Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Long ride #2 - The hum of the cicadas!

That was hugely successful.

It's clear to me that certainly for cycling and to a lesser extent for running also, a morning workout is more likely to happen if one puts things out the night before - at least it is very likely not to happen if one doesn't put things out! And yet it was so rainy last night that I couldn't quite believe the morning would bring suitable riding weather; I put out some essentials, but not everything, and figured I'd do the long ride indoors if the predicted thunderstorms came to pass.

To my chagrin, given my mild dread of cycling-related things, the weather was pretty reasonable this morning, and stayed clear well through to mid-afternoon. So I gritted my teeth and ignored dread to get myself and bike over to the Lamont shuttle at 120th St.

In fact it was a super-nice ride! Really pretty much ideal, and certainly a good confidence-builder. Genuinely 100% enjoyable. (Indeed, around mile 5, I thought, "Gosh, I wonder why I feel so much more relaxed and fancy-free than usual" - and realized it was because I had forgotten to put on my helmet, which was still tethered to my hydration pack! Stopped and remedied this immediately, needless to say.)

Things I forgot: sunscreen; gloves; phone. None of these three is as essential as a short list of things I truly can't ride without, namely helmet, cycling shoes, asthma inhaler. I need to make a cycling checklist that I keep by the door (and I also think I should charge my phone in an outlet by the door too so that it's in the right place to catch my eye before I get going).

Very glad to get this one done - really today was the only ideal day for that kind of a long ride, I have commitments on the remaining weekdays that would make it much trickier. I also now have a solution for my 100 miles of nowhere. It's been on my mind that though I made that commitment, I really need to get quality training hours and desensitize to riding on 9W hills more than I need to do something funny and arbitrary. So I'm going to do 100K of nowhere instead, take the bus to Lamont, ride the 10 miles to Rockland State Park and do my loopy loops there (it's 2+ miles), then 10 miles back to the shuttle - will shoot for total for whole ride to hit the metric century mark. I will do this on Wednesday next week (Thursday if weather prevents me).

Subsidiary goal for the day, achieved: make sure I ride in all three rings! I have the tendency of the lazy cyclist with a triple to do almost all my riding in the middle ring, but really there are lots of opportunities to use the other two (and also, counterintuitively, I think I should do more uphills in middle rather than small ring - I really dislike the way that when you're in a super-easy gear you're pretty much spinning without any power, of course it is appropriate for long steep hills but I think on smaller rollers I do better waiting later to switch).

Garmin elevation numbers are often inaccurate, but this is a pretty hilly ride, Garmin says 1700 feet and that sounds about right to me; 2:58:50, 28.97, 13mph (given hills, not a worryingly slow number); avg HR 136, max HR 159. Elevation for IMWI bike course: about 2900 feet over 112 miles. So this really is an ideal training ride, and I don't have to go "further," just longer - I did get off course twice, once when I took a left onto another highway instead of doubling back and once when I somehow just didn't quite go the right way to go through Nyack proper (I need to look at a map and see how all the different Nyacks relate to each other), but this was a good three hour out-and-back ride, I have a 13-mile out-and-back I can add in the other direction (i.e. 26 total) and I can do 2 loops of some or all of the whole thing as needed. I turn around just short of Haverstraw - I don't like how vertiginous the landscape gets once you're really approaching Bear Mountain, and there are plenty of hills on this more domesticated stretch in terms of training benefits.

Note: the hum of the cicadas really is the most amazing thing! Especially it is much like the sound I imagine my body making at a cellular or molecular level as I ride a long hill in HR zones 3 and 4. Saw only a few buzzing around (got hit in the face with one a couple times), quite a few dead ones on the shoulder of the road, and a most AMAZING engulfing hum in certain woodland stretches. Lovely!

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