November 05, 2014

A 20-mile ride

When I got up this morning, I kind of wished I hadn't said I was going to bike ride for cross training once a week. But, because I said it, I was going to do it!

After getting the kids off to school, it took me a while to get ready to finally leave, but not nearly as long as last time. I already had my bike in our garage, I had the right air pump for the tires, and I knew how to put on my helmet ;)  I didn't know this until this morning, but the Garmin 620 has a cycling mode on it. Last week, I wore the 910XT in order to use the cycling mode.

I read a little bit more of that book, The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners, but it made me feel SO overwhelmed. I had no idea there was so much to know! I just prayed I wouldn't get a flat tire or something. Instead of riding on the roads again, I decided to drive to the Metropark and ride the long bike path, so I wouldn't have to worry about cars coming up behind me.

Getting the bike into the Jeep took some time. I knew you could take the front tire off the bike, but it took me a little while to figure that out. Once I did, though, I realized just how simple it was. Next time it'll be easy!

FINALLY, I made my way to the Metropark. I parked at the near end of the park, where the trail begins. I was hoping to bike 20 miles today, but I wanted to see how it felt before determining that. Last week, I did 16, so I just figured I could ride out 8 miles and see if I wanted to turn around or keep going.

It was pretty windy again (not as bad as last week, but still very noticeable). I stopped about a mile in to put on some gloves. As I was riding, I spent some time messing with the gears, just to see what happened. I wanted to understand a little better when to shift gears, so I figured playing around with them was the best way to learn.

The first time I downshifted while going up a hill (overpass, because we don't have hills), it was a big lightbulb moment for me. It was SO much easier to pedal! Also, when the wind was really strong, I found that downshifting helped.

The trail was really bumpy going through the woods, because of all the tree roots growing underneath the asphalt. There were a few times where I hit a bump and was pretty sure I shattered my pelvis when my butt came down on the seat. It's funny, I never noticed the bumps when I was running, but on a bike, they are definitely magnified. I wasn't really able to go fast where the bumps were bad, because I was constantly braking.

I felt good at mile eight, so I kept going. I was really surprised that my butt bones weren't nearly as sore as they were last week. Last week, I had to keep shifting positions on the seat, because it was painful, but it was definitely more tolerable today. I looped a park at mile 10 before heading back. It was pretty!

On the way back, I had a tailwind, and it was crazy how much easier it was to pedal with the wind rather than against it. You can see on my speed graph exactly where I changed direction:

On the way back, I went across the overpass, and a combination of the downhill plus tailwind, I hit over 20 mph. I'm sure that's not impressive to "real" cyclists, but that was pretty terrifying! It felt fun going that fast, but I knew I was toast if I hit a bump.

I went back through the Metropark, and was surprised at how good I felt for having just ridden my bike farther than I ever have before. My legs felt tired, but not sore at all. I'd also burned 743 calories, earning 10 Activity PointsPlus! (Good for two glasses of wine ;) )

I definitely enjoyed today's ride more than last week's, and I dare say that I'm sort of looking forward to doing it again next week. Maybe I'll choose a new place to go, to keep it interesting.

I was so excited when I saw today that Andrew Peterson is a finalist for the Runner's World Cover Contest. I posted about him when the voting had just gotten started, and I was really hopeful that he would win. I voted for him daily, and I loved seeing his name rise up the leaderboard.

When I was at the Runner's World headquarters office last month, I was really hoping to get a sneak peak at who won, but they kept it very confidential. We still don't know who the actual winner is, but there are 10 finalists, and Andrew is one of them!

When I first read his story, I found him so inspirational. He's intellectually disabled due to fetal alcohol syndrome, but he said, "I don't want your pity; rather, I need your respect." His story of being teased when he was younger because of the way he talked made me think of Mark, which of course tugged at my heart strings. But Andrew has proved himself to be worthy of Runner's World not because he has a disability--but because he's FAST and a great runner. He used running to cope during school, but he kept taking it up a level, and now he runs in the Special Olympics. His times are amazing! So I would love to see him on the cover as a respected athlete.

You can read his finalist bio here, on the RW site. There are some really great finalists. Michele Elbertson, for example, has lost 268 pounds and is a six-time marathoner! 

For dinner tonight, I had a bunch of peppers to use up, so I made an old favorite--Stuffed Pepper Soup. I had forgotten about that soup until I saw a picture of it a couple of days ago, and it sounded SO good. I always crave soup this time of year, and thankfully, my family loves eating soup for dinner.

Eating that tonight made me in the mood to try out some more soup recipes. Love this time of year!


  1. I make a really simple Thai red curry soup and it's delicious! I just use 2 cooked chicken breasts, 2 cans coconut milk, a table spoon of red curry paste, 2-3 cups chicken stock, 1 diced red pepper, a bunch of chopped scallions & 1 cup jasmin rice. I throw everything but the chicken and rice in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes then add the rice and chicken and cook 10 more minutes or according to rice package directions. Add salt and pepper and that's it. I have added fish sauce in th past and omitted the salt and it was very good too! The soup is really flexible and quantities, I just taste as I go!

    1. That sounds delicious! I may give that one a try soon. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love reading your blog. It is very inspirational. My 8 year old was reading over my shoulder and commented that you look great. She's right, you do. Did you/do you follow weight watchers as your eating program? I am getting back into exercise. I need to lose about a 1/3 of my weight but can't figure out how to get my eating doable and correct.

    1. Thank you so much! :) I do follow Weight Watchers. When I was losing the weight, I went back and forth between WW and calorie counting on SparkPeople. I really like the WW program, though, so I've been doing that on and off since 2012 now. Great job getting back to exercise! That was a tough one for me.

  3. Just a suggestion for riding over bumps on your bike - stand up while riding over them, and your legs will work like extra shock absorbers :) I'm no expert, but after going mountain biking a few times - I've learned that's much more comfortable!

    1. Yes, I learned that as I was riding yesterday. Sometimes I didn't know the bump was coming until it was too late, but it did help when I had time to stand up!

  4. Great job on the 20 miler. In 2010 I was really burned out on running, so I got a mountain bike. I hadn't owned a bike since 5th grade (about 35 years) and it was a 3 speed! It took a while, but learning when and how to shift properly really makes a huge difference, especially on hills. It's great cardio while giving your joints a much needed to break.

    1. This is my first time owning a bike that wasn't bought at Kmart ;) I'm still getting used to it, obviously! And yes, shifting gears on the hill and with a headwind made the ride much more pleasant. I wish I had known that years ago.


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