You’d think after having to cut short yesterday’s 50 mile ride to 40 miles due to a sore back, which left me sleeping on a hard surface (aka, the floor) to attempt to correct it, I’d take the day off from cycling, or at least do a nice short relaxing ride. Makes perfect sense right? Well, as the late John Belushi often said, “But Noooooo!”
I had to go out and ride a full metric century, in the cold and with a ridiculously stiff wind! Just what my aching back needed…..NOT!
My back actually felt ok this morning after giving it a good rest last night. As we started our ride down Tree Line, Señor J suggested we head all the way down to North Collier Park in Naples and back (ok truth be told I had already planted the seed on stretching out the mileage this weekend, so Señor J is not the guilty party here). Me being me, I enthusiastically agreed, with the caveat that I was going to ride in a high cadence spinning-like mode to keep my back loose.
The first third of the ride went well. The day was sunny and crisp with just a slight breeze favoring our southward route. Surprisingly we were not seeing many other cyclists (cold can scare, no strike that, freak our fellow Floridian’s), but we did happen upon an out of town visitor riding a very tricked out recumbent bike. He rode with us for few miles, enthusiastically explaining all the advantage of cycling on ones back. We eventually parted ways at the I75 overpass.
Once on Three Oaks, beyond the Country Club Trifecta, we started seeing numerous cyclists riding in perfect pace lines…and yes, as always, they were headed in the opposite direction. By now the wind was becoming noticeable and I was starting to feel some discomfort in my back.
Arriving at North Collier Park we stopped for a quick besoin naturel and elected to get a head start on our return ride knowing we’d have a stiff headwind all the way home. We’d leave the refueling break for the 40 mile mark at Coconut Point.
The headwind was just plain nasty. Cold, gusty and relentless. It did not take long for my back to really start bothering me and impacting our progress. I actually felt bad for Señor J as he pulled me in tow at a what must have felt like a snails pace. My legs had plenty of energy, but as soon as I attempted to put some power down on the pedals, I’d get a searing pain in my left lower back, radiating down my left leg. It was so bad that I actually had to use the middle chain ring on my compact triple.
We reached Coconut Point for a very welcomed break. This was the first time that I actually did not enjoy being on a bike. My aching back made sure that there was no comfortable position attainable, even with aero bars. We eventually limped home to complete the 62 miles. Trust me, no speed records were set on this ride, but a good lesson was learned, and that is listen to your body. I’ll be sleeping on the floor the next few days for ignoring it.
Route: Metric Century – North Collier Regional Park
Ride Time: 3:46:52
Stopped Time: 1:15:34
Distance: 59.66 miles
Average: 15.78 mph
Fastest Speed: 38.76 mph
Ascent: 3030 feet
Descent: 3039 feet