Perhaps you'll recall that time, oh so long ago, when I mentioned I was getting a new bike.
She arrived in October -- small and sleek and barely weighing anything at all. I named her Muppet, after Chrissie Wellington (who is famously clumsy -- like me! -- and also shits her pants during races and still goes on to become Ironman World Champion -- maybe pooing yourself is not such a bad thing). And I took Muppet out for a spin down the rural roads behind the office and couldn't believe how she flew.
And then I left her in the garage and went into marathon mode, which was followed by recovery mode, then flu mode, then holiday fat-kid mode and then my-job-is-crazy-nonstop-travel mode. So poor Muppet just sat there.
My friend Karen and I met for a ride. We had no idea how far we were going to go -- it was ridiculously cold (morning temperatures were in the 20s, and it never got warmer than 50), and both of us were, ahem, "recovering" from a little holiday excess. So we kept it slow and easy -- just enjoying the sights.
That's right: Enjoying. When was the last time I did that on a ride? All of the cycling I've done has been about getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, hitting a certain mileage target or working on a specific goal. And because of that, I've gotten stressed out and frustrated since I'm not as strong of a rider as many of my friends. (It feels pretty crappy when you get dropped on a group ride.)
But yesterday was completely different. We had no plans. We stopped when we felt like stopping, like at this old train depot in Kenwood.
We circled back to look at things on the side of the road. We pointed out cottages tucked away under trees, sprawling gardens, funny-looking mailboxes, cute dogs. And without even really noticing it, we ended up riding to Glen Ellen and back -- 33 miles!
Yes, even the tiniest hill made us huff and puff. Yes, we took a detour looking for Jack London's writing cottage and ended up encountering a scary man I thought might kill us. (Imagine a plaid shirt and a knit cap, inching ever closer, uttering: "Guuuuurls, this is a private road ... ") And yes, a key highlight of the ride was the hot lentil soup break.
Not exactly the most athletic endeavor, but man, it was the most fun I've had on a bike in awhile.
We're already planning our next ride. We'll be choosing the route based on where we want to eat. I think I may have found the perfect cycling buddy.