But really I want to talk about something other than running, for a change. This weekend, finally, FINALLY, we had glorious sunshine and double-digit (Celsius) temperatures! Weekend + sunshine = cycling! I have a decent carbon road bike that has been sadly and sorely neglected almost ever since we moved to Switzerland, and I've kind of missed it, but I hate frozen fingers and toes like I cannot tell you and so we've had to sit out the winter. Today we reached the giddy heights of 22C and I took that baby on the road.
Everyone has his or her preferred time to get out for a run or a ride or what have you; despite being a night owl by nature, I am a morning- or midday-exerciser. It gives me the rest of the day to gently move my muscles and work out as much of the soreness as possible, and it gives me time to recover and still do something useful with the day. Weekends with a toddler who doesn't much like Mummy disappearing out the door mean that my weekend workouts usually have to happen during her naptime, just after lunch. That's why today's ride was only a relatively short spin, an out-and-back route that took me 20km in total, avoiding most of the mobs of rollerbladers and walkers soaking up the sunshine.
Last time I did this route, at the beginning of January, I huffed and puffed a bit but managed to get through it in about 52 minutes, at an average speed of 23.4km/hr (14.5mph). That wasn't spectacular but it was not too bad of a starting point for me, all things considered.
Cut to today - while I've been running regularly, the nasty weather of the last few months has forestalled even doing the nursery run by bicycle, so I have not been using the pedal-turning muscles pretty much at all for nearly three months. The only other difference is that I have dropped a decent chunk of weight between then and now - about 8.5kg (18.7lb). I knew that weight makes a difference for how quickly you can get up hills, but even so...imagine my surprise to see that I'd held a speed of 25.5km/hr (15.8mph) for the distance, for almost exactly the same average and max heart rates!
To put that in perspective: when I was doing long-distance cycling on a regular basis, my default speed was in the 26-27kph range; at the time I was at roughly my January weight (which itself was a vast improvement on my October weight.) In January my default speed had obviously dropped quite a bit, but now I find I am nearly back in my previous peak cycling form with pretty much no cycling training at all - nothing but a lighter load and some extra aerobic conditioning. And if this is my new starting point...well, I wonder how fast I can make myself go with a summer's worth of training?