November legs aren’t the same as July legs.
The stars finally aligned for an opportunity to ride. The roads were dry. It was sunny, but cold. And I had the time. All had been factors in short supply since early October.
O my, how things change in five weeks.
What should have been a speedy flat ride turned into a thigh-burning chore, thanks to a frosty head-wind, and the gauntlet thrown down by the 1980s retro-Fred with white knee socks, old-school toe straps on his vintage steel frame and a bulbous foam-block Rudy helmet.
I had planned to ride only as far as the runway lookout at the airport, where the plane geeks park with their binoculars and scanners; that would make for about a 40 km ride round trip. But when retro-Fred churned past, the competitive juices kicked in.
I caught his wheel and we ended up exchanging pulls all the way to the end of the road. It was all in good fun. What he lacked in style, he certainly gained in strength. Respect.
The extra stretch meant a 55km ride. Apparently that was a little more than my legs were prepared for, as we laboured on the home stretch, barely beating darkness. It was humbling to look down at the Garmin and see the pathetic average speed of just shy of 24 km/h for a ride that should be about 26-27 km/h.
But the burn felt good. The cold air was invigorating. And the legs felt refreshed again after a couple of hours.
Hopefully there will be a few more opportunities like that before the year is out.