I got off work at 11 and arranged to meet a friend at 1:30 for a short ride.
I intended to cycle 10.2-miles to the meeting place,
But I dozed off sitting in the chair while waiting for the electric kettle.
When I woke, it was too late to cycle to meeting place and be on time.
And since I was still in civilian clothing, I was probably going to be late even driving.
The timing of my arrival was pretty good.
I arrived at the intersection of Kemp and Coley roads just as friend rode through.
Friend continued down Coley as I parked and got ready to ride.
Toward NC-98 from Kemp is basically a downslope affair.
However, on this day, with legs tired from work, the saddle seeming too high, and into the wind,
I was convinced that the first mile-plus was all up a slight incline.
I met friend about 0.4 miles short of the "bottom" of Coley Rd,
Said "bottom" being the T-intersection at NC-98.
Joining friend heading upslope, into the bright sun, with a tailwind,
I immediately commented that I was a bit over-dressed for the upslope.
We mostly rode side-by-side on the no-traffic road.
But I would follow at the U-turns at the "bottom" and "top" of Coley.
Also, the first three times going up, there was one location when I faded back each time.
The legs did not like the slight increase in the incline there,
Combined with the apparent bounce-back headwind along that stretch,
I could not hold the pace needed to stay alongside friend.
After the first hour, my lower back, esp. on the left side, began to giving off pain signals.
Pain there is always a sign that I've been pushing too big a gear,
Or pushing the "correct" gear too hard.
I mentioned that, although my legs might be starting to feel better, I needed to back of the pace a bit.
Friend mentioned that her knees were bothering.
THAT is definitely NOT good.
I urged changing to an easier gear / a larger cog.
I doubt that was done.
Although I did back off the effort as mentioned above,
My legs started feeling better,
Or perhaps they were past feeling pain.
The "fast" cadence seemed to become easier.
I may have changed to a smaller cog / harder gear / faster gear.
The cadence may have increased.
Whatever, I started riding faster.
The last six or seven miles, the legs felt fine.
I could push the pace.
The back did not complain.
I seemed to have pushed through a pain barrier.
That has happened before, but not too often.
Maybe the next ride with friend, I'll have already passed through the pain barrier,
And it will be easier to ride friend's higher pace.
I certainly hope so, because riding with friend is likely to get tougher and tougher.
Previous outdoor ride this year, February 28th, was a 30-miler.
The ride, the third (?) outdoor ride of the year for friend, was a 41-or-so-miler.
Next week is likely to be a 50-miler.
The week after that, 60.
And the pace will not reduce.
It will likely feel as if training.
For me, I mean.
Friend will likely just zip along with no noticeable change in effort, or breathing, or pedaling.
Lame story, I know; but it is mine, and I'll be sticking to it.
~ 4 1/2 loops on Coley Rd, with she-who-must-not-be-named; 32.5 m; 2h09 in-mot; 15.0 mph.
Jan tot: _4 rides; _314.7 m; 24h08; 13.0 mph; _451 RUSA kms.
Feb tot: _4 rides; _357.8 m; 25h28; 14.0 mph; _509 RUSA kms.
Mar tot: _1 rides; __32.3 m; _2h09; 14.0 mph; ___0 RUSA kms.
YTD tot: _9 rides; _704.8 m; 51h25; 13.6 mph; _960 RUSA kms.