Fifty Redux

August 4, 2008

The good: I cut ten minutes off of my 50 mile time!

The bad: It was only 49.1 miles (compared to 51.8), and the elevation chart says I didn’t climb as much as last time by 200ft.

The ugly: I could not use the smallest front sprocket.  The derailleur would not shift the chain over.  On the bright side, I made it without walking!  I considered buying a double sprocket.

I wanted to hit that hill again, that huge monster I crept up last week, for a few reasons.

  • It was hard, and I succeeded.
  • The route was scenic and pretty, picturesque New England.
  • I wanted to beat my time.

The first part of the ride was a difficult slow ascent.  On the giant downhill I tried to break my max speed record but no matter how hard, relaxed, or speedily I pedaled, I could not break 47mph.  It was raining intermittently for the whole ride.

I turned down a different road near the end, in hope of finding some hills to climb (and, thus, to coasting down on the way back).  I found hills but the wrong kind.  Three 40 mile an hour drops.  Steep and long.  The idea of climbing back up the giant hill was daunting enough, but add these three hills before it and I feared having to climb the big one on foot.

After turning around (in Concord), and heading back, I took a break on top of the second hill.  My legs felt weak so I ate an energy bar and downed some cool refreshing water.   Next I climbed all the significant remaining hills (in the middle sprocket!) and coasted some of the way down the back side of the mountain.  There is a small road lined with trees before a long descent (about 40 miles in) where I took my second break.  There was no place to sit so I just propped my bike up against a tree and enjoyed the rain while walking around chewing my PB&J.

The rest of the descent reminded me of a video game with it’s dips and turns at high speed, all while finding the best path through all the cracks.  I actually used my breaks a little, it was that crazy.  Woohoo!

Here are the stats:

2:54:53, 49.1mi
75ºF, Odo 1623mi
avg 16.8mph, max 46.7mph
*Rain

I’m disappointed with the distance and elevation, and that I could not break my max speed record, but I’m psyched about the ten minute difference from last time.  I’m also satisfied with the ride because though I was tired when I got home, and stayed on a couch for hours after, I know that my body is getting used to this, and that I’m improving with every ride.

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Weekend Fifty

August 1, 2008

I’m hoping to do another fifty mile ride this weekend.  I passed my step exam and want to reward myself.  The route I took last weekend was so scenic and beautiful that I plan to ride the same one again on Sunday.

Fifty mile bike ride

Ride + elevation

Wish me luck!

*please note, the ride distance in the image is incorrect.  I actually rode 51.8 miles.