Saturday, 29 November, 2003

Three days, 150 miles

Except for riding my bike, I didn't do much of consequence over the long weekend.  I realized last week that riding over 100 miles per day for three days is a much different task than riding 150 or 200 miles in a single day.  I know that seems obvious, and I did know it.  But I hadn't internalized it, if you know what I mean.  So I decided to see how my body would respond to three longish rides in a row.

Wednesday night I finally gathered all the parts to put a dual band (2 meter/70 cm) antenna on my bike so I could talk on my radio while I was riding.  Thursday morning I hooked up the radio and set out on a 40 mile ride.  The wind was blowing 20 MPH from the north, and not being too bright I headed south so I could hit the Austin repeater and maybe get some conversation.  I did manage to talk to a few local people, and even a guy from Maryland and one from the north of England who were accessing the repeater via EchoLink.  The ride itself wasn't much, except for bucking that wind on the way home.  40 miles, average speed 13.6 MPH.

Friday morning I felt pretty good.  It was a little warmer but the wind was still whipping it up from the north, even stronger than the day before.  Learning my lesson from the day before, I headed northeast first so I could have the wind at my back on the way home.  Crosswinds are still difficult, but not nearly as bad as a headwind.  Unless you have a big rack on the back of your bike holding a trunk and a 45" antenna.  A good strong wind hitting that thing makes the bike very unstable.  I also found that the mounting bracket rubs my legs, and after 90 miles on the thing I decided I needed a different way to attach the antenna.  Back to the drawing board.  The ride went well.  I kept my heart rate down and conserved my energy so I'd have some left for Saturday's ride.  50 miles, average speed 14.1 MPH.

I was tired when I got out of bed on this morning, but my legs weren't sore.  Even so, I procrastinated for several hours before finally hopping on the bike at 11:00 for the 60 mile ride.  The wind had changed.  Now it was 20 to 25 MPH out of the south instead of the north.  That made for a little warmer ride, but still work.  I took a meandering route that wound through mostly residential streets to stay out of the wind as much as possible.  I headed mostly east, turning into every subdivision for a 2- or 3-mile loop in the shelter of the buildings before getting back onto the open road.  The return trip was much the same, with only a 5 mile stretch straight south into the wind before I turned around and let it blow me home.  60 miles, average speed 14.7 MPH.

All in all, I was pretty impressed with myself.  No, Tour de France riders need not fear my great cycling skills, but I feel like my training is right on track.  I realize that 350 miles is a much harder thing than 150, but I still have 4 months of training to do.  I made it through these three days with no major aches, no cramps, and a reasonably strong finish.  It's surprising what 2 months of concerted effort can do.