First ride of the year
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  Posted March 22nd, 2014 by Zdenko  in Cycling, Edmonton | One comment

Cycling Stories

By: Zdenko Kahlina

Man, it feels good to go bike riding after a long winter.
(Re-posting from 2009) With the temperature making it up to a balmy +5 degrees today, I finally ventured out of my basement cave, where I’d been riding my bike on a stationary trainer, and took it back outdoors where it belongs. On the agenda was a first scheduled weekend group ride with the members of Edmonton Masters Cycling Club (EMCC) members.

dsc_1717b Man, it feels good to go bike riding after a long winter.

This morning at the Sherwood Park Tim Horton’s there weren’t too many riders showing up for the first road ride of the year. I’m guessing it’s because of a  cold weather. At 9 AM it was still sub zero temperature and there was a cold wind blowing from the southeast. Not a favarable weather for any cyclist.

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100_3916The first challenge was to learn how to dress for this type of weather again. Only around zero degrees, blustery winds…I decided to wear a long sleeve jersey as a base layer and then my winter jacket. And of course, it was time to christen the new Sidi shoes and pedals for outdoor use too!

100_3913The second challenge was getting used to actually going somewhere on a bike again! You’d think that’d be easy, but spending many cumulative hours on a stationary bike, where you don’t have to steer or pay attention to the road but rather a TV, deadens your bike-handling senses. Other than the vibration of the tires spinning, riding on the trainer is pretty much silky-smooth.

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100_3453bThe road conditions were nothing like that. Ice, sand, potholes, cracks and bumps… have I mention sand? Here in Alberta when the spring comes, we end up with lots of sand on the side of the roads. All these obstacles were there to bounce me around and give me a crash course in outdoor riding again-hopefully without the actual crash!

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100_3912And of course don’t forget the wind. It ranged from steady to gusty, blowing in from the southeast. I could feel it pushing me sideways (can’t train for that indoors) and trying to bring me to a stop when I rode directly into it.

100_3452But thankfully, here’s where all that indoor training might have come in handy! I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could pedal right into the wind and not feel like I was going to lose. I wasn’t breaking any speed records, my heart was pounding and my lungs were heaving, but I actually felt a bit used to the effort, and it was paying off when going against the wind and up the hills.

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Going fast… downhill: Karl, Zdenko and Richard.

100_3557The best payoff came when it was time to finally turn and head west toward Sherwood Park again. The wind was now at my back, and pedaling was a snap! It’s a nice feeling to spin out on the gear I was on, change to a harder gear, slow down my pedaling but then feel that gear spin out too. And on and on until I hit my hardest gear and was going about 40 km/h. Exhilarating! Going that fast in a car is no big deal at all, but on a bike you feel like you’re flying!

100_3449bSoon I was back in town, getting closer and closer to the Tim Horton’s and the parking lot where I left my car. I found myself running out of energy just as I was approaching the end of my ride, but to fight it is a good thing, since I wanted to get a good workout today. I hope next weekend we’ll have a warmer weather which will for sure mean more people will join me for the ride.

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 Gordon and Richard… the fast man!

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One comment to “First ride of the year”

  1. Comment by Allan Schoenberg:

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