Friday, June 6, 2014

In Which A Long Ride on The Beast Tops 1,000 Miles

The far south end of the ride, the pond at the Ely City Park. Reflections of the way life used to be. You're welcome for the ear worm.

No, not the one ride—that would, indeed, be an epic ride—I mean that I rode about 35 miles today, and that puts me at 1,020 miles and some change for the year so far.

At one point, when I was about an hour into a three-hour afternoon ride down to Ely, I passed a gentleman stopped by the side of the trail. He was doing an odd sort of prance, which I assume, based, on our conversation, was probably due to a foot cramp.

Me: Is everything OK?
He: I’m fine, I just need some new feet.
Me: While we’re at it, I’d like a new butt.

Indeed, the main weak spot, the biggest concern I have going into the Tour the Raccoon Ride next weekend—especially if I ride The Beast—is the soreness of my butt. It was very sore indeed following today’s ride, which was done wearing proper bike shorts. On the other hand, I did do more than half of the length of one day’s ride (the tour is two consecutive days of about 60 miles), and I’m typing this without any serious lingering ill effects.

A train passes under the trail and over a bridge on the Cedar River. It was moving so fast that it made its own wind on the bike trail bridge.

Weakness number two is my back. It gets very stiff and sore on The Beast, and 60 miles will be a trial.

Still, I rode 35 today. I was going to credit myself with 30, figuring I had ridden 4 miles in the morning to get to campus, and then ridden to Ely and back to home in three hours in the afternoon. That would have meant I was going about 8 mph on The Beast.

But, here’s the thing. I was surprised, today, at how fast I was biking. I rode most of the route in 3-7, the fastest gears, because I’m so used to The Beast now that it doesn't feel like I’m “pumping” too hard in that gear. And, while The Beast can’t compete with Fancy Bike for speed, it didn't feel a lot slower than cruising on Francis. And on Francis, on a long trail ride, I go faster than 8 mph.

So I tried plotting my route on “Map My Ride.” And that’s where I came up with the 35 figure. I’ll go with it.

The gnats were out in force, and that was unpleasant, but otherwise it was a beautiful day for a ride. The sky was full of pretty puffy white clouds, the sun shone warmly (but not hot), there wasn't much wind—it was a day for flying on a bike.

I was tempted to do the Sac and Fox again, but decided to go to Ely just because I have not in a while. And so I did.

My butt would like to put in for a transfer. My back is threatening to spasm. Yet, I completed 35 miles at a fairly fast pace (over 10 mph) on The Beast. I think that makes for a good biking day, and it’s a decent omen for the Raccoon ride.

I do hope Francis is back for the ride. Still, if it must be The Beast, I’m starting to be more at peace with that. If the conditions are right, even The Beast can move.

Catalpa near Cedar Lake in bloom. Naturally, I stopped to take a drink and a picture (the drink was from water I carried, I do not subsist, like a bee, off of flower nectar).

1 comment:

  1. Have you had the seat and handlebars on your bike "fitted" for you? After I started riding 15 miiles, I was uncomfortable, so took it to the local bike shop. They had me sit on a butt cushion, sold me the right seat (I added the gel cushion) and adjusted handlebars (front ones higher). It made a big difference in my neck, upper back, arms, and seat, and now I ride 30 miles (2 hours) with out much discomfort.