Because I love them. Patrick and I headed out to recreate a ride we did several weeks ago, when I still just had a mountain bike at my disposal. I listed it as one of my Stinger goals when I knew the bike was headed for an overhaul.
I'd originally thought a long ride on a road bike would be harder for me; mostly I was nervous about what seems to be a more unstable posture over the bike ... and those hand positions: so far from my seat! But honestly — and I've said it before — that road position is ultimately more comfortable. And the thin road tires make for a smoother, quicker ride. I find it easier to keep my speed up on Stinger.
Coffee & donuts. By a stroke of good luck, we ran out of coffee beans at home, so just had to stop by Old City Java to get our morning cup. Where we also got an apple spice donut. Fuggedaboutit. Also, a fresh pour of coffee is exactly right before 15 more miles on a bike.
Pedaling along the flats at 14 mph. Half the reason this feels good is I know I didn't have to keep up a good clip but I did anyway; the other half is that I felt like I was in good shape as I was doing it. It's not an incredible speed, but it's faster than I usually rode at zero incline. Progress!
Learning how to shift. I've got some experience on bikes, but I'd never ridden one with shifters affixed to the stem. Changing gears means I have to balance my ride with one hand, find my shifter with the other, and keep pedaling as I shift. I'm new enough that this is still a freaking big deal. It's meant until this ride that I usually spend more time in the wrong gear than I want to, because I've not been comfortable enough to make the change. But by the end of this ride, I was feeling a little expert.
Riding down the hill of doom. There's a slope just after one of the left-hand turns. The first time we did this ride, I turned and jumped off of the bike; it was ominous. I knew it was coming this time and I was nervous but determined. So this time: we turned and I immediately put on my brakes, but I stayed on the bike. Accompanied by screaming and expletives. "Mother flipper [actually said it] I feel like I'm on a f-cking rollercoaster holy sh-t!" Patrick, meanwhile? Laughing. Hysterically. So next time my goal: no cursing. Time after that: let off the brakes.
Riding up the hill of doom. Different hill. When we got back to the neighborhood, I deviated from our normal ride home because, see, there's this hill. I felt so good from my other feats that I thought I'd at least give this one hill a go. My little monologue: "doesn't hurt to try; it's OK if I get off my bike; there's only one way to know." I sped through a little downhill that precedes the up, shifted to my lowest gear (!!), then I climbed. And did it. And seriously: huge grin on my face all the way home. I even swayed on my bike.