For a while now, I’ve been interested in raising my biking mileage. With some of the three-day weekends I’ve had lately, I thought sure I would break a 50-mile weekend, but it never seemed to happen, for one reason or another.
But last weekend I talked myself into joining an Easy Riders ride through the SW hills and trails and did my first 30-mile ride. That went so well that I had a salad and drinks afterwards, and decided to ride all the way home as well, another 20 miles. w00t, my first 50-mile day! I arrived home very dry, and with a terribly sore ass, but otherwise quite chuffed.
This weekend, there was a Portland Wheelmen ride down in Canby, and I was determined to build on my experience with their “short” little 30-mile ride. I did a bit of riding during the week, to stay loose. I also made it a point to eat really well during the week. My staple meal all week was Thai Spring Rolls, without the wrappers. Basically, that’s a veggie confetti (cabbage, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro, cucumber, bell pepper, water chestnuts, celery) with a modest amount of shredded roasted chicken and some spicy peanut sauce. Yum! Layer all that over a wee bit of brown rice, and I could eat that seven days a week! I also slept better during the week than is normal for me. I had a good meal the night before, didn’t drink, and went to bed early.
And woke up Saturday morning feeling like crap on a stick. Groggy, listless, half asleep, with a bitch of a headache and little flashes of light in my vision. (I’ve had those light flashes a few times in my life, once as a precursor for a major migraine.)
But I was determined to tough it out. We drove down to Canby, only to find it cooler, grayer and windier than predicted. We signed up, ate a wee bit of oatmeal and started the ride. Right away, I let my ego run away with me, and I hammered hard (for me) through the miles. I kept thinking that if I just pushed through, I’d come out the other side feeling fine. It happens sometimes! It didn’t happen this time. My legs had no juice, I couldn’t get a second wind, I felt like I was pedaling into a stiff headwind on the entire loop. And I let myself fall into the headgame of keeping a running count of riders I was passing, versus riders who were passing me. (Yet another time when very mild OCD is not helpful.) I was doing fairly well until the last five miles (26-26) when two separate packs of 15, lithe, spandex-clad gazelles slipped past me like I was standing still. That dashed all hopes of breaking even. I salvaged a wee bit of pride by passing a pack of seven riders a little later, but by that time I was mainly interested in simply being done. Ride finished, we ate a wee bit of post-ride food and came back home to crash for a most righteous nap.
And I woke up feeling better than I had in 24 hours. Go figure. Apparently I know not a damn thing about prepping for a ride. Sigh.
After lots of thought and discussion, on the next ride I will focus on simply having fun and enjoying the day, and speed and competition be damned. At this point, I’m more interested in building miles than building speed. (Though I expect the one will contribute to the other.)
One final note – Last night, after dinner, I stopped by REI to look at padded bike shorts (ow, my ass!). In the changing room, I flexed my legs a bit. Damn! I’ve always had pretty cut calves, but my quads… wow! When did that happen?!
I spent last night looking over the Pedalpalooza calendar, deciding what events I was most interested in joining. Heh, I have something in mind for almost every single day, and multiple events for several of the days. It’s gonna be a bust bicycling month in Portland!