I finally went cycling today – a sweet and steady 40kms around town. My first proper ride this year considering all those rides to Tesco, Bank, Roma and Chalk Farm didn’t even touch the 5km mark each.
The pain had been building up inside me for some time now. Cycling is, apart from being an exercise and a pastime, also my favourite way to relax (point 4 on this post) , clear any anxiety and cleanly gather my thoughts. Cycling cheers me up and not having had a good ride since end November was killing me. A few weeks ago, I realised I wouldn’t last long like this and might end up doing something stupid. So, I picked up the bike and went over and finally got the tyre & wheel issues sorted out at Evans. Then, just as I was ready to start cycling again, a couple of job interviews arrived making me delay the start yet again. By the time I got over with the second set of interviews, I was already publicly ranting that I needed to start cycling soon. But the weather had taken a turn for the worse again – 4 days of winds with average speed of 25-40 km/h. I had to wait again. Finally, yesterday the winds relented but thanks to an overnighter, I spent the day in dream-world. Out of frustration (at having missed on a perfect cycling day) and possibly as a side-effect of the two beers, I managed to sleep early yesterday and was rewarded with another mostly clear and mildly windy day today. After more than two months of dithering over minor repairs, hiding from bad weather and just procrastinating, I finally made it out today.
It was not easy. The wind seemed harder than the forecasts had suggested and my, usually powerful, legs much weaker than I’d known them to be. The 5 kgs I’ve put on since I last cycled only added to the dead weight. The mild inclines in roads felt like small hills, the lack of stamina was obvious within first half of the ride and the readings from heart rate monitor were pretty disturbing. The only thing that didn’t pain like it did last march was my bum – it had survived the winter without much softening up :)
I wasn’t as fast or aggressive on the usual sections (chelsea embankment and regents park outer circle) as I usually am, and the gears gave some problem while shifting (specially 5th to 4th). However, given the long break, the ride felt good and I even stopped for a sausage & bacon sandwich at Honest Sausage before completing the final 10kms.
Have decided to at least attempt to ride everyday this year with some ground rules for those attempts – rain is acceptable as a reason not to ride, cold is not acceptable, work may be acceptable on a one-off basis, using gym bikes when out of town is acceptable.
P.S.: Another piece of news has made me happy lately. A couple of close friends – let’s call them Apex & JB – are finally going on their long planned, long vacation. These two had been a rock of support for Rags and among my small circle of friends back in Bombay. They were also probably the only MBA grads I liked as people other than my 3 close friends and Rags. We all knew that they’d been planning for this vacation for a long time and, specially Apex, had their heart set on it. It broke my heart, as much as theirs, every time they postponed it due to family or professional responsibilities. My happiness quotient has jumped a few notches since they announced the news a couple of days ago. Can’t stop feeling glad for them. What makes me even happier is that LDN is on their route map :)