I Should Train for This: Day Two of 30 Days of Biking

Now that’s more like it—sort of.

Compared with yesterday's ride today’s bike ride felt much more in keeping with my usual riding, which represents a way of getting from Point A to Point B while having fun. (Think about it—how often do you arrive at a destination to which you drove and say, “Wow! That drive just ROCKED!”?)

It also represented a typical “spring” day in Spokane, which is to say that I saw sunshine, rain, wind, and even a brief flurry of hail. Luckily I viewed that last weather treat from the warmth of The Shop on Perry, where Belles and Baskets founder/friend Betsy and I hung out for a while drinking coffee.

We also got to sit in the background of a scene being shot for a 50-hour film festival, which meant we dallied because we couldn’t leave without messing with the scene’s continuity. We’re both crazy-mad for movies so we were all over this, although these roles will apparently be uncredited since they never asked our names. And they tried to get us to stop talking when they were rolling. Ha. We represent ambient sound, baby.

The ride to The Shop takes all of roughly four minutes from my house, all downhill. The only funny thing about the ride was clipping in with my bike shoes, since I’ve spent so much time riding in work clothes and shoes lately I’d almost forgotten what it feels like.

After the coffee break, I had promised Sweetheart I would run up the hill to Wheel Sport South to get some packs of Gu for his race tomorrow, the Frozen Flatlands.

That part of the ride reminded me that I haven’t been riding very hard or training this winter, and that I just came off a two-week stretch of upper respiratory flu and don’t have any lungs to speak of. Perry Street climbs steeply heading south to connect with Southeast Boulevard, which continues the climb to 29th.

So steeply, in fact, that I must confess to a little tiny “break” in that last block before the Perry/Southeast intersection. I got off my bike to—ahem—retie my shoes and just happened to push my bike that last block to the stop sign.

I’ve found on much longer and harder rides than this one—rides I routinely undertake and enjoy much later in the summer each year—that the pause that refreshes really makes a difference in how I feel about continuing a tough climb.

Sure enough, I pedaled on up the long hill without stopping, got to Wheel Sport, talked bikes with the shop guys a bit, got the Gu and headed back. All downhill, flying with gravity. A ride that took me about 15 minutes heading uphill was only 10 heading down, even with the headwind that started buffeting me partway down as the rain began to sprinkle.

I know I had a grin on my face that might have baffled the drivers who could only see the questionable weather. That earned acceleration—speed to which I feel entitled because I did the hard work of getting up the hill before coming down the hill—yields a special exhilaration unknown to the well-insulated people in their steel boxes. Now if I could just make it a tiny bit easier to do that uphill part….

For a while my sweetheart had a work routine that let him put in a pretty decent ride of around 18 miles round trip—commuting to train. After tackling that little hill climb today, I realized I need to train to commute.

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  1. Love biking in bluebird weather, but biking in the rough stuff gives me a boost. I'm alive!

  2. Well said, Cherilyn! I started out as a fair-weather rider but quickly learned what joy there is in just riding, no matter what.


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