#bikehour – 2/6/2015 through 2/8/2015

February 9, 2015

Weekend wrap-up of #bikehour rides.

The daily ride is finally growing up, as evidenced by this weekend’s mileage.

Friday 2/6:

Late-evening start to ride. Headed out around 8:15 PM, after a short nap (yes!) at home. Temps were quite nice – I don’t recall exactly but roughly around 40-45. I took a route that I rode periodically prior to my recent fall from fitness/nutritional grace – here in Ottawa, I take Eisenhower, south to Old State Highway 50, which meanders along through some rollers, some flats and some long gradual grades, to John Brown Highway. I take that a few miles back east to 59 Highway, where I make the 8ish mile finish back home. Overall route is about 26.5 miles.

My first 20+ mile in this streak; in fact, my first 20+ mile bike ride in some 5 weeks, and my first 20+ mile ride in the state of Kansas since mid-October. That last ride was a much slower-paced, with frequent stops, group ride on the Katy Trail with about 10-11 other friends; prior to THAT, my last 20+ mile bike ride in Kansas was actually the Bike MS ride in mid-September, a shocking 4.5+ months ago and before the entire saga with my mom’s passing.

I won’t claim this 26 miler was easy for me; in fact, considering that my longest ride in the streak to date was basically 18.5 miles (which I’ve done 3-4 times), this was 40%+ longer than anything on the streak so far. That’s a big jump up. But, I handled it (including the hills, which really reminded me how much difference even 10 pounds of body weight makes when climbing) decently well. The highlight of the ride was probably the stretch east on JB Highway. For one, I had a little tailwind behind me, and for two, I was headed directly at a sometimes-cloud-shrouded full (or near-full) moon which hung brilliantly in the sky. Listening to an awesome Pandora mix, riding along a nearly-zero-traffic road into the late Friday evening, chasing the moon – magical.

Saturday 2/7:

Weatherwise even nicer than Friday. High temperature today hit something like 70! But, a combination of the gym, which I’ve recently returned to, plus my unusually (for me in current era) long ride of Friday, meant I was SORE. Like, no exaggeration, 8 or 8+ on 10 scale. Therefore, I didn’t see the need to attempt a “heroic” (air quotes because it’s all relative) ride distance today. I was quite content with 12.1 miles on the “airport road” route, on a 4 PM ride. Full spring outfit for me – shorts, t-shirt, fingerless gloves. Excellent.

Sunday 2/8:

Back to a slightly longer ride, on which I set out about 8:30 AM. Nice out, maybe 45-50 degrees at that time. I’d just missed a REALLY beautiful dawn, which would have been awesome to ride in if I’d left 60-90 minutes earlier. All the same, nice.

I employed a route that I’ve not ridden in some time – basically getting on 68 Highway from 7th street here in town and go due west. 10 miles gets you to Franklin, at which point I typically (and did so today) return.

Wind was fairly nasty. It was stronger than I anticipated from my weather app, and coming from about the NNW. This meant I was mostly going into it heading out and mostly had it with me coming back; but, being not straight on, it was always threatening me a little bit. More than a couple times, a sudden strong gust almost took me off the bike in one way or another.

The only other excitement of the ride was a nice little dog encounter just ~3 miles in. Battling the headwind meant I was rolling along at between 10.5-12.5 mph during this stretch. At some point I heard a dog just behind me barking. Riding the bike enough and being chased enough by dogs gives one the ability to tell pretty quickly from a bark both the size of the dog and its intentions, and right away I knew this wasn’t good. I never DID see the animal, but from the bark it was a larger one, and it was serious. It gave chase for a short time, barking, and then essentially rammed or sideswiped me on my left leg! This startled me and upped the adrenaline. In that split second in which many thoughts race through, I realized that it was conceivable the dog could do this again, with more emphasis, possibly knocking me down, at which point there would be a confrontation. Fortunately, this “swipe” from the dog was its parting shot, and it dropped off the pace and receded down the road.

I knew that on the return, I would have a very respectable tailwind and be going MUCH faster, and didn’t have much worry; in fact, I looked forward to the dog coming out again to greet me, to shifting up a ring or two, and dropping the beast. Alas, on the return, as I kept my head on a swivel not knowing precisely which house was “his”, I heard a single token bark from the porch as I rode by. Making 17-20 mph during this stretch, I’m sure the dog realized I was already going too fast to be worth attempting to run down.

As I said at the start, the daily ride is growing up. Friday was the streak’s longest ride yet; Friday + Saturday was my highest 2-day mileage yet; and with Sunday’s ride, I had my second 20+ miler and the highest 3-day mileage yet. Things are coming gradually easier now, and I can discern gradual progress in several aspects of fitness and my on-bike ability.

Streak extends to 23 days, and we’re just getting started!! At start of Sunday’s ride I thought with a smile, I’m not sure how many of my friends & family would have believed at the start of the streak that I’d actually make it to 23 days without faltering, but I’ve gotten here and am just getting warmed up. The really fun days are still ahead.


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