Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Hard Week

First, a disclaimer.  There are a lot of people who have real problems in their lives.  Nothing I'm going to be bitching about below falls in that category.  Sometimes, (well, often, actually) I just like to complain.

By Sunday night last week, I had come down with a cold.  It wasn't a horrible cold (indeed Kate's cold was much worse than mine).  But it meant that I didn't ride my bike to work all week.  By Friday, most of my symptoms had gone, but I was still feeling a little bit "low energy" so I drove that day, too.  Since Andrew and I have begun training for the metric century next week, this is the first time that I haven't met my weekly mileage goal.

Driving home from Mother's Day breakfast with Kate and the monkeys, my car started to overheat.  I made it home and realized that it was low on both radiator fluid and oil.  Not good.

I went to the store in my wife's car and got both.  It seemed to be running much better, so I drove it to the mechanic (who fortunately, is open on Sunday).  I then rode my folding bike the 1.7 miles home.  This was the longest I had ridden an upright bicycle since I got my Sofrider recumbent bicycle.  And I really didn't like it. The seat felt not very uncomfortable almost immediately.  And I really felt quite high up (even on my folding bike).   It also didn't help that the gears are now messed up on my folding bike, but hopefully that will be easy enough to fix.

(As far as the car, the mechanic couldn't find an active leak, but thinks it might be the water pump.  Oh joy.)

I was running late for when I told Andrew I'd meet him at his house, so I got everything ready and left. On the way over, just before his house, I saw a fully spandexed rider gaining on me.  I pushed it into high gear and pushed as hard as I could.  He overtook me on a relatively flat stretch when I was going about 22 mph.  I looked over at him and said "I tried."  He just looked back, smiled, and said "Nice job!" as he continued to fly past me.  At some point in my life, I hope I grow up enough to stop doing (somewhat) silly things like this and just let those with more energy pass me so I don't keep blowing all of my energy reserves too early (although in this case, it was a fun interaction with some random cyclist, so I shouldn't complain too much).

So I arrived at Andrew's house and we took off north.  We rode a very similar route this time to what we had done the first time we made it to New York state. The last time, we turned around where the "experienced gentleman" told us the rest of the route was quite hilly.  This time we kept going.

Not surprisingly, the gentleman's description of the route was right on.  We climbed almost 250 feet in just over 1 and a third miles. Then another 100 feet in a third of a mile, followed by 85 feet in a quarter mile.  That may not sound like a lot, but it really took it out of both Andrew and myself.  Here's a picture of myself at the top of the last big hill:

As you can tell by the picture (which was taken after a couple minutes of rest), I look beaten.  And we still had another 20 miles to go to reach our target.

So I've complained a lot so far.  There were a lot of nice things about this ride.  Most of the scenery was quite nice.  For example:

And just after this bit of going up and up and up, there was a nice stretch of coming down too.  I didn't get as close to 40 miles per hour here, but I did hit a respectable 35 mph.  When Andrew caught up after that bit, he proclaimed "You're the king of the downhill, Charles!" A silly comment, but it helped me get back some more energy.

Both Andrew and I felt quite tired after this ride, compared to the others.  Although the elevation gain for this ride isn't out of line with the others (2600 feet uncorrected compared to 2200 feet uncorrected for our City Island ride), my Garmin also thought this was more difficult as it decided that I burned over 5800 calories on this ride compared to just over 4800 for City Island.  My heart rate also seems to think that today's riding was much tougher. So I don't know that I really believe these calorie calculations, but this time, it does make me feel better.

We don't know if it was the heat (it was definitely hotter), the hills, or even the lack of pretzels (which Andrew has been bringing regularly, but not today), but this ride really does stick out in our minds as being, well, hard.

The Bloomin' Metric Century and its 62 miles are next week.  It shouldn't be nearly as hilly as today's ride and we'll start much earlier in the day, so hopefully heat won't be an issue.  So although this last ride really isn't giving us too much confidence (since next week we'll need another 17 miles on top of what we did today)., I really do believe that we'll be o.k.  And just to make sure,  Andrew will bring pretzels again.

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