6 slow, awkward, steady, incredibly blissful miles.
I got home from work thinking that I would spend the evening tracking down my bike stuff and ride tomorrow. After all, aside from the one-mile pre-surgery ride (which I don’t count), my last ride was September 7th, 2013. That’s eight months of sitting on the couch trying to not think about riding my bike, but not a day passed where it didn’t cross my mind. Thanks to my wife, all my cycling necessities were not too hard to find.
Why do something tomorrow when I can do it today?
I kitted up, filled up a small water bottle, and got ready to take the saddle. Even though my hip has healed a great deal, it still is sore and I had to be careful. I first clipped in on the injury side, which has been my habit, and felt a twinge of soreness. That wouldn’t work. I led with my left, the stronger leg. As I first clipped in and pushed off, I was a bit wobbly. For a moment I wondered whether I would fall, something that I haven’t done in years. I got the pedals around just enough to coast down the nearest hill, and from there, I was moving. I was back.
The plan was not to ride hard. This is all about revisiting something I love, getting a feel for it again, and testing whether I feel any pain. I started out slowly, not even looking at my speed, just focusing on my cadence and pedal stroke. I intentionally rode around quiet neighborhoods with rugged roads, just because they would keep me from opening it up. This isn’t the day for me to set any records.
Riding a bike is like riding a bike. Muscle and mental memory take over. Before I knew it, I was comfortably pedaling and keeping decent form. The hip was not bothering me, but I’ve learned not to take it for granted. I kept going slow.
What a relief it was to be back on the bike again. I wanted to capture the moment, but the neighborhood was not exactly picturesque. Instead I tried to go for a picture of me looking down at the biking. I’ll need practice with my camera work too.
My doctor told me I’ll be sore after my first ride. I’m not now, but I expect it tomorrow, and I’ll give myself a couple days to recover. I am encouraged. For not being on the bike for so long, I surprisingly have a little bit of strength and fitness, which I can credit to my physical therapists.
This is probably the beginning of the end of my physical troubles. Sunny skies are ahead.