09 April, 2008

Another goal achieved

Tuesday was the third beautiful day in a row here in the Ohio Valley. Monday was going to be an "off" day for the bike due to a farewell bash for a dear colleague on Monday night. I had my bike at work and decided if I could ride at lunch I would. I was gone for about 45 minutes, rode for a total of 35ish and did 7.5 miles. I need to find some alternative routes for mid-day riding in downtown. Lots of traffic lights!

I crashed Monday after the bash at my oldest daughter's place. It was a late night and I didn't try to be at work at 7am the next morning like I normally do.

Tuesday afternoon was beautiful. It started out with clouds, but they blew away for the most part by 5:00. I changed and took my bike downstairs. I rode to Cycler's and realised I forgot to write down my ODO and didn't have my stopwatch. (I had to take the mileage on the way back later to add it in for the evening ride).

I rode past Cycler's and onward up Lexington Rd to Cannon's and then to Seneca Park. There was quite a lot of traffic, but not as much as I expected for 5:15 - 5:35. I took a pit stop at the park, doubled checked my water bottles and started thinking I need to invest in a bike lock (keyed or combination - topic for another time).

I rode from Seneca to Cherokee, went up Dog Hill and Hoagland Hill. Felt pretty good for the first time. Then on the way down I missed my turn and stayed on Scenic Loop. There was Dog Hill again! Oh dear, sooner than expected, for sure. Still neither was terribly bad. Can't say they were easy, but my lungs and heart still felt fairly good.

The second time down, I asked where I missed my turn. People are so friendly! I made my way back into Seneca Park, slowed down to drink some water and then headed back to Cherokee. Now, I had already seen lots of cyclists. Some were mountain biking off road - down hills and through creeks. There were a couple of clubs out riding, wearing their colours. One group look to have about 25 - 35 riders. I'd love to get to the skill level where I could join a team like that. Each has it's own rules/guidelines/entry requirements. One is fairly open and only requires a given # of races each season.

The third time I arrive to the base of Dog Hill, I decide I need to catch my breath before ascending. Just took about 3 minutes of breathing easy to get my heart rate down. Then I took it. Third time was very hard, but I made it. My right hip flexor was really screaming at me by the top. The ride down was about 31 mph. Couldn't go any faster due to all the walkers and dogs and other cyclists and runners. I see the ascent to Hoagland Hill approaching and take another 3 minute breather. By this time I had been on the road for at least an hour and a half. This one was more difficult than Dog Hill, but I went into my Granny ring and rode it to the top.

It feels so good to be able to go back to the middle or big ring at the top of a hill. While riding in the parks a couple of guys and gals waived, nodded or spoke. A couple said, "Nice bike". Which I returned, "Thanks! wish the legs were in better shape to enjoy". Both said, "they'll come". Interesting. My bike is new, but entry level. I don't really know much about all the bikes, what makes them good versus top of line versus not. Maybe it's the brand name that catches people's eye. I'm not sure.

I wrapped up the third set of hills and headed back to Seneca. By this time it was 7ish so I left the park and headed back to Cycler's. Once there, I grabbed a cold beer and a potty break. Talked to them about bike locks for a bit and then sat on front porch and finished my beer. In came a group from the Tuesday Night Worlds (I'm pretty sure). It's a little intimidating see all those cyclists in their team gear. One of them is a woman that is very good and very competitive. I got out of there pretty quick at that point. It was after 7:30 and I wanted to get to the office before dusk set in. I don't have lights on my bike!

All in all, I was out for two and a half hours. I figure I spent close to 2 of it riding. My mileage for the ride was 30 miles which was the most I've done to date in a single ride. I was very proud of myself. Not fast, but I did the hills 3 times. I was tired but felt great driving home.

I was even more surprised about how good I felt this morning. No soreness in my legs at all. Just a touch in my lower back, but that happens with an hour on the trainer. The worst was my neck and shoulders were stiff. I need to work on keeping my upper body relaxed while riding. All in good time.

Today was an off day. I thought about an easy spin on the trainer, but decided this bod needed a rest. Looks like rain and colder temps for the next few days so I will be inside which sux. :-(

But outside, days are starting to even up with inside days. Soon they will outnumber. Hello Spring and Summer!

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