Thursday, April 5, 2012

Joy of a Longish Bike Ride

I rode 14.7 miles today at an average pace of 15.1 mph with a net climb of 1,650 feet. This is the longest bike ride I've done since at least October 2011. This is not to say that I haven't been on the bike recently. In fact, I've logged 189 miles in the last six months...but mostly this has all been in 5-mile increments. So I celebrate!

I'm also going to have to come up with a longer course for next time. Until now, I've had a few smaller loops that I take, and for today I combined them all into one big loop. It will be fun to add a little more distance the next time. And there will be a next time, because I've got some training to do:

  1. The Bike MS ride is coming up in early June. I'll be riding 150 miles over two days.
  2. The Pittsburgh Triathlon is July 27th, and I am planning for this to be my first international-distance race. The bike portion is 40 km.
  3. I'm doing another couple sprint triathlons in August, including one with an 12-mile bike race August 12th...
  4. ...and one with a 13-mile bike race on August 25th.

So those are my goals; I just have to keep going. I wanted to write this little post so that I remembered the good feelings I had to day after my ride. I felt energetic. I felt I had better concentration after the ride when I was at work. I felt endorphins. I was pain-free, which is significant given that my shoulder has been sore from swimming and both knees felt kind of achy--also from swimming (breaststroke). The next time I say to myself "Maybe I should go on a bike, I don't feel like it," I want to remember the good feeling I get after it's over. And of course, it's fun during the ride, too, or at least interesting--

  • How fast can I go down the first big hill?
  • Will I have to stop for the traffic light in the first little town I ride through? (I actually like to stop at the traffic light, as this gets the attention of people in the restaurant at the intersection. I'm glad to give them something to talk about)
  • Can I manage the slight incline out of town without downshifting to my lower bracket?
  • How winded and tired will I get climbing the beast of a hill that comes next? How slow can I go without having the bike fall over?!
  • I always enjoy the horse pasture and broad view at the top of that hill.
  • I enjoy that wide, smooth road near the airport that never has any traffic.
  • I enjoy the extra risk I take past the airport where the country road becomes narrow, steep (up and down), and traction is reduced due to all the black sealant applied to the road surface. Some of those hills are so steep going down that I have to ride my brakes all the way, so as not to exceed 35mph and/or lose control.
  • I like the forested patch of road I encounter after crossing the highway.
  • I like the open view I find at the top of the next hill by the cemetery. In fact, by the time I get there, it seems like it's all downhill from there. I zoom more freely down the next road that goes past the lake.
  • I zoom around the traffic circle and then relax as the paved shoulder expands and I can take my time going up the last climb.
  • Lastly, I enjoy crossing from the right side of the airport road to the left in order to use the left turn lane onto the road that takes me home. I'm amazed that the road sensors there are sensitive enough for my bicycle to trigger the traffic light.
--That's a long list of interesting things along my 14.7-mile cycling route. Now think of how many more things I can add to this list as I lengthen the route and cycle for longer periods of time.

1 comment:

  1. I love the list of sights along your bike route. It reminds me a lot of the types of things I notice and think about when I ride one of my favorite routes. Are the horses going to be out today, am I going to have to outrun the dog at this house, can I make it up this hill in the big ring? Have a good weekend!