And yet, there were many moments in those two miles where I felt the joy of riding again. And that's why I keep at it. Because that's what riding is about: the joy of it. I like remembering that I was once a very fit man, but I would like to actually BE fit once again. And free of oxygen tanks. And able to bike 40 miles without extraordinary effort.
OK, I figured I'd get the conclusion out of the way first, because it's the most positive thing I have to say about today's ride.
It is hard to believe, but I haven't been on the bike since the beginning of the month! Weekend after weekend went by with bad weather. This weekend is no different. When I pulled the bike outside, loaded a D tank w/ constant flow regulator on the rack, and put my M9 w/ pulse regulator in a pannier, the radar showed nothing, despite the grey skies and gusty winds. However, the rain came, mid-ride, and proceeded to spit at me off and on the entire time. Somehow, though, with my mind consumed with maintaining oxygenation and not getting hit by cars, I didn't think much of the rain. And it felt good to say "fuck you" to the elements.
Honestly, I didn't have big goals for this ride, other than to get my blood moving, get my ass in gear. A precursor to a full 10 miles planned for tomorrow. I'd just spent the last day and a half on my butt dealing with medical bills, insurance, backing up computers, and the like, and needed to exert myself. I was reminded by a receipt I ran across while filing a stack of them that I needed to get my bike up to Bicycle Habitat to have a double kickstand put on. So...I pedaled up there.
Actually, I misremembered my route and wound up going up hill more than I needed to. I had to rest at the top of the incline between 5th ave and 6th ave and that disappoints me, but feel happy to have conquered the slope. And even though my oxygenation was bad at the top, my asthma was not kicking in, so I could at least breathe in the high-flow oxygen.
At Bicycle Habitat, they put on the new double kickstand and we promptly decided to modify it, as the front wheel sat ridiculously high and the whole bike was unstable. They cut a 1/2 from each side and that helped, but had to cut a little more off the left leg. So now I can at least stop and prop the bike up. Not the most stable stand, especially with the rack loaded with an oxygen tank, but its an improvement over not having a stand at all. (A sidestand would not work well with the top-heavy weight on the rack.)
I needed the break while they did that, I admit. Even after the mile up there, I was in distress. I am not happy about that. But on the ride home, I was reminded why the ride up was so hard: head winds. It was nice having a tail wind coming back, even if it was sometimes a side wind that threatened to slam me into parked cars or into traffic.
I really have to cut back on work days and start shuffling in days dedicated just to getting in a bike workout. Three or four days a week. I'm losing my fitness and I've got to fight against that.