But no. I am not back.
And my most recent ride pretty much proved that...
Since given the clearance to ride by my doctor, I've been on some rides with John, some rides on my own, and some rides with a few select friends, here and there. My confidence is very shaky in terms of being able to keep up with others, and the climbs that I once sought out eagerly now seem to mock me, so I've been hesitant to go on group rides.
I have been trying to build up gradually. But with all that's been going on over the last few months, my return has been sporadic. And now I seem to have plateaued at rides of 90-100 kilometers, what to the casual observer may seem like a long ride, but to my former self, was a walk in the park.
The problem with coming back from an injury or time away for any reason, is that we remember what we used to do. And for me the memory is fresh. Normally at this time of year, I've already done a few 200km and 300km rides. A year ago, I was training away for a fixed gear fleche ride of over 400km in 24 hours in mid May. And I was excited about climbing lots of mountains and maybe breaking the 1.5 hour barrier on Mt Washington after coming so close the year before.
Have patience, grasshopper. I've lost a lot of core and leg strength and it's just going to take time to get that back. I totally get that.
I remember these previous rides and the siren calls to me. But I cannot answer... yet.
I tore up any plans I had for this year and am really just taking things one ride at a time. Every ride for me is a new milestone. The clock is definitely ignored. It's just about having fun ... in the sun - well it'd be nice to have some sun again, but so far it's just been wishful thinking!
The tandem has been great, as tandems tend to be, by allowing me to hang with a group that otherwise would leave me in the dust. And now that the woods are finally free of snow, I've been enjoying getting out on some trails for some quiet rides, albeit with quite a bit of hiking over the bumpier stuff.
So a few weeks ago I'd reached a point where I was feeling ready to resume my Tuesday social rides with friends.
I put this disclaimer on the Tuesday rides page to be sure that folks would know to expect a more relaxed pace with more frequent and longer stops.
Tuesday rides resume. The fixie pixie is riding again. I'm slower and keeping the distances down for now. Shocker: I am driving to and from rides. Lunch stops are even more important than ever, as a chance for me to stretch and rest and I usually need another short break partway back from lunch. If you are willing to tolerate a mellower pace and help me in my recovery, please join me. Warning: If you drop the ride leader, you will be publicly shamed and not invited back.
The first Tuesday ride landed on a dreary day and I had just one person join me for half the ride and another met me at the lunch spot. Last week, we had glorious weather and quite a few folks came out for a ride that was a bit shorter and flatter than the usual fare. It went well. I had plenty of company and the group stayed together.
But yesterday didn't go so well. It was cold. The ride was back to my usual Tuesday distance and usual Tuesday hills. It was cloudy and misty and cold. Despite that, quite a few folks showed up. However they seemed to want to go hard to stay warm.
I got dropped.
Every time the road pitched up.
Not a fun day out.
I wonder... If I rub tuna on my legs, will the cats play with me?