Monday, January 01, 2007
Recovery and a New Year
When your legs ache and your brain is foggy, there's no better cure than some easy pedaling about town. Yes, physical recovery is important--blood flow, flushing toxins, stretching and all that--but it's the mental rejuvenation I love most about these days.
I know some people like to think on their recovery rides...review the week's events, make plans, solve problems. I'd rather just turn off higher-brain activity and focus only on sensory stimulation. The air is so much sweeter when you're going slow, not so much when you're ramming it down your lungs on a real training ride. And there are many sounds that normally get masked by the wind and your pounding heart. You feel the chill of the shadows and greater warmth in the sun. These things at 14 mph are missing at 28.
And sometimes you just have to stop for a while to take it all in. Normally on my recovery ride I just cruise on by the beach and glance toward the islands, but today I rode right out onto the Goleta Pier for a little break. Now I'm no poet, and not particularly articulate, so I can only hope the panoramic picture above will convey how spectacular it was (click on it for a larger view). Every sense was on overload--warm sun, salty ocean spray, an aromatic mix of fish and seaweed, brilliant blue sky and shimmering water meeting at the horizon, children gleefully screaming as a crashing wave chases them up to the sand. These were the ingredients of a perfect recovery ride, and the perfect beginning of a new year.