40 Miles Of Wind
|September 15, 2012||Posted by Katy under Biking, Long Ride|
It was a beautiful morning for a bike ride…
But looks can be deceiving.
This morning I set out for my first long ride of my metric century training plan. The plan called for 40 miles- a personal distance record.
I spent yesterday looking at ride cue sheets from a local bike club in the area. While I intend on possibly meeting up with this club in the future, I am not comfortable enough on hills and shifting yet and worry that I would be left behind on a group ride. Since I was doing this ride solo, I wanted a clear idea of where I was riding so I would be semi-comfortable.
Eventually I decided on a ride which consisted of a 27 mile loop through the backroads of Southern Maryland. I mapped out the route on Google maps and it looked fairly decent, flat (which was a lie, more later in the post), and straight forward to follow. Since the roads were pretty rural, I was not concerned about too much vehicle traffic, especially on a Saturday morning.
I woke up at 6am, ate a small breakfast, and then headed about 25 minutes down the road to my starting point. After setting up my bike, attaching my cue sheet, and gearing up, I started my ride at around 7:30.
The first ten miles were not too bad. There were some small rolling hills, but nothing that I could not manage with some very minor gear shifting. I was keeping a fairly decent pace (for me) at around 17 mph and feeling on top of the world. The views were gorgeous (farmland for miles) and with the exception of a few passing cars and nearly running over a dead raccoon, I was enjoying myself.
Then I made a right hand turn on another road and that is where everything hit the fan. I was immediately faced with strong headwinds and the hills started to get steeper. I was beginning to have difficulties with shifting and could not figure out the right combination to keep me going up the hills without nearly falling over. The road was also very bumpy during this stretch, much more than I anticipated.
At mile 14, I hit a hill that I absolutely could NOT get up. So I had to hop off my bike and walk it up. I’ll admit, it was a little disappointing, but I’ll eventually be strong enough to bike up a steep hill.
It may not look steep in this picture, but believe me, it was. It was at this point that I decided to take a “quick” break. The break actually ended up being longer than I anticipated due to some shuffling of gear and clothing, but I eventually got on my bike and continued on my way.
While I was starting to get a little tired at this point, I was not even halfway there so I continued to push ahead. I started drinking my Gatorade/ water mix for some extra calories and continued to keep a pace in the 16′s. The wind was still hitting me head on, but I tried to remain positive.
At some point, I turned into a subdivision which was filled with hills, hills, hills! While I did not walk my bike up any of these hills, I can guarantee that I looked like an idiot trying to figure out my gears while (pathetically) slugging my body up at a whopping 9 mph.
Once I got out of the subdivision, I hit the part of the ride I was most looking forward to. This section of the ride was along the roads that John Wilkes Booth travelled when he was fleeing DC after shooting President Lincoln. In fact, I passed the Mudd House, where Booth was treated for a broken leg. Nothing like a history lesson during a ride, huh?
I really want to come back sometime when the house is open and go on a tour. While I may not be the biggest history buff, I find myself fascinated with stuff like this.
After I passed the Mudd House, I was only a few miles from my starting point. While I was over halfway finished with the ride, I was starting to feel the fatigue from the hills and wind. However, I knew that I was going to finish the ride.
Once I hit my starting point (at a little over 27.5 miles), I retraced the first 6 miles of the loop and did a down and back to round off my ride to 40 miles. My mantra for the final stretch was “I owe this to myself, I owe this to myself.” It sounds ridiculous I know, but since I am not running right now, I owe it to myself to put 100% of my effort into every workout I do. I want to perform well at this metric century next month and the only way I can ensure this is to push myself.
40 miles (and some change) later, I was finished…thank goodness!
This was definitely a difficult ride, but it was a learning experience. There are a few things I will change before/ for next week’s ride:
- I need to invest in either a cycling jersey or cycling jacket: I wore my yellow Gasparilla pull-over today and while I was never hot or cold during the ride, I need jersey pockets. I had to stop a few times to get things out of the zipper pockets in the front of my jacket which was a pain in the butt. Having a jersey or jacket with back pockets will make my life so much easier! In the past, I’ve worn my tri-top (which has back pockets) but since the weather is starting to get cooler (not complaining!), I can no longer wear my tri-top.
- I need more calories: Before and during! Before the ride, I had 2 rice cakes with about 1.5 T of almond butter. This worked well for me last week but I completely bonked this week. I have a sensitive stomach when it comes to food and exercise, but I think that I can get away with something more substantial when I ride. I also need to intake more calories during my ride. I only had 3 Shot Blocks and 12 oz of Gatorade during the ride (~150 calories) which was way too little. (I will admit that I forgot my other fuel in my car)
- I need to figure out shifting: I’m getting better in the terms that I understand how to do minor shifts for small rolling hills, but I can’t figure out the right combination for the bigger hills. I know that it isn’t difficult, but I blame it on my Florida roots.
- I need to not get discouraged: I tend to over think when I workout, especially with running and now cycling. A lot of negative thoughts tend to float in and I need to work on pushing them out.
- No pain, no gain: This is pretty self-explanatory. Nothing worth fighting for is easy to achieve… I need to remember that.
Today may have been difficult, but there is always next week! Onward and upward!
What are your weekend workout/ training plans? Have you hit a new PDR recently?