Back in the Saddle Again…

Just a quick follow-up from Sunday that I did get out for a ride yesterday. It was nothing epic (to Mercer Island, around it in both directions, and back), but was a beautiful, fun ride. And it was fun afterwards to look at my ride data and find out that I set a personal record going around the island–I was feeling strong and fast as I rode, and it wasn’t an illusion!

And because part of what got me out there was public accountability, now I’m going to publicly mention that tomorrow needs to have serious hills in it. So I think I am stuck with going out to Issaquah and up and down Zoo Hill and/or Squak Mountain. Oh well.


Got ‘er done! (And goals for the week of 7/21)

Whoops, I’m supposed to be writing this post at the end of the week, so that I can tailor my goals to what I actually did during the week. Oh well. Too late now.

Yesterday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday’s ride, except I went all the way out to Squak Mountain, and then biked up Zoo Hill on the way back. And I made a bargain with myself that I only had to do Zoo Hill as far as the bus stop–many consider that the top of the climb (1000′ of elevation gain is enough, some think), but if you like, at that point you can turn left to get another 250′ higher in the air. Usually the rule is that I have to do the left turn also and ride until the road turns to gravel. Then I get to go back down (the rule says I have to do uphill, but I don’t have to do gravel uphill.)

No, I don’t know who makes these horrible rules.

Anyway, I bent the rules a bit, and continued straight at the bus stop, and it was awesome. I’m such a rebel!

The rain overnight had really cleared out the air, and going through wooded parts of the ride, there was a delicious green, growing freshness that was almost as much a taste as a smell. On parts of Zoo Hill, when my head wasn’t hanging down, eyes fixated on the pavement 3 feet in front of me, it was really great to look into the woods on either side and enjoy the lush growth creating the delicious fresh air. The woods are even more impressive for the nearly vertical hillside they’re managing to cling to and thrive on–the steep road seems flat in comparison.

Also notable was the guy who cheered me on from his car at the beginning of the hill, and again when I went past him working in his yard towards the top of the hill. Thanks dude!

I’m especially proud of myself for bringing my phone/cards/cash with me and actually knowing that I had them with me. I’m also very thankful that the under-renovation-Leschi-Starbucks is open all day long on the weekends. I even checked that info ahead of time, so that I wouldn’t have a repeat of last month’s sadness. Though now I know I should ask for an extra mondo amount of whipped cream on my mocha if it’s been a tough ride.

Anyway, I rode 100k (that’s 62 miles for those of you who like real numbers) and had 5300 feet of elevation gain. Not insanely hilly, but pretty good considering that too much of the ride is essentially flat.

So, here we go with goals for the week:

Monday, a rest day–I can’t check this off as accomplished quite yet, but I’m getting a good start on it!

Tuesday-Sunday–finish off the Tenth of the Tour challenge, and do some climby rides. I’d like to do Hurricane Ridge, but I’m keeping an eye on the weather forecast (which keeps changing!) because I’m perfectly happy to be a weather wimp… And that is making it hard to be day-to-day specific, as I don’t want to trash myself by committing to a really hard ride the day before trying out Hurricane Ridge. Which, if I started at sea level, would be a full mile up into the air… Climby! But somewhere in there I might head over to Bainbridge Island too.

So I guess this week’s strategy is to be incredibly vague about my goals, and then put my own interpretive spin on whether or not I accomplished them… Tricky!

Stay tuned for next week, which will mark the one-month-before-departure point (I’m sure I won’t be freaking out at all…) and will also feature Mt Rainier!

I really need to be better about taking pictures when I'm riding. But here's a jack o' lantern I make a couple years ago. I was quite entertained by it!

I really need to be better about taking pictures when I’m riding. But here’s a jack o’ lantern I made a couple years ago. I was quite entertained by it!

Up and down morning on the bike

I mean the title of this post figuratively–but literally too. Get it?!? Ha ha, aren’t I clever. Or something…

Anyway, I got on the bike at 8AM with the intent to ride over to Issaquah, do Squak Mountain, then Zoo Hill, then come home, maybe with some looping of Mercer Island thrown in. Climby! Ambitious! Did you catch that I got going at 8AM–on a Saturday?

I started¬†riding, and pretty quickly was wondering what happened to all that training benefit I supposedly got from STP. I just was not feeling it. My legs seemed heavy and slow, and knowing I had some climbing ahead, I said “oh well” and shifted into easier and easier gears.

About 15 miles in to my ride I had a sudden realization that I could remember getting my phone/cash/cards together, but could not remember putting them in my pocket. I felt my pocket, and sure enough, empty. The first thought that came to mind was “oh dear, if something happens to me, not having my ID will really delay identification of the body and notification of next of kin.” Seriously. Then I thought “and so much for my plan of stopping partway through for coffee and a snack.”

So between my legs, and the lack of anything to buy something with or call for help with, I decided the better part of valor would be to do just Zoo Hill, then the direct route home. So I huffed and puffed my way up Zoo, tucked my tail between my tired legs, and pointed my bike homewards.

It was starting to warm up, so I finally pulled my wind vest all the way off and stuck it in my conveniently empty pocket–and what is this? It’s my phone/cards/cash… They were with me the whole time. Now I have tired legs AND feel like an idiot.

On the bright side, that meant I could stop for coffee!

Once home, I took a look at my guaranteed-to-be-depressing ride stats, and to my confusion, found that I had personal best times on a ton of the ride, including Zoo Hill… It was the oddest mismatch of perception and reality that I’ve had on the bike for a while, but I’ll take it!

So, 50 miles, 4,300 feet of elevation gain, some chocolate milk, chips and guacamole later, it’s time to watch today’s stage of the Tour de France, and enjoy other people making their way painfully up a hill…