Ever since helping Manny pick out his sweet new Gary Fisher a while back, we have been planning on doing a ride together. Since our ride the day of his purchase, our schedules have never quite matched up. Well, that changed yesterday and we decided to ride Braes Bayou. The problem is that in the three months since he bought the bike, Manny has been riding regularly and I have ridden almost not at all. Note to self: don’t do a thirty mile ride into downtown without any training.

I could go on about the various reasons why I didn’t perform up-to-snuff, but the bottom line is that I wasn’t prepared. I made the mistake of not logging many miles this year. I made the mistake of eating a huge lunch at the halfway points. I made the mistake of choosing the hottest part of the day for riding. I made the mistake of choosing the most open, treeless trails in the city. In short, I made the mistake of thinking that I could approach things like I did when I was much younger.

Oh, I finished it… I am still stubborn enough to ride until I die rather than quit and admit defeat. I have still never “sagged” out of any event without a mechanical failure and wasn’t about to start. What I did however, was slow down. Manny was patient with my lameness as somewhere around 4PM and mile 22, I stopped sweating and got a little concerned about heat stroke. I just dropped it down to “old lady” speed and cranked out the last half dozen miles or so at about 8mph.

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We stopped at Boone’s Cycles near Hermann Park to rest up before lunch. It was evident even at the halfway point, that I wasn’t my old cycling self. So what does this mean? Are my cycling days behind me? Have I completely tumbled down the far side of “over the hill?” Hell no! This is just the sort of thing I needed to get me back in the saddle. (And no, I am not mixing metaphors here – I am talking about the bike saddle.) With the Hotter N’ Hell behind me, I haven’t really had a cycling goal in several years… I am now working on defining a few. I’ll check back with you later.