Early Season Cycling Pains

First Spring Training Ride

It’s been a pretty long, cold winter. Most of my friends have complained about it, exclaiming "I’m over this winter," and "Bring it, spring!" since Martin Luther King Day. But I enjoy the long winter because it allows me to savor the months when there’s work for me and because it feels like there’s a lot of semester left for writing my dissertation. But winter makes me inert. It makes me slow. And I am usually quite out of shape by the time the spring equinox rolls around.

Being out of shape was most evident on Saturday when I rode with the New York Cycle Club for a 59-mile bike ride from Sakura Park to Pizzarena in West Nyack, and back to Central Park. It was my first long ride since last summer. And I was completely out of shape. I began cramping up on the return particularly on the hills on Route 9W. The group kept dropping me despite a good number of the members being my parents’ age.

Once I figured out that they had dropped me, I took my sweet time. I used the restroom twice: once at the Englewood Cliffs Police station and again at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. I rode at a pokey 15 miles per hour, but took it easy on the hills because I wanted to avoid the painful cramping.

When I returned home, I found a couple of mechanical issues with my bike. First, the front tire had a bulge, suggesting that the thread had started to weaken. I could have been in some real trouble should my tire had burst while I was riding, especially since my group was well ahead of me. Second, my rear wheel was significantly out of true. I seem to remember this when I rode it as some point last year. I had loosened my rear brake as triage and made a mental note to repair it later. As with most mental notes, I had forgotten it and thought that my brakes needed a simple adjustment. Nope, my bike really needs a proper tune up.

Wiped Out

Discovering that I am out of shape and that my bike needs some work has been a brutal but necessary start to the cycling season.

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