Reunited and it Feels SO GOOD
I was never so excited and nervous for a ride as I was on Monday. My doctor had cleared me to ride - carefully - 2 weeks post-surgery. He told me to stay on the flat as much as possible but he's said he's comfortable with my e-bike or something more upright for now. He strongly suggests I leave the road bike at home - starting back on the trainer if I can - for at least another 6-8 weeks. Honestly, I think this is smart. As much as I planned to increase mileage and get to ride in a charity ride this year and maybe get to a metric, that isn't happening. It's not even because of this. It's because of Covid. Everything is cancelled. There is nothing to really train for. That's a blessing in disguise now.
I was also incredibly nervous. I felt delicate. I worried more about traffic. I worried about overdoing it or climbing out of the saddle. However, I stuck with it and did about 17 miles. My pace was disappointing, I used more assist than usual, and my wattage wasn't great. I am thankful the bike has a built-in power meter which allows me to determine how hard I'm pushing because that's a really reliable metric and a valuable one as I come back.
My abs felt off and I got tired fast. I wanted to ride the next day and the next - that was my plan. That was silly. I wasn't ready until yesterday. The weather was bad and the last thing I wanted to do was get injured or push it too much. So, I stayed off. And then, yesterday, well-rested and needing a post-work break, I rode almost 18 miles. I knew I was pacing better - 16 mph - and felt much more confident. I rode more on the road and felt confident. I hoped my wattage had also increased but I was thankful I had just been able to outpace my previous 14.5 mph ride and that I felt much more "myself" on this ride. In the end, my wattage increased substantially so I was really satisfied with that ride. I didn't feel as winded, either.
I saw things I needed to see. I experienced nature and enjoyed each ride. I will not take these things for granted again. 2 weeks off the bike, unable to run or walk much were hell. It was mentally exhausting and I hit my breaking point last weekend. When you are a cardio addict and you are outside exercising and commuting year-round and then suddenly cannot, it is a hard pill to swallow. I was also terrified I would not be able to feel like "me". Overall, my surgeon is happy with my progress. I am not probably going to be back on track for awhile. No pulling the kid for a long time. That makes me feel super guilty because she asks about it every day I'm home. However, I will be able to do it again - hopefully around the 4th of July. Maybe that will be our celebration day? I cannot recommend e-bikes enough to people. It is clear they serve many purposes for people who love to ride but a huge strength is their increase in accessibility for many folks who, otherwise, wouldn't be comfortable riding. I talked to a coworker who expressed his concern with riding is the hills. You cannot get out of the neighborhood we both live in without climbing a big hill on a busy road. You cannot get home without this, either. Since we both have kids we need to tote, he wants to pull a trailer. He's curious about how adaptive an e-bike would be. I expressed that this is exactly why I bought an e-bike. I offered to let him try mine in the coming months - complete with a full wipe down before and after his socially-distant test ride. One of the people who tried my bike last fall a couple weeks after I got it, proceeded to not only buy the same model as mine but their spouse also invested in one. These are addictive, folks! Handle with caution!
Never take your rides for granted. The day before I got sick and ended up in terrible misery unable to even sit up or walk, I was pulling my kid on a 20-mile slog all around town. I felt normal. I was constantly active that day. We spent almost all of it outside. Then, boom! No more. Keep safe and ride happy!