The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Bike Challenge: Day 2

Years ago, I started running to and from work every day, which meant I was getting in 7 miles a day.

I would leave my car at work and use it to drive to my various assignments (and to chicken out on rainy nights when I didn’t want to run home).

Within a year, I was in the best shape of my life. I could hike and ski better than I ever had before. I felt like my body could do anything.

But I was wrong. I wound up with a pretty serious back injury and despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to run in the past few years. This spring I even tried the Couch-to-5K training program, which starts with 2 tiny minutes of jogging, and by the third day of training I was in too much pain to even walk comfortably.

So running is probably not in the cards anymore. But despite the fact that it’s been years since I ran regularly, I still believe I’m at that level of fitness. When I occasionally realize I’m not quite as fit as I used to be, I delude myself by thinking that if I were to start seriously training again, I’d get it back quickly. Within a day or so, surely.

This bicycle is teaching me the error of my ways.

I can maintain a 10-mph pace with just slow, steady pedaling. But my muscles are crying for mercy.
When I bike up a hill — and I mean a small hill — my legs burn as if I was at the end of a 5K.

When I get off my bike at whatever destination I’ve reached, I have to admit my breathing is not exactly even. Okay, I’m not gasping for breath, but I’m not coolly leaping off my bike, prepared to do battle with my pen.

Instead, I’m staggering off the bike, deeply relieved that I can do something easier now, like run up a hill.

How could biking be harder than walking or running? Are there really that many different muscles in my legs? And how much longer will it take before they stop with all this whining?

Check back tomorrow and find out whether I’m able to wrestle cars to a halt so that I can finally turn left.

Enjoy this post? Share it!


June 9, 2012
5:41 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The problem of reading DG online: I miss articles like this, that I would have seen in the paper edition.

Great series, I left a long-winded comment on another page. Sounds like you've got to learn a bit more about gearing! Good luck!

columnists & blogs