Picturing the future (updated)
The one thing that was annoying was that I got out new booties, and attempted to put them on the same way I described yesterday. That didn't work; neither of the new ones would stretch over the heel of my shoes. So I put the old ones on again, and will revisit that issue later today.
And speaking of lingering issues, I got in touch with Stages again yesterday and sent them pictures of my meter. It turns out that they had a manufacturing problem with the caps on their meters for a while (you'd think that, since my meter was a refurb - due to being a warranty replacement - that they'd've caught that earlier, but apparently not), and the cap is known to pull the battery away from the terminal. Don't know for sure if that's my problem, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. In any event, they're shipping out a replacement, which will hopefully arrive within a day or two.
The temperature was projected to be just under 50F, so I opted for a light jersey with a sleeveless base layer. A sleeved base layer might have been better (I was a little chilled, occasionally), but it worked out ok overall.
The departure timing seemed about right, so I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got on the road a few minutes earlier than planned (yay, preparations). The one thing I was planning on doing differently today was to try to maintain a higher cadence than I've been doing (I normally end up around 55-60 on easy days, in the interest of keeping my heart rate down).
Today, I decided to try upping that a bit, to exercise my cardiovascular system a bit more. Unfortunately, I don't really know how that worked. If my heart rate meter is to be believed (hint: for much of the ride, it definitely isn't), then I did a great job and everything worked out. Unfortunately, I don't really know. The meter was flaky for most of the first hour, flat-lining at different values for most of that period. The one positive sign is that my heart rate stayed down once the meter did seem to start working.
The one thing I'm not sure if I understand is that I made excellent time on the ride. Strava admits to 14.4mph, which is a significant improvement on my usual just-short-of-14. And that's with my camelbak with the camera and tripod, which definitely slowed me both on hills and at speed. So something certainly went right.
In fact, I almost stretched the ride out another few miles, based on that, but I wasn't sure if I believed the data. And I'm glad I didn't, really. I wouldn't have been problematically late, but I would have had a lot less time to eat, for sure.
As you can see from above, the timing did work out well for picture-taking. I took half a dozen or so pictures, and I think that's my favorite. I didn't end up using the tripod (just decided it was too much of a pain to take out and unfold), though perhaps I should have (definitely would have saved at least one of the shots).
One bit of amusement: due to pausing to take the pictures, I passed the one lady jogging three different times. The third time, approaching, I said, "On your left. Again". We both laughed.
As far as the rest of the data about the ride, cadence averaged 72 (which likely includes a several minute drop-out of the meter, which I was able to end when I took the last picture), so that might be part of why there was more speed. Distance was 26.2 miles, with 1173' of elevation (more than I expected).
Overall, I was very happy with the results, and will definitely try to raise my cadence higher on easy rides. Or maybe I'll try to raise the tempo sometimes, and try to grind it out more on others. It could be that both will be helpful. I'll have to give it some thought.
In any event, tomorrow will definitely be an easy day. I'm not sure about time or distance, but I'll be taking it easy. I guess if I get up early, I might repeat this morning's ride, maybe with another mile or three thrown in. The weather should be nice and warm, but heading towards thunderstorms later. That could make things interesting, in a good way (as long as the thunderstorms don't move up enough to show up for the ride, of course).
Update: I forgot to mention that I was really amused to come one km short of finishing one of the Strava challenges, at the end of the ride. For a 1225km challenge, I find that very funny, and I wish I could say that I did it deliberately. FWIW, I'm currently ranked 8195th on that challenge.