26 September 2022
My wife and I returned home last night (though Air France decided our luggage should stay in London) from a bit more than a week overseas, much of it spent in and around Tuscany on a bike tour with the wonderful Trek Travel organization. Over a period of 6 days, we cycled almost 300km, with shortish 30km outings on the first and last day, and longer days in the 50-70km range the rest of the time. Outside of the aquathlon I did about a month ago when I rode 40km, this was the longest biking I've done since probably the summer of 1993, when I was living in Madison, Wisconsin (home of Trek bikes) and riding my mountain bike all over the city between my two summer jobs while in graduate school.
The trip was fantastic on so many levels - the food, the views, the castles, the espresso, the gelato, the hotels, our guides - and much more. My biggest athletic takeaway was that I found cycling to be the first sport next to swimming where I could really, truly push myself hard while simultaneously getting into a flow state of mind/emotions. While I didn't always enjoy every aspect of pumping up the (many) hills of Tuscany, I surprised myself with how much I loved cycling.
Now, cycling's still a distant second to swimming, but it supplanted yoga and landed itself firmly on the podium of sports Patrick actually likes to do. I'm convinced this will become part of my late spring - all summer - early fall workout regimens.
But, since swimming remains my #1 love, I naturally found a pool, a small idyllic one meant more for lounging than training, at one of our hotels in which to swim after the hot days of riding:
I estimated it to be a smidge more than 14 yards long as seven laps of freestyle at a cruise pace produced a 1:15 time, and took about 4 strokes each lap. The water was blissfully unheated, maybe 67-68 F, which made for a great way to cool off. Looking out over the hills and valleys after the swim made the day all that more perfect.