Life seems to be on fast-forward since returning from Utah, so here’s some catch-up on bike-related things. I’ve been riding a lot in preparation for some big summer rides, and it’s been quite enjoyable.

I didn’t ride much in March, thanks to the Utah trip taking up the lion’s share of the month. Not counting last year’s ski injury, this was one of the lowest March mileage totals I’ve ever managed: 114.8 miles. The first weekend in March was spent up north, where I skied – and that was a blast. On March 9th, I rode a very hilly route in northern Maryland, not realizing that I was coming down with a nasty sinus infection at the time:

I rode once while there, which was a treat: from downtown Salt Lake City, up Emigration Canyon, and partway (at least until the snow blocked the road) up East Canyon. This was a typical training ride for me in my teenage, ski racing years, and it was fun to revisit it, even on a (well-fitted) rental bike (thanks to Salt Lake City Bicycle Company for the rental):

Otherwise, I did a lot of manual labor, endured a lot of stress, and had a bout of food poisoning (ick), the combination of which helped me shed 8.5 pounds. My cycling got a bit rusty, as I found out on my first long rides after my return to DC.

Luckily, the first of these rides was with friends who took it fairly easy on me. We headed out to Antietam Battlefield, then north to explore some dirt roads in the Catoctins:

I’m glad I went on a gentle recovery spin in Rock Creek Park the next day, just to flush the lactate out of my legs.

The hills on this ride had me in fits, but I got the hang of things, by the by, especially on the flatter terrain. And that’s good, because the next weekend had me co-leading a Potomac Pedalers ride over three classic Virginia climbs: Naked Mountain, Mt. Weather, and Blue Mountain:

In all of these climbing rides, I was “climbing my own climb,” so to speak: riding a pace that was self-dictated, not chasing any of the “rabbits” in the group, and trying to keep good form. I rode well below my maximum output, which kept me fresh through the end. The next day’s flatter recovery ride, out of Riley’s Lock and around the flank of Sugarloaf Mountain, found my legs relatively fresh and my form fairly decent:

That all leads to this past weekend’s chilly-yet-beautiful ride from Thurmont into Pennsylvania, through a forest and amongst the fruit farms of Carroll Valley:

This was a really fun ride: scenic, with great friends, and one that found my climbing legs really coming into form.

And lest I forget, April brought back the “Downtown Breakaway” rides, a Wednesday night Pedalers affair that takes in side roads and less-well-known routes out to the near Maryland ‘burbs and back. We’ve had four of them, thus far (1, 2, 3, 4), and while they have all been great (we have a lot more riders this year than in past years), I always love riding through the cherry blossoms of Kenwood, Maryland:

Riding through the canopy of cherry blossoms with the gang

I’ve just changed out my cassette on my main bike with a wider-range unit, as there are some big climbs coming up in the next few weeks (and a weekend trip to Utah to visit my mom).

Thus far, in April, I’ve logged 542 miles on my bikes, bringing me to 1458.6 miles to date in 2013. I’m well ahead of my usual pace, and I still have a lot more strength to find – can’t complain about that.

So I guess you can say I still love the bike (even if the bike industry doesn’t always seem to feel the same way at the same time). These wheels do, indeed, keep spinning around…