After getting the green light from my doctor, I waited for the right moment to return to the saddle. At first I had planned to come back this past weekend, but a cold spell changed those plans. For some reason the weather impacted the injury, making me think I might be dealing with a setback. Rather than make things worse, I decided to rest until it felt better. It was fine after the weather warmed up.
The plan was to simply ride an out-and-back route as long as I felt comfortable. If I felt soreness, I was ready to turn back for home. If I felt okay, I would keep going until I reached a major intersection, and then turn around and head back.
After nearly three months off the bike, I put my leg over the saddle, clipped in, and coasted down the hill. I was back. Woohooo!
I navigated the neighborhood roads, keeping my pace on the slow side, not wanting to burn out too early. At first, I dealt with a little bit of soreness, especially on the hills. I did my best to keep a decent form, and not pedal sideways and make things worse. After about three miles into the ride, the muscles warmed and the soreness had mostly passed.
Unfortunately, there are not many route options near my house that do not include hills. As it happens, the early part of today’s ride was mostly uphill until I reached Ridge Road. This is one of my favorite stretches of nearby road. It rolls and rolls, heading steadily downward in elevation. When I’m in peak form, I can pound the pedals and fly on this road. My momentum carries me up one hill, and then I build up speed going down the next, gaining speed with each hill.
Ridge Road this time would be a more labored affair. Even though most of it was downhill, I wasn’t able to power over the uphills, making it more of a slower grind. I still felt good when I reached the end, but turned around rather than overdo it.
The final distance was 12.5 miles, 500 feet of climbing with a 14.5 average. This was not a bad first attempt, especially considering I was not pushing hard enough to get my heart rate up. I still have some endurance, and could have kept going. Even though I’m not the rider I was a few months ago, I am encouraged that I’ll be back there, slowly but surely.