Fast forward to a couple of days ago. With some snow and ice on the roads, I had not been on the roadbike for a few days and was feeling stir crazy. I decided to take a nice walk. It was 20°F out, so I donned my new unpadded bib tights (I am determined to get all the milage I can out of those!), some layers, and set off. This was the first time I'd attempted a real walk since maybe November, but it did not even cross my mind that it would be in any way challenging. I mean, I've always walked. Walking is what I do! Plus I've been cycling like crazy so I was in good shape.
Now I used to hear about this sort of thing from cyclists, but thought it was nonsense until it happened to me. Too much cycling can make you unlearn how to walk? You have got to be kidding me. But I kid you not. After a pathetic half hour of brisk walking my feet and legs were aching, and I could feel some weird muscles around my knees straining as I tried to take my usual long strides. Like these muscles had gotten all scrunched up now from making pedaling motions instead of walking motions. I turned back, and then for some reason decided to run the last few blocks home. Within seconds there were shooting pains in my ankles and I arrived at my door practically an invalid. Unbelievable.
From now on, I am going to make it a point to walk several times a week. The very idea that something I think of as a lifelong ability and a physical strength of mine could atrophy so quickly is astonishing. I will get my walking groove back this winter and will try not to lose it again. Cycling isn't everything.