Monday, September 20, 2010

Longest best funnest bicycle ride ever

With a title like that you're probably expecting me to describe a month-long excursion across the country. If true, you haven't read this blog's introduction. I'm relatively new to all things physical, so my accomplishments are not going to be so mammoth. Nevertheless, I've got some impressive stats to report. Today's ride:
  • 49.6 miles on a flat, crushed gravel path running alongside a river
  • Duration of exercise: 4 hours and 25 minutes, not including rest stops and a lunch break at the half-way point.
  • Average speed = 11.1 mph
  • Maximum speed = 15 mph
  • Calories burned: 2,127
  • Average heart rate = 119 bpm
  • Maximum heart rate = 135 bpm
As you can see, today's exercise was long but not overly taxing. I barely got my heart rate into the target zone for cardiovascular improvement, and my average speed was leisurely. There are two reasons for this. First, I was riding with 4 other friends who were equally or slightly less physically capable as me. Second, we took it at a leisurely pace to ensure that we didn't become exhausted and be unable to complete the 50-mile distance. If we had to stop for some reason, there was limited access to roads, and no one was around to come pick us up.
My friends at one of 5 stops we made during the 50-mile trip.
I am a little disappointed that I never got my heart rate up, but apart from that I am very proud of myself and my friends. None of us had ever ridden this distance in one day before. In fact, the last time I rode my bike for more than an hour in one day was on July 3, 2010 when I rode for 79 minutes on another flat, gravel path (we have lots of abandoned railroad tracks that get converted to bike paths here). And the next-most recent bike trip exceeding 60 minutes was August 22, 2009 when I rode for 85 minutes. So today's trip is extraordinary at least in the length of activity. I also had a lot of fun, as the five of us bonded pretty well as we carried on conversations on the trail and at lunch.

Our route was a 25-mile ride to the next largest town along the river. Then we ate lunch in a strip mall pizza joint. Then we turned around and rode back to our starting point. At the end of our trip we again ate a meal and then took a walk for about 30 minutes. I truly believe that I could have hopped back on my bike and ridden another 15 miles or more. I had energy to spare, and I was not particularly sore. As I write this I have the following minor ailments:
  • lightly sore latissimus dorsi in lower back (one bends over the handlebars when cycling); I'm actually surprised that my back isn't more sore. My back muscles often complain severely during my rides. I did take a preemptive Tylenol before starting the bike ride, though, so perhaps this helped.
  • very lightly sore external obliques on sides of abdomen
  • sore abductor magnus in the groin area
  • bruised buttocks in the area where I came in contact with the bicycle seat
  • sore tendons above the kneecaps where the quadriceps pull to bend the knee while pedalling. These tendons started to get sore after the first 8 miles, so I expect this symptom to be the most prominent over the next couple days as my body repairs microdamage in the tendons' fibers.

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