Poor Madeleine's tires had barely a puff of air in them, and her computer had a dead battery. The chain needed lubricant, and there was a coat of dust on her frame. She was game, though, and so was I for the first ride of the season.
With the temperature breaking 40 degrees and the sun shining bright, the highway was nice and dry yesterday, a bit surprising given that we just got over 60 inches of snow last week. Remembering that I'd started riding early last year, too, in preparation for my trip to Bhutan, I went back to read my post from the first ride of 2012. It was about a week earlier and just a few degrees colder, but it was much more miserable. Gray, wet weather froze me, especially my toes. Yesterday, I was too warm, but mostly because I'd worn windproof cycling tights and windproof pants.
Madeleine and I slalomed a bit through the slush on our street, but once on the highway, all was bliss. I write it so often that it's become a personal cliche, but I just couldn't wipe the grin off my face once I was moving. I had a few normal first-ride aches and pains, but nothing critical.
The main difference between this first ride and others was that I was really paying attention to my shoulders. My last physical therapist had said I need to keep my shoulder blades set while riding, so I focused on keeping my blades set and my shoulders from turtling up around my ears. My shoulders were burning by the time I finished 10 miles. Nothing lingering, thankfully.
I have high hopes that I'll be able to keep riding from now on. I'm supposed to be riding from Fairbanks to Wasilla in mid-June with Mandy and a couple of other women. That's just two and a half months to be ready to ride 50-60 miles a day while carrying food, clothes, and camping gear. I know I can, I know I can....
Until then, I'll appreciate this perfect spring day. I got to bike ride, Thane got to snowmobile in Thompson Pass, and on my way home I saw a group unloading a team for a dogsled ride. Sounds like spring in Alaska.