I hadn't thrown a leg over a bike in two weeks before venturing out on a 25-mile solo ride up to Morgan-Monroe State Forest and back yesterday. Beanblossom, as always, was a struggle; but particularly for the first time after a brutal winter. Nevertheless, it was nice to get out on the bike and to have that satisfying dull ache in the limbs after a good hard ride (no matter how easy I tried to make it).
Today, I drove up to Indy for a ride with a few friends that was billed as a "moderate pace," 30+-mile ride because one of my friends was just recovering from bronchitis. For the first 10 miles, we averaged around 24 mph, albeit with a very helpful tailwind (from the east). At that point, I was feeling pretty good, my legs were loosening up from the hill climbing the day before, and my heart rate was behaving itself.
After we turned north into a crosswind, we were still going about 21-22 mph, and I started feeling my legs competing with my respiratory system to see which one was going to give first. From that point on, I had to keep slowing down the whole group (which fortunately consisted of just five riders). Eventually, I urged them to just keep going; I knew where I was and was content to coast back. But being my friends, they wouldn't hear of it (which hardly lessens my feeling guilty for slowing them down).
Note to self: No more rides in Indy - even moderate-paced rides with friends - until I have a lot more miles in my legs, and much better fitness. The chief problem is that I just can't get in as many rides, especially longer rides, as I did before moving to Bloomington. I'm never going to keep up with those guys when they start to hammer, but I should at least be able to stay with them when they're taking it (relatively) easy.