Morning Spin

Spent the hour from eight to nine–the first hour of my first retired workday–on my bicycle, with the trainer set to freewheel, just spinning my pedals and the rear wheel. After years of arriving at work with a daily plan, it’s a definite change of pace.

Rode just short of 23 imaginary miles at a cadence that was usually around 90; pretty mild exercise that only briefly got my heartbeat over 120 bpm. That’s OK for a first ride. It’s been over a month since I was last in the saddle and my total mileage (real miles) for the year is a bit under 400. So today’s ride’s about getting comfortable on the bike. Tomorrow’s, too. Been here before.

Unless you ride your bike year-round, the first sessions are about your legs, about the saddle, and perhaps about your hands. This part’s always painful, and that pain’s the reason many folks never get serious about bicycling. I’ve done this enough to know I’ll get past it; in a week or so I’ll find my comfort zone and start devising ways to train my heart and lungs. Those are more satisfying pains, and I’m looking forward to them.

I don’t usually do a tensionless spin; frankly, if I wanted to make a habit of that I’d dig out the rollers and set up one of the bikes as a fixee. But sometimes a simple spin is instructive, even on a trainer, for the same general reasons coaches recommend roller riding. Spinning is, well, spinning, and a free spin reveals flaws in technique that are masked on the road or even by the tensioned trainer. And oh was I finding flaws this morning. My left leg isn’t pulling its load, and there’s a definite hitch at the top of my right foot’s cycle. And the longer I worked on things, the worse the hitch got. Maddening.

We’ll have to see how tomorrow goes.