Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cycling distance PR

Well, I did it! I didn't want the pressure of a long bike ride looming over me all week, and Jerry was off work today, so it was the perfect time to get it done. He stayed home with the kids this morning, and I decided to head out for a 20-30 mile ride. I had a route semi-planned, which was an out-and-back cutting through the State Park and through downtown Monroe.

As I've complained about mentioned several times, it's ridiculously humid here right now. This morning, when I headed out, it was already 81 degrees with a "real feel" temp of 89. The last thing I wanted to do was wear a backpack in the heat, so I decided to bring some cash with me to buy some water along the ride if I needed it. I always wear my FlipBelt to carry my phone, so I stuck some money in there, and that's literally all I brought with me. Since Jerry was home, I figured I could call him to get me if it got too bad!

I put some air in my tires, and then headed out. The first 5-6 miles went great! I was keeping a decent pace (I wasn't try to ride really fast, but I didn't want to be out there for several hours, either), and the heat didn't bother me too much because while riding, there is a nice breeze.

I chose to go into the State Park in order to avoid having to go over the expressway, which has a lot of traffic (and, frankly, it scares the shit out of me). The State Park is a great spot for running, but not so much for bike riding. The paved paths have a lot of tree roots underneath them, which makes them very bumpy. I had to slow down quite a bit in several areas, because I was afraid of blowing out a tire or something when going over roots. Thankfully, I was only in the State Park for a few miles.

This was one of the smoother parts on the path

After I turned onto the main street to go through town, and I made it to a pretty busy intersection, the light was red. Instead of waiting, I decided to just turn right, and completely revise my route. While I was riding, I had been thinking about how I really didn't want to turn around and go back the same way; when I run, I love out-and-back routes, but not for bike riding, apparently. When I made that right turn, I started thinking of all the possibilities for fitting in 20-30 miles. It was fun not having a plan!

Most of the ride was on back roads with no shoulders, which could be a little scary; but after riding through the city streets, I would much prefer the cars flying past me at 60 mph on the back roads! The drivers on the city streets paid no attention to me, even though I was obeying all the traffic laws for a cyclist (and even riding on sidewalks where possible). I learned that even though I should have had the right of way several times, most drivers couldn't care less and would rather nearly hit me than yield the right of way.

There were a couple of roads that tore up my legs (metaphorically, of course)--they were recently repaved with a really rough asphalt. It's like loose gravel, but cemented together, if that makes sense. It makes the road very rough and bumpy and it's difficult to ride on. The only really scary moment I had was on a road that actually was loose gravel, and I crossed an overpass. On the downhill part, the gravel on the side of the road was very loose and plentiful, and I thought for sure I was going to wipe out. I didn't.

Once I hit about mile 20, I started to feel really fatigued. It wasn't like when I run, where my whole body aches and my breathing is hard; while riding, it came on really gradually, and I just felt tired (for lack of a better word). I knew I could have ended the ride at 20 miles, but deep down, I wanted to aim for 30 (the distance of the Tour de Troit).

At mile 26, I was really starting to feel thirsty. Rather than suffer it out until I got home, I stopped at the rec center and went inside to buy a water from the vending machine. I sucked down the whole 20 oz. bottle, and then headed back out for the final 4 miles. It felt like it took forever, because I was really exhausted then, but I hit 30 miles just before pulling into my driveway. The exhaustion hit me hard, and I collapsed into a chair in the garage, where I sat for a little while before going inside. I was thrilled though: I did it!

My helmet wasn't even on backwards this time ;)
I was excited to see that I even had a couple of sub-4:00 miles. I've never done that before. I'm getting a little faster without intentionally trying.

I burned a ton of calories, which was exciting. I decided to use them on a sub from a local place called Erie Bread Co. They have an amazing sub called the 13-8-on-9 (no idea what that means, but it's DELICIOUS). I'm pretty sure the whole sub has probably about 2,000 calories, so obviously it's not easy to fit into an everyday diet. But today, Jerry and I split one, and I guesstimated 980 calories for half (I picked that number because that's the number of calories in Panera's Italian Combo sandwich, which is the most similar one I could think of to this).

It's seriously the most delicious sandwich I've ever eaten. If you're ever in Monroe area, check out Erie Bread. Their food is amazing! (I wish they had tables to eat inside, but it's carry out only.)

The kids start school on Tuesday, and right now I'm trying to get organized for a very busy fall! The kids will have baseball on Saturday mornings, as well as cross country meets. Noah will have cross country practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I'll be coaching cross country for the elementary kids on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Our meets are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On top of that, I have friends coming in from out of town in October (Caitlin and Paige the first weekend, and Thomas the third weekend). It's going to be a crazy (but very fun!) couple of months! Right now is the calm before the storm, so I need to get organized and plan carefully ;)

In other news, Nathan's first ultra marathon (the Freak 50K at Run Woodstock in Hell, MI) is coming up fast--September 13th. I am planning to go spectate and cheer him on. Anyone else doing any of those races at Run Woodstock? I had hoped to do the Hippie Half this year, but with my injury, that's not going to happen. I'll have a lot of fun spectating, though--they have a 50K, 50-Miler, 100K, and 100-Miler going on as well! Having ridden my bike 30 miles today, I'm more than a little stunned that Nathan will be RUNNING that far (plus another mile) very soon. He has kicked ass as far as his training goes, so I won't be surprised if he places in the top 10 finishers. Anyway, if any of you are doing any of the races that weekend, let me know, and maybe we can meet up :)