Enough with the personal stories about how I got into this sport. Let’s recap my weekend of riding, after all, that’s what I envisioned as the purpose of the blog.
My typical riding week features three pretty short rides during the week and a couple of longer ones over the weekend. I’ve added a handy little Strava widget at the bottom of the blog so you can keep up with my activity, if you want. My weekday rides are typically pretty boring. I generally do a little 12-mile out and back in the morning before work. Occasionally I’ll do a 15-mile loop after work, which is a little more exciting, but rare. Eventually, I’m thinking about making this my morning ride, but it’ll mean about 10 minutes less sleep. I’m not sure I can handle that.
After 100 words on stuff I didn’t intend to bore you with, let’s talk about my Saturday ride. Check it out below.
This is a pretty typical ride that I’ll probably do at least once during the weekend. The first 15 miles is the loop I do during the week after work. It’s a good route from the house and doesn’t come with a lot of traffic.
Another reason I like the first 15 miles is that it includes three good hills. I really don’t enjoy hills at all, but I figure if I can master a couple of small hills, I’ll be OK on the flat routes I prefer.
One thing I dislike about that first loop is a four-mile stretch of rough pavement. I just spent entirely too long trying to find the name for that type of pavement, but struck out. Basically it’s the kind of pavement that’s a step up from gravel. It’s rough. When I’m rolling through there I just try to focus on keeping a nice cadence, I try not to worry about my speed. Eventually I’ll get used to the surface and the speed will come.
After the four miles of rough road, it’s back to actual pavement and it feels like you can just jet away. But then come the final two hills on the loop. The first one, you think, isn’t so bad, but upon descending the other one pops up almost right away and it’s a booger.
I was very pleased with how I got up all three hills on Saturday. I must actually be getting in shape, because none of them bothered me.
After coming off that second hill there’s some rough spots where some utility construction is going on. Cars often times drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid pot holes and such. Not a huge bother, in my experience, because everyone slows down and gets around it best as they can. But it’ll be nice when the construction is gone and I can zip through there without worrying about being hit head-on.
On Saturday, this is about where the big issue of my ride occurred. No mechanical problems, no physical problems. I guess it was a mental problem. For some reason, the song Fergalicious popped into my head. I have no idea why. It’s by no means my music of choice and as far as I can remember I hadn’t heard it.
But, here I was just pedaling along and in my head I just kept singing, “D-to the-E-to the-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.” Maybe I just needed the mental test of spelling while on the bike. The longe this went on, the more I noticed the song stuck in my head and I began going over more lyrics in my head.
And that’s when I remembered one of the biggest problems I have with this song. At one point, Will-I-Am raps, “T-to the-A-to the-S-T-E-Y, girl you tasty.” Will, tasty has no E. Jesus.
I also remembered that in the video when Fergie says she’ll “Be up in the gym” just workin’ on her fitness she’s on a stationary bike. So, ultimately this must be the reason it was in my head during a bike ride.
The second part of this route features a little 20-mile loop I do that goes through town. Really probably a nightmare as far as any real training goes because of the number of stop lights, but it could be worse. I typically don’t take any breaks during my rides, so I just imagine the traffic lights to be rest stops.
This 20-mile route is one I’ve been doing since I hit the road. Not a ton of traffic for riding through town and you can break off of it and hit a lot of different routes and distances. It also incorporates the Tucker Creek walk/bike path. The path is only about a mile and half, but I like to incorporate it to get away from traffic for at least a few minutes. There’s an extension to the trail already complete, but there’s a gap in the middle that hasn’t been built yet. Not sure when that’s coming, but when it does, I’ll probably work the whole thing into some new routes. I’m also not sure on how long it’ll be when completely finished, but just based on where it’s supposed to run, I’m guessing 5-7 miles maybe.
Felt pretty good on the 20-mile stretch too. I neglected to mention that I had waited to take my ride until pretty late in the day, in hopes that the wind would die down. It did, but that first 15 miles, I still got plenty of it.
Overall, I was pleased with my performance considering the time I always lose on the rough four miles of pavement and the gusty wind to start the day.
On Sundays I ride with the Ranch Ride training group. This is a charity ride set for June 2 that benefits the Soaring Wings Ranch. I haven’t actually registered for the event, yet, but I’m pretty sure I will. Here’s what today’s ride looked like:
Riding a bike today was just a stupid idea. The wind was steady blowing at 20 mph or so and strong 30 mph gusts were pretty damn common. Great day to have a little help from the group.
I ride to the ride every week from the house, usually gets me an extra 10 miles or so. Today, though, it was straight into that 20 mph headwind. I thought I was going to be late. We headed out in the same direction, before turning and getting a good cross-wind for a while.
Once we got out to the highway, I don’t know where the wind was coming from. I just know it was not coming from behind us. Nevertheless, we had a pretty good pace going. I had moved up to the front to take a pull when all of the sudden the rider behind me informs me that there was a crash back in the pack. I have no idea what happened. We looped around to pick up the group. Those involved with the crash took it on home. My time at the front was done, I was not terribly disappointed in this.
I felt like we had a good trip out despite the wind. The group stuck together, we had a nice pace. About all you can ask for with the howling wind.
We turned around, hoping for a tailwind. Nope. Didn’t happen. On the way back, the faster guys took off. For the majority of the way back there were about six or seven us working pretty good before I think the wind finally took it’s toll. A group of about four pushed the pace, a couple fell off the back and I got stuck in the gap. This is something I do far too often. I usually don’t care on a day when the wind is calm. But today it was not an enviable position. I didn’t want to fall off with the slower riders and the group in front of me was soon out of sight. So I was riding it solo, essentially.
Passed another group of riders, not affiliated with us, zipped by them, but then got a little help from another pair of cyclists further up the road.
One of the guys that had left with the guys in front when I got stuck in the gap had looped back to check on the riders that had fallen off the back. He caught me as we turned down the home stretch, informing me that he hadn’t been able to find our crew that fell back. So we pedaled on back to the ride’s start/finish point finally enjoying a glorious tailwind. I split off to just head back home and probably would’ve ridden for three more hours as long as I could’ve just went straight down the road with the great boost from the tailwind.
At this point of the year, I feel pretty good about the shape I’m in. I’ve got one charity ride under my belt and I’ve ridden seven 100-mile (or more) weeks already this year. Last year, I didn’t crack a 100-mile week until May.
I’m toying around with the idea of either extending my morning rides or mixing in some afternoon rides on days I don’t ride in the morning. It’s hard to squeeze in ride time with a 33-mile commute to and from work everyday, but now that days are longer, I think I can up my miles somehow. Stay tuned.