Well as with most things in life without the bad the good doesn't seem quite so good. Biking isn't really any different.
I have a nice little circuit (see below) that I ride out of my house up the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail and down through Crownsville. Its a just under 35 mile circuit. Its a pretty good training ride - especially this time of year when the B&A trail is next to empty.
I rolled out on this route a week and a half ago on a Saturday afternoon. It was relatively cold (mid to upper 30's) and a slight bit windy. I did the ride and in spite of being appropriately attired (leg warmers, balaclava, gloves, wool sweater) I felt horrible. I couldn't get my legs moving, I couldn't really get the engine running. It was just a plain bad ride. And my computer showed. I rolled in with a 15.3 mph pace. And then I got in the house and I couldn't shake the cold off of me. Froze my butt off for a couple hours after the ride. After the ride I figured that the lack of regular riding in the winter had caused my fitness to go to pot.
Well I rode yesterday and it wasn't one of those bad rides. In fact it was one of those really good rides. Immediately out of the house I could feel that my legs were up for the ride. My legs were strong, my stamina felt pretty good and I was able to focus and keep the speed up. The biggest down side of the ride was that I haven't been giving my bike the TLC it deserves. My chain needs some white lightning of tri-flow becuase it was screaming when I rolled out. But all in all I was in the zone. I rolled in at the end of the ride with a 17.2 mph pace. Much closer to what I was expecting to be riding. The ride felt great - I am sure it was partially becuase I was riding well, but I think alot of it was becuase I had such a crappy - mildly demoralizing - ride a few days earlier. I am glad I decided to do the same ride yesterday instead of heading off in a different direction. I was pleased to discover that my fitness hasn't gone to pot and that once the weather warms up and I have enough time to put in 100 mile weeks, that I'll have a good base to build off of.
The course for the ride is below.
On an unrelated note, I am going to be a Team Captain for the National Capital Chapter of Team in Training. I'm signed up to help folks get across the finish line at Tahoe this year. My ticker seems to be behaving well, so it shouldn't be a problem fo me to get across the finish line this year. If you're interested in joining me at Tahoe, my contact info is at the right so drop me a line and we can make it happen.