Back in the Saddle

I’m not entering triathlons this year so that I can stay focused on training for my first full marathon. Lately my workouts have been limited to running and lifting weights. No swimming. No cycling or spin class. No triathlon “bricks.” But after yesterday’s 12-mile run, I awoke this morning to sore, tired legs. Fortunately I had a remedy.

I had a date with nine cycling buddies for our first group ride of the year. I didn’t expect to enjoy the ride. I really wanted to sleep in. After all, I don’t need to cycle this year (no triathlons, remember?), but I knew the activity would flush the lactic acid from my aching muscles.

My group met at 6:15. Everyone sweetly agreed to the early start time so that I could join them and later attend church services. I hadn’t been on my bike since October. I expected to feel wobbly and unsure of myself; cycling is my weakest component of the triathlon.

I have to say, I felt great. Our organizer promised a flat course. She lied. We peddled up a few “beginner hills” that elevated my heart rate. I was delighted to charge make it up the hills without dismounting my bike for a walk of shame. I specifically remember walking those hills during my first rides last year. Of course, last year’s rides were my first since childhood.

While the cycling felt good, the camaraderie felt even better. I happen to be the youngest member of the group that assembled this morning. Our ages range from 49 to 72. Several of the 50 somethings cycle competitively. When doing local triathlons they place first, second or third in their age groups. We also have one new member who has less experience on the bike than I have.

While our ages and cycling skills vary we have something important in common: the desire to live healthy, active lives. It sounds cliché, but for us age really is just a number. I’m grateful for these friends because they model the way I want to live as I become the Pam Brown who is 50, 60, and 70 years old.

Once we finished the ride I realized I felt much better than I would have had I slept the extra two hours. My legs were no longer sore, I got a moderate workout (read, torched a few calories), and enjoyed great company.

Not a bad way to begin the week.

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