Life is always easier if you're in the right gear.

Back in the Saddle…Finally

It’s been six weeks since I spent some serious time on my new bike, even longer since I’ve written about it. So, let’s just take a minute and bring everyone up to speed on the new bike and reasons why I haven’t been riding as much in spite of the gorgeous weather.

First off, the new bike is fabulous. It.just.fits. I push myself too hard. I ride too long. I don’t drink enough water, and I usually forget to bring food along with me. Even so, with a very hectic and busy life, I’ve managed to put 350 miles on the bike since I purchased it. Today, after almost six weeks off the bike, I managed to eek out 36 miles in the unseasonably warm Southern Oregon heat.

LIfe has been busy. Spring, for teachers, is like tax season for accountants or Christmas for retailers. It is almost as busy as late August, just before school starts up. Ad to this, the fact that I’ve been fairly involved in the school board campaign in my school district, and you have the recipe for long work days, late nights, and no riding time. I also spent the last four weekends out of town, so good-bye weekend rejuvenation via two wheels.

Today, was perfect. I woke up when I woke up without an alarm. I puttered around and got ready to ride. I hit the pavement late, around 11:30 a.m. It was already very warm out. I figured I’d just head out toward Jacksonville and see where I felt like going after that. It was a beautiful summer day, which is weird, because it is only early May. It wasn’t long before I felt the six weeks of inactivity thundering through my head like a sledgehammer on rails. I slowed my pace, eased up on the gears and just kept pedaling. I also made sure to take frequent stops. I usually like to try to ride right on through, but the fact that I was just getting back into it, combined with the heat, made me more cautious than I usually am. After all, I’m planning to ride again tomorrow with my son and I don’t want to call it quits early.

Here are some views along the way:

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I rode into Jacksonville, found a bench in the shade out in front of the Good Bean Coffee Shop. As I was sipping my water and resting a bit, this woman rides up on a Moots Compact. Titanium frame. Yeah. Impressive. You don’t see that every day, especially in this valley. Somebody riding a Moots deserves honor. So I honored her, and took a picture of her bike while she went in for coffee.

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When she came back out, I commented on her bike, we struck up a short conversation. She gave me some sage advice about having food on my rides, a snack every 20 minutes or so to keep the body from eating muscle instead of continuing to burn fat. I do need to get better at this. I left the house today with nothing but two water bottles. Not the smartest plan for one attempting a 30+ mile ride. I said good-bye after a bit and headed out of Jacksonville toward Ashland. Ten minutes later, Moots Lady passes me. She was hauling at a pretty nice clip. Much faster than me, but not so fast that she disappeared from view. I managed to keep her in my sight for a couple of miles. Someday, I’m going to grow up and be just like that, I thought.

I stopped in Talent, for lunch at the Grotto. I then got on the Greenway and headed south to Ashland. I’d hoped to make to exit 19, but it soon became clear that the heat combined with the headwind was going to tire me and I was concerned about making it home. So, I stopped at this bridge, one of my favorite places along the greenway, and took an inaugural picture of my new bike.

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I’m home now. I clocked 36.6 miles, and I haven’t even checked how much time it took. I’m sure my stats suck. I wasn’t my best day as far as performance goes. It was, however, a perfect day because I was able to do what I love to do most: get out on my bike and ride. I just started riding and let my body tell me how far to go. I had no agenda, no time frames, no pressure. For me, it’s the best way to leave the world behind.


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Hi, I'm Cat A.Olson, @According2Cat on Twitter, or @TheDigitalCat on Instagram, and I write about my cycling adventures. In 2010, after 25 years off the bike, I decided to get a bike and start riding again. In 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early and completely curable form of breast cancer. I had five weeks of radiation treatment and I rode my bike to nearly every treatment. In 2013, I decided to get a faster bike. I'm finally getting serious about losing weight, and riding really fast with the cool kids.

I ride every chance I get, as fast as I can, for as long as my body will allow. I'm learning how to embrace challenges like helmet hair, padded pants, clipless shoes, flat tires, bugs in my teeth, and...ugh...hills. I'm learning that both cycling and life are easier and a lot more fun when you're in the right gear.

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