What would this day be like...I wondered.
I headed out to my first official group training ride for the NCAC this morning wondering if I'd be able to keep up or even keep going for 43 miles. Before the ride there was some not so reassuring talk of the hills on the route. With Karla still at the shop (I picked her up this afternoon, though) I was riding my skinny-tire bike (Billie, the blue KHS Flite 300 that survived some very heavy loads while I was in law school) with clipless pedals. Can someone can explain why they're called "clipless pedals," but we "clip in" when we ride them? Anyway, I haven't ridden "clipped in" since before the knee injury and it took a few miles into the ride to get over that fear of falling over if you forget to unstick your foot from the pedal before you stop.
The ride took us through the countryside southwest of Winters (about 30 miles west of Sacramento). Here's a map of the route. Except for a little bit of the first big hill that I had to hike after I stopped and couldn't start again because it was too steep, I kicked some hill butt. I didn't fall behind. Rather the opposite. I surprised myself. I guess those 5:30 - 7:00 a.m. spinning classes twice a week at my gym have paid off. I think I'm going to be a bit stiff tomorrow but so will a lot of other people. Felt good to know that there's nothing at all deficient in my bike legs.
Plus, when I picked up Karla, looking good as new (or perhaps even a bit better since the person who wrapped the handlebars knew what he was doing) at the bike shop, all the bike shop people said how super neat she is. Gosh. Kind of like when I take my cat to the vet and everyone compliments his glossy fur and linebacker physique.