning of May 4. We chose the recreational route, 34 miles with 1800 feet of climbing, rated as "moderate". It ends with the same tough uphill climb to the Los Angeles Police Academy as in the memorial ride in February.
I know that most of you would consider this type of ride as a stroll around the block, but I'm still a relative newbie and I've ridden only 3 times in the past 4 weeks, the last time just a 30-minute ride after work a few evenings ago. Four weeks ago we rode 40+ miles, so the distance is not an issue -- it's that hill.
My appetite and food intake have not been what they should be and I've lost a few pounds, though I have chosen healthy foods when I do eat and haven't skipped meals. My aerobic capacity seems to be the same, but my legs feel a little weaker. My sleep hasn't been good, awakening in the middle of the night. Mentally and physically, I endured 3 weeks that felt like a mental nightmare (I still wake up and wonder if I was having a nightmare), and my mind and body are grieving the loss of my dad. I am not up to snuff.
In my current state of mind, I didn't notice that the ride is only one week from this coming Sunday. What was I thinking???!!!
I figure I'll need to devote myself to preparing for this ride by riding as often as I can between now and May 4, but not over-doing it. The weather isn't great this weekend for long daytime rides (90 degrees), but the forecast is for a return to normal (mid-70s) by ride day.
From your experience.... Have I really lost much fitness given the little activity I've had and my current condition? What is the most effective way to prepare for this ride, especially that last uphill climb at the end? I'm thinking of riding at least 1 hour every day except perhaps 2 days of rest, or an easy spin on those days. I'll be sure to eat well this week and probably enjoy the same pre-ride meal as before -- large chicken breast, broccoli, and rice.
Or -- am I over-reacting?
My dad would be thrilled that I'm doing this and I'll imagine him cheering me on from the side as I hammer up that last hill to the Police Academy where I spent many childhood summers in the pool. He continued to visit there with his class of '46 buddies as recently as a month or so before his passing. It was a second childhood playground in a sense and still holds a lot of sentimental value for me. The ride is also for a good cause -- to support the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Blood Mobile Fund. He loved children (and they loved him) and we requested donations to the hospital in lieu of flowers.