Saturday, July 6, 2013

In Which Ben Has The Longest Ride of his Life

I had not planned to stop on the morning ride, which was meant to be fairly brief, but when we went past the playground, Amelia started excitedly yelling "Grandpa! Park!" So we stopped so she could play at the park.

50 miles, blog pals, that’s how far CR Biker rode Friday. Four miles were in the morning, when I took my granddaughter Amelia to a playground near the splash pad at Noelridge Park, and then tooddled around the park before heading home.

The other 46? That was the epic ride. I suggested to Ben that we go on a bike adventure, since he was home and, with Jon’s bike now working, we had two men’s bikes at our disposal. He agreed, and ventured up Devonshire to learn how the controls on Jon’s bike work.

Why did I chose to let him ride Jon’s bike? I could have ridden it, and he could have ridden my bike—from a speed point of view, putting the younger, stronger person on the bigger, slower hybrid bike would make sense. But, while I don’t mind using Jon’s bike, I want to use it gently. So I offered Ben the bike because his lesser mass would not be as hard on the bike. Plus, I need practice miles on Francis anyway.

I texted my sister Cate, who is also in prep for RAGBRAI, and she was available, so off we went, meeting her about noon at the Boyson Road trail head. Our original goal was to go to the rail station in Center Point, a place further north than Ben had ever been on the trail.

Cate, Ben and I at the Boyson Trail head after the ride.

Once there, we stopped to water up and eat some snacks. I am even more in debt to Cate, as she shared a chocolate caffeine shot and some nuts, which I’m sure made my granola bar and fun fruits more effective. We decided to continue north, at least to Urbana, with the thought that once there, we might head to Brandon.

Well, the trail north of Center Point proved very tricky. Recent rains have been very hard on its limestone surface, with at least one awesome trench at a road crossing, and many soft, sandy spots. By the time we got to Urbana, we were just glad Ben had no mishaps with the narrow tires of Jon’s road bike, and decided it was good enough, we would head back.

The round trip to Urbana was over 40 miles. That, plus the round trip to my house and the round trip Amelia and I had done earlier added up to the 50 miles.

It was a fun ride, through the heat of the afternoon, which made it good RAGBRAI training. However, it was a bit rough on me—my legs were definitely worn. It was Ben’s longest ride so far. When we got back to the rail depot in Center Point, I did offer to trade him bikes, but he just laughed and got back on Jon’s. Imagine.

The ride, while by far my longest yet, was far sort of even the shortest RAGBRAI day—although at 50 miles, it’s at least in the range of a RAGBRAI day. So why am I even able to do RAGBRAI? Well, for one thing, the rhythm of RAGBRAI is: Ride 15 miles, stop and eat pie and walk for a mile; then ride 15 miles, stop and eat a pork chop; repeat until 60 miles are done.  If they had served pie in the rail depot, it would have been a different sort of ride.

I’ll eat more on RAGBRAI, and also consume electrolyte drink along with water. On my future long practice rides this week, I plan to do the same thing—take more food and take some drink mix.

Despite being sore, this morning on the way to the gym I did a figure 8 in the neighborhood, climbing the Brentwood Drive hill twice, once headed north, once south. So, despite the soreness yesterday, and losing the rear light on my bike north of Center Point, I think I'm doing OK in RAGBRAI prep.

And Ben, next time, remember. I’m not kidding. I am totally willing to trade bikes.
This photo and one below--samples of trail conditions north of Center Point.

Quaint bridge over trail north of Center Point.

The trail goes under I-380 in a narrow, dark tunnel. The north entrance is above, as we head south. The photo below does not do it justice--to the human eye it is much, much darker in there.

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