Catching up

[this was written yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to post it]

Somewhat interesting few days, for me, on the bike.

Sunday, I had a bit more time (I didn't need to be back until 0800, plus I got woken up a little early), so I decided to take a much longer ride. In fact, I was thinking, after Saturday's torture, that I should probably try to do the really hard rides during the week, and save the weekend for longer rides.

Anyway, I did twenty-four miles (which is quite a lot, riding the hybrid, I think), and had no trouble keeping my heartrate in my target range (which was a bit surprising after what happened Friday). It turned out I had time to do a bit more, but wasn't sure and didn't want to risk going overboard. But I still had a good time, and felt quite good afterwards.

Monday, I didn't have a lot of time, and wanted to take a different route, so I rode down to Shirlington, and circled around there (going up the long hill on S 31st St where I lived, many moons ago), then came back home. It was a bit annoying, actually, as way too many cars wanted to drive much too close to me for comfort. But that was the only downside to the ride; heart rate stayed in my target range pretty well. It was cold and wet, but that didn't bother me at all, that day.

Tuesday, the weather took a distinct turn for the worse, as we got an inch or so of snow. However, I had the presence of mind to check on my daughter's school, so I knew, starting out, that I had a bit more time than usual. Again, some jackasses wanted to drive way too close (and way too fast), but at least they were gone quickly, so I didn't end up dwelling on them. And again, it was cold, but not bothering me. I did wish I was riding my road bike (not the least of which reasons was that I can put the rain fender on, which would have kept the back of my coat from getting covered in salt), but I still had a good time.

The cold not bothering me either of those days says really good things about the snowboarding mittens I finally broke down and bought a couple weeks ago. They just rock. My hands don't get cold much, and, when they do, it's very easy to bunch my fists within and warm up. I feel the cold occasionally, but it rarely bothers me.

Today, even though I got my road bike back late yesterday, I decided I wanted to try to duplicate my torture ride from Saturday. So I kept the pedals on the hybrid, and got out there. Eventually. I woke up almost forty minutes late (first time in quite a while I've been more than fifteen minutes late getting up), and then realized I'd forgotten to charge my lights. Fortunately, I was able to make do in the lighting department. As expected, my front light had plenty of charge, and I was able to use my back-up rear light. Both did make it through the ride without issues (in fact, in an attempt to run down the back light, I ended up leaving it on the entire day.

But putting it on added to the time needed.

Fortunately, I wasn't planning a terribly long ride. So I got moving, and found almost no ice on the road (my secondary reason for riding the hybrid; it can deal with ice. I'd like to not break another brifter anytime soon). And I started pushing right away. I'm not sure if I pushed as hard as Saturday (I was trying, but I have no way of judging if I succeeded), but I was definitely pushing hard. Speeds over the first parts of the ride were very similar, though not identical. Anyway, I never got close to 200 heart rate; I topped out at 182. Health-wise, that's probably a good thing, but it was disappointing to me nonetheless.

The good part was that I did get a good ride in. Only about forty-five minutes, but it was a pretty tough forty-five. I did over 800' of elevation in there, and still averaged fourteen miles per hour (which is good, on that bike). It wasn't quite as much elevation per minute as Saturday's torture-fest, but it was pretty close.

One thing I do wonder is if Saturday's ride did any serious improvement for me, physiologically. I felt much better today, than after that ride (to say nothing of how much better I felt during it). I'll have to do my MacArthur loop this coming Saturday as a benchmark.

Another thing that I've realized, over the last several days, is that getting out of the saddle regularly is really important. It isn't a matter of pushing harder (though it does help with that), but more a matter of getting blood flowing better through the butt, and into the legs. It also helps with keeping hands warm, although that's less of a big deal.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be back on the road bike, so we'll see how that goes. It'll definitely be nice to have better data from the rides.

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