Sure, I know it's been a down year for me (going back to December last)… seems every time I've gotten a good start going, something comes along to derail me <sigh>. Still, it's been 6 months since I've climbed my local lungbuster or anything else of consequence. But I've been feeling fresh and strong and have recently had a major load lifted so it was time to give it a go. Now, I can get into the whole climbers' gestalt (c.f.; pain, suffering) but there was nothing fun about this at all. 8/10ths into a 2 mile climb, I bailed. I was beaten down like a bug. I didn't even know if I had enough to go back down the hill and get back home. Oh my gosh. Home. I still had to climb up the 14% bump up to my house. In spite of many things, I just can't believe I'm so much more incapable of what many of you can do… I am slowly coming to the understanding that my lung capacity has a much bigger bearing on my limits than I realized… or, maybe, accepted.
And then I went out Saturday… I got 18 miles in but halfway into it, I was feeling some deep residuals from my encounter with the steps last month. I didn't know if I would be able to make it back. I gutted out the discomfort and did make it home and it just wasn't any fun. I was just riding out of desperation.
And then there I am limping home, limping home -literally- and I feel this guy riding behind me. He finally comes up alongside me on his Felt ("You drafting me?") and he starts chatting me up. He's gotta be 15, 20 years younger than me, easy. I didn't even check out what gear he was using but his pace was sure quicker than I usually keep in the gear *I* was riding. But I couldn't lose face and shift down. And I had to keep up my end of the conversation so I couldn't sound like I was grabbing for air.I was being pushed... we finally went our separate ways and I was a little bummed.
Ok, there was *some* fun… people were just diggin' my World Champion SF Giants Jersey.
Still, I feel like I've lost my joy -but not my need- for hard miles.