swim, bike, run, repeat.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

60 miles is farther than I realized.

Yesterday, I completed my longest bike ride to date - 60 miles. It was a group ride with the Louisville Bicycle Club that left from Hogan's Fountain in Cherokee Park, wandered over to River Road, into Indiana (Jeffersonville, Sellersburg, Clarksville, and who knows where else), and then back to downtown Louisville. It was considered  "fixie-friendly" ride, so my reasoning was if a fixed gear bike could do it, so could I.

After the group start, I quickly ended up in the back with the ride captain David, who was sweeping the ride. I noticed that my front brake kept rubbing, which didn't help things. The wind seemed to be everywhere, no matter which direction we were going, but I just kept pedaling. We lost sight of the pack on River Road, but I decided not to think about that. I needed to concentrate on just getting used to being on my bike for so long.

We made it to Indiana, where we crossed railroad track after railroad track. I also got to pass my sister's old house, which used to take me about 30 minutes by car to get to. A pickup truck with some dogs in the bed scared the bejeezus out of me while going up a hill, passing really close. David also commented that I didn't shift much, instead choosing to power up the hills in whatever gear I happed to be in (apparently, this is somewhat common in runners, as we usually have pretty good quad strength). I then made a concerted effort to switch gears more.

There was a store stop at mile 30, where we caught back up to the group. I told Debi that my front brake was giving me issues, and her buddy Brian (who works at Cycler's Cafe, and has told Debi that while he is out riding, he doesn't act as a bike mechanic) whipped out a tool and tightened it for me before I could even figure out what was wrong. Thank you, Brian! This was also when I realized that I hadn't eaten or drunk anything on the ride yet. Whoops.

I managed not to be last for the next 15 or so miles - I was next-to last! I also remembered that I have 3 chain rings, and started to use the small one on hills. Between that and my brake not rubbing, the ride went much better. At mile 46, the ride captain stopped for lunch with a bunch of other riders, and I continued on with Don, who got me back to the bridge.

Ah, the bridge. By this point, the winds had really picked up, and were blowing sideways. There are also these scary joiner-things on the bridge, and it's generally best to hit them at an angle. As I was going over the first of 3, the wind blew me several feet to the side, straight towards a car. I had my handlebars in a death grip. I was having way too much trouble keeping my bike under control. I dismounted, and made the decision to walk my bike across the bridge (I ended up on the sidewalk, pedaling, but not clipped in, kind of a pedal/coast, pedal/coast sort of thing). Later, Debi told me that she also walked her bike over the bridge, so I wasn't the only dork.

After the bridge, I followed the queue sheet back to the park, and decided it was cruel for the end to be at the top of a big hill.  But, I finished, which I honestly can say I had doubts about. The night before I was pretty freakin' nervous. But, I just kept going, and quit caring that I was slow (4.5ish hours for the ride), and now I know I can go at least that far, so I should be able to survive a half-distance tri by the time mine roll around.


brandon said...

60 miles outside!? that's awesome. how is the weather there?

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