That's what the other guys I ride with were saying on Sunday, Monday and today. It was nice of them to say, but the truth is getting back to climbing hills is just as tough as coming back from breaking my neck. Hills that used to just look like hills now look like Alpine climbs.
On the 40-mile Sunday ride the two nasty climbs are about five miles from the start. But I was already gasping from riding up the long shallow hill at the start and the longer, steeper hill at mile 2. On the first big hill, the group slowed at the top for a stop sign just over the crest of the hill. There was no traffic, so I went through the intersection at 22mph and caught the group on the descent. On the next hill two other guys dropped to the back, so though I was lagging, I was not the caboose on the train.
From that point on I never stopped wheezing. We rode the rollings hills at a moderate pace--they talked I wheezed--until we crossed Rt. 222 on the south side of Lancaster. The pack sped up and stayed above 20mph for the next few miles. Just as we were about to turn up hill, I drifted back and watched the bright-colored group of a dozen riders disappear. Another guy was behind me. He said he was going to try to catch up; he never did. I turned back toward home at mile 18.
The next day I rode just 17 of 29 miles of the daily ride and it was very difficult.
I know i will get back in shape, but it will be months, not weeks till I can climb like I used to.