Slow is not bad and I’ll tell you why.
***Some of the rides have hyperlinks to my Garmin Connect page.****
I try to ride my bike at least three times during the week and twice on the weekend. If I go on a hike or geocaching that is subject to change. What follows is this past week’s rides.
My favorite ride as of late is to go over to the beautifully landscaped West Creek Business Development after work and ride four 6 mile laps. When it’s too cold to ride in the morning I’ll do this ride twice a week after work. West Creek is about three miles from my house so I throw my bike on the back of Lynn’s car after I get home and can be on the bike riding in no time. My goal is ride faster each time I go out. West Creek has twice as many street lamps as required by law so it’s become a haven for night time training with local cyclists, triathletes, and runners. The twenty-four miles at my target heart is exhausting.
Lynn and the kids gave me this neat bike computer for Christmas, a Garmin Edge 500, that tracks my time, heart rate, speed, course and elevation plus laps. My goal is to break the 16 mile per average barrier. Please – if you one of my bike riding buddies don’t laugh at how slow this is. For me it’s a challenge. Considering I’m 53 years old and weigh 285 pounds, I don’t think that’s too bad. My last West Creek lap ride this week averaged 15.9 mph. I’m close!!
The other ride I did this week is my morning “hour” ride. This ride starts at my house goes up Patterson, through the aforementioned West Creek, back up Patterson and down River Road to Gayton and back home. It’s a little over 15 miles and takes a little less than an hour for me. It’s a challenging ride for two reasons. First it’s done in complete darkness which drives Lynn crazy with worry. I use a light so bright that I have to dim it when I meet cars. I also have two rear blinky lights that flash at different rates. I have been stopped no less than three times by other cyclists in cars who have told me how envious they are of my set up.
The second reason it’s a challenging ride is because of a killer hill a mile from the finish on River Road. It sends my heart rate crazy. The first two times I rode this ride I had to walk the bike up most of the hill. I push myself to maintain a certain heart rate so it’s ALWAYS a killer ride.
The least sexy but probably most effective ride of the week is on our Diamondback 910UB Stationary bike in our study. It’s in front of a 32″ flat screen and I usually watch something bike related to help pump me up. This week I did an hour ride at a pretty fast pace while watching a documentary on Lance Armstrong. Still admire the guy. I can’t help myself. I guess having a wife that’s gone through cancer colors my perception of the guy.
My favorite ride of this week though is my slowest ride. It’s the local bike club, RABAs’, ABC ride. ABC stands for Ashland Breakfast Club because we start in Glen Allen ride to Ashland, have breakfast (Ashland Coffee and Tea) and ride back. Lynn usually goes with me and sometimes buddies, Steven, Whit and Joel. Since it was 38 degrees this morning Lynn and I were on our own but usually there’s about 50-80 people riding this ride in more temperate times.
Today, despite the cold temps, the weather was gorgeous!! I love riding with Lynn because I don’t feel the need or pressure to to push the pace. We just pedal along and enjoy the the scenery. The smells as you ride in the cold weather seem so much more vibrant. The smell of a wood fire, someone’s dryer, or of bacon are amazing!!
Much of the ride is alongside the train tracks so we can usually count on an escort of freight cars. Today was no exception. Once at the AC&T. We finally saw some other cyclists. I got my usual chocolate chip muffin and coffee and we both sat outside. It YUMMY!!! We people watched for a bit and talked about things only people who’ve been married over 30 years can talk of.
While gearing up for the return trip the Amtrak passenger train pulled into town. You can’t be more quaint than that.
A RABA regular, Betty, joined us for the return trip and we all chatted each other up on the way back. We swapped careers and riding history. It was slow and as delicious as the chocolate chip muffin. Rides of this type are like therapy, church and massage all rolled into one. Steven and I have had such rides where 30 miles or so went by and felt like nothing. It powerwashes your soul.
Tomorrow I may go on a longer and much harder ride that I’ll enjoy all the more because of rides like I had today.