Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Long Ride—A RAGBRAI Analogy

It’s not exactly a RAGBRAI day—for one thing, I was riding bike trails in Cedar Rapids, for the most part, so it was much, much less hilly than any cross-country ride in Iowa.

As any Iowan can tell you, we’re not Nebraska. Nebraska is a military bed with all the sheets tightly tucked in. You can bounce the quarter. Iowa is the bed in the morning with a few pillows misplaced and the sheets and blankets every which way.

No mountains, but lots of hills.

And, I was riding alone, not in a pack of some 10,000 or more.

So it was merely an analogy of a RAGBRAI day, but today I rode 64 miles. I went down to Ely, rode over to the Prairie Park Fishery and rode on the west side of the Cedar River out to Ellis Park.

I am sure glad I invested in bike shorts. My leg muscles are not happy with me, but still. I did it and my butt survived—I can ride a distance that’s equivalent to a RAGBRAI day.

Time, on the other hand, was not so great. I started at 9 a.m. and got back home around 4:30 p.m. That’s more than seven hours to go just over 60 miles—average speed well under 10 mph. However, I did stop for at least 5 minutes each hour and took one 15-minute break in the middle of the ride, and much of the ride was in the city. When I was headed out to Ellis Park through central Cedar Rapids, I had to wait at every traffic light. When I was in motion, I was usually doing more than 10 mph, but all the “zero” time pulled own my average a lot.

I am not sure how RAGBRAI conditions will either speed me up or slow me down. The excitement of the event and being with other riders may speed me up. Or heavy traffic may show me down. There won’t be city stops and goes, but there will be a lot going on.

We’ll see. For now I’m just happy to confirm that I can indeed handle more than 60 miles on a bike in one day. And I’m up to 100 so far this week.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! Hope to make a long ride like that before my RAGBRAI impressed that you're doing the whole thing!