Saturday, July 27, 2013
Now I know why some dogs just can't wait to go for a car ride and stick their head out the window.
At least I kind of felt that way today. Today, I experienced what I can best describe as 'the pure joy of cycling'.
For a change, I went out alone to do a very relaxed 20 mile ride. There was no one else to push me, no one else to meet, no timelines, no expectations. Just me, the bike, and the whole day - I had nothing else planned. The only thing I wanted to do was to get back home to a nice air conditioned apartment long before the day started to heat up - which meant I really needed to be back by 11:30 to noon.
I got a lazy Saturday morning start. I was up for a leisurely breakfast, followed by my morning coffee and a leisurely read of the morning paper. Even my ride prep went at a real leisurely pace. I didn't get out for my ride until shortly after 9 AM.
I was determined to set a nice pace. Today there would be no chasing after the hot-shot rider who was determined to pass me. Today was not a day for personal bests. No, today I was going to ride at more leisurely pace, stop where I wanted to stop, go when I wanted to go, explore where I wanted to explore.
That's just what I did. It. Was. Fun!
I went six miles, then stopped for coffee for about 15 minutes. Then it was off to the south side of the Han, where I stopped again for a quick break after another six or seven miles. Then about two more miles I stopped at a bike part stand, where I replaced my broken rear night light and ended up having a real enjoyable chat with a retired Korean chap who spoke real good English. This gentleman was the very first Korean that I've met in about 3 years of riding who knew anything about Cervelos, and that led, of course, to a real pleasant discussion about bikes and cycling in general.
Then it was off for another three miles, when, on a whim, I just decided I was going to go 'off path' and do a little exploring up off the river in Gangnam. So I ended up riding around a few apartment complexes and out on Apujong-ro (Seoul's answer to Rodeo drive) before deciding that it was starting to get hot - time to get back to the apartment. But not before stopping for one more water break.
In the end, it was about a 21 - 22 mile ride, done over almost two hours. I averaged only 10-11 mph, but was having the time of my life. No high speed chases. No worrying about being the last one in the pace line or how fast I'm going. Just a very pleasant, very satisfying, leisurely ride with the wind in my face to cool me down, the occasional cafe to stop at and get some refreshments, and the safety of the bike path that helped make the ride even more enjoyable (OK there was a few pace-lines going, but not many).
I guess the only thing that could have made this day more perfect was if there was no one on the bike paths - but Saturday? In Seoul? That's never going to happen :-).