Last year, I spent a lot of energy getting ready for the cycling season. I was on Zwift throughout the winter and went on a bunch of pre-season rides whenever the weather permitted. This year, I took it a bit easier. Mostly, I just pondered if I should buy some new equipment and thought back to my vacation in Morocco.
So, the start of the official cycling season was upon me on Saturday. It crept up quickly, but I managed to get my membership organized in plenty of time and put off any thoughts of new cycling computers and new gloves. I am going to have to replace my gloves soon, but I don’t feel in a particular rush ….until I look at the holes my gloves are developing. I found and washed my water bottles (which have now traveled on 4 continents). I even discovered that I had lots of electrolyte powder (Skratch) for the ride. This is preparation for the ride, but it isn’t preparation for the riding.
I got the bike off the trainer and got the wheels on and pumped up. A quick inspection reveals that the bike could use some love, but there wasn’t time. Maybe this is something I could outsource this year.
Surprisingly, I woke up early enough to get ready at a relaxed pace. I got my sunblock on, ate some food which wouldn’t leave me feeling too bad, got my documents together, got my Cliff bar, started Strava and away I went. Normally my morning procedure on group ride days is a bit more frantic. Maybe I am finally learning my lesson.
The turnout for this year finally resembled something like it was pre-pandemic. I chose the C group but by the first hill we joined with the B group and nobody was left behind. If this is the speed of the B group, I could certainly swing it. We ended up with about 12 riders which made for a nice paceline and allowed some people to get a break. It also meant that we followed the planned route rather than a cobbled together route–which often meant going to the same place last year and really didn’t satisfy me.
The day was excellent. When I left home it hadn’t warmed up yet and my fingers were a bit unhappy and cold. From Wednesday to Friday the temperatures had been frigid, but I was expecting something a bit better for Saturday morning. By the time we rolled out as a group things had warmed up considerably.
There were an incredible number of people out on the road–thankfully most of them seemed to be going in the opposite direction that we were. There were hundreds of riders out on the roads. I guess all those people who bought bicycles during the pandemic were still determined to put them to use.
The ride was quite good and we did about 63kms. When I added the 14 round trip kilometres I did to get there and back, I felt pretty good about my distance. I felt strong throughout the ride and the hills didn’t give me pause to worry (except the final one which I practically crawled up).
It was good to get out on the bike.