The weather forecast called for temperatures as high as 7C so I planned my day around a ride in the afternoon. I was a little unsure if the gravel roads around here would be icy or muddy, but I decided to take my gravel grinder bike (my morphed hardtail mountain bike) out for a ride.
I hadn’t been on my bike since the Sugar Shack hustle a couple weeks earlier but with some events coming up (Steaming Nostril, April 9 and Paris to Ancaster April 30), I realized I’d better get on my bike more often. In addition to slowly getting my fitness back, I need to regularly check my ability to exercise without concussion symptoms. The Sugar Shack race was a good test and although I didn’t ride at “race speed”, I did push myself harder than I have on these solo rides. And I didn’t feel too bad at that race, so my optimism for recovery has been increasing.
On this gravel ride, I felt great (albeit out of shape) for the first 20 minutes. At this point, I started to feel a little fog in my head so I backed off a bit. Once I hit the gravel roads near Bloomingdale, I realized that I couldn’t back off too much without coming to a complete stop. The gravel was soft and slow, and it required consistent effort to keep moving. This was a good test for my noggin, and I think I passed. I continued towards Conestogo before heading back to Waterloo. I ended up with 30km, which may not seem like much, but it took 90 minutes (the gravel was slowwww and I’m slowwwww). It felt great to be out and I’m think I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m continuing to be optimistic and I’m even starting to think about joining the Waterloo Cycling Club gravel grinder rides…
I’ve found that I’m still a little nervous riding on roads without bike lanes – more so than I have been in the past. This could be, in part, due to my crash last September, but also the fact that in winter, I usually ride in a group. And at this time of year, I’m a little worried that drivers aren’t used to seeing cyclists on the road. Anyway, I recently bought a new cycling jacket that should help improve my visibility.