#bikehour – 1/19/2015

January 20, 2015

Marginal, gradual progress, and improvement. That’s what we’re after. And that’s what I discerned on today’s ride.

Chose a route that I’ve done only one or MAYBE two other times ever. The first (possibly only) time accounted for what is to this day the most unpleasant ride I’ve ever had. This was early in my bike “career”, when my style was still nascent and when I had yet to learn a LOT of things I know now. Among them, nutrition and hydration, and the proper (for me) method of ascending hills. I still vividly remember just absolutely suffering over the last few miles of the return, having burned out all my energy aggressively attacking the hills, probably in way too high a gear, and running out of my energy reserves, with no snack or anything with me to help. To this day I remember how savage and sadistic that was, and how I never wanted to experience that again.

The route is very simple. North out of town on 59 highway – same start as Saturday evening’s ride – but instead of turning east on Sand Creek, turn west. You encounter a mile or two of flats and then the rollers start. At some point, double back and retrace the route back home.

Again, dear reader, keep in mind the context. As I’ve previously observed on this blog, the concept of “hills” or “climbs” is very relative to the rider. What is a challenging climb to you may be a footnote to me. Or, what is a challenging series of hills to me, you may go up and over like speedbumps. I’ve lost a lot of my bike fitness and put on a LOT of weight since my last serious riding era, and boy do you feel that on hills. Especially rollers that don’t want to allow you to fully recover.

I went over maybe 5-6 rollers of varying length, grade and steepness, and then, after a short break at what I designated the midway point, turned back. When I set out I wanted to get in 15-16 miles along this route, and I ended with 16.8, so I was content.

I definitely won’t claim it was easy. I was working fairly hard and forcing myself to breathe “the right way” – very important for cycling in general and climbing in particular. My stamina, still some weeks or a couple months away from returning to what it was in September, burns more quickly now and the body tires out. Accordingly, the last couple miles back to the barn I was pretty whipped. But very satisfied.

Arms are still pretty weary on the bike. Especially the triceps. Arms just aren’t accustomed to holding up this heavier frame while riding on the bike, something they’ve not really been much called to do for weeks. But hang in there, fellas. Easier times are coming. Keep the faith.

This road is just a beautiful, beautiful cycling road. Seems relatively long (I haven’t looked it up to see how far), quite isolated (I only saw a couple cars the entire time; they give you a good berth), and, as already stated, lots of rolling action. I really look forward to the future when my strength, cycling endurance and body weight are closer to ideal and I can really enjoy and relish this ride for a while.

Randy, if you’re reading this, I have no doubt you’ve taken this road all the way to California, so feel free to weigh in with any notes about how far it goes, etc 🙂 I’ve just not looked it up yet, but at some point I will.

Notable music: Pandora mix station again today. My 2nd-favorite Clan of Xymox song came on early in the ride; I looove this song and yet don’t know its name 🙂 u2, Gary Numan, Dead Can Dance, I THINK Tom Petty, and some others all came in for some airtime too, along with one droning kind of instrumental song I’d not heard before but liked very much. Right at the very end of the ride another (title unknown) song I’m very fond of, having heard on Pandora a few times, came on. I listened to a minute or so of it and then came in for lunch.

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A look back after the first respectable climb on Sand Creek road. The telltale disjoin between the pavement on “this side” and the pavement on “that side” stretching to the horizon.

When I paused here to take the above picture, these 20ish cows in a nearby field, who were dispersed and grazing when I got there, ALL came over to mass at the fence and look at me.

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A few minutes later, I paused atop another climb to take this picture looking at the road ahead.

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Roller city. Rolling-road vistas like this are really yummy to a cyclist. Sadly, in my current fitness, I was only able to take a few bites and then send it back to the kitchen. But it won’t be long before I am able to feast.

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Storm leaned up against a hill at the turnaround. It felt REALLY good to rest a moment here and drink some water, and I seriously contemplated leaning against the hill myself, maybe even catching a small nap 🙂 Just enjoying the day. But I ended up back on the bike and headed back for home.

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