The Hills, the Wind, the Rain, and the Suburbs
Hills, hills, and more hills. I had huge granny gear uphills, long painful ones, slow assents that were disguised as flats (until I looked down at my speedometer), and gigantic rollers that stretched about 4 miles. My max downhill speed was only 35 mph, and a lot of my fast descents were thwarted by red lights at the end. The grand finale was the big hill I had to climb at mile 110.5 in order to get back up to my house. In the end, I probably managed to get in 80-85 miles worth of hills and the rest was relatively flat.
The wind wasn’t actually too bad today. It was about 10 miles per hour and was my headwind on the way out for my two out and back loops. That meant a tailwind on the hills on the way back!
The weather guys said that it would start raining at about 11 this morning. It was predicted that some areas could get up to 8 inches of rain. I wasn’t excited about that. It started sprinkling at around 10:40. “Wow,” I thought. Those guys were actually right today. At 11, it started to sprinkle harder. It sprinkled for the next 4 hours of my ride. It rained lightly off and on. For the last 35 minutes of my ride, it all out rained, poured actually. I was just plain pelted my whole way home. I could feel my shoes squishing. My whole body was soaked. I think it’s going to take about a week for my new shoes to dry out.
I grew up in very rural Minnesota. We had a few animals, and we were surrounded by farmland. I now live in the middle of a big city. I can walk to the local grocery store and 10 different restaurants. As silly as it seems, I think that living in the city is as close to living in the country as I can get. I don’t have to deal with the same traffic. I don’t have to choose from 10 different chain restaurants when I go out for supper. Around 20 miles into my ride, I started to question whether I would really be able to stick with this route. I had ridden past hundreds of tan houses by then and tons of signs advertising Model Homes! Single Family Homes! Homes for Sale! Newly Built Homes! I thought that I would go crazy. I’m sorry if you live in the suburbs and love it. I’m not saying that they are bad places to live. I know that they are supposed to be more family friendly, safer, and quieter than the city, and there are not jobs in the country for everybody. I’m not trying to offend anyone here. They’re just not for me. When I looked down at my odometer, I was averaging 14 mph. “This isn’t going to work,” I thought to myself. “I need to kick it up a notch, and if that means going back to one of my other routes, so be it.” Then I saw them. Cows. I had hit farm country. I have never been so happy to see and smell cows in my life. Guess I’ll be just fine in Wisconsin.
Eight, count ‘em eight people cut me off during my ride by not stopping behind stop signs/yield signs/cross walks. I am guilty of doing this once in a great while too, so I understand that sometimes it just happens. However, an apology wave, mouthing a “sorry”, or backing up so the person could cross are the appropriate response measures to take. NONE of these people even acknowledged what they had done. I had to clip out and walk around at least 4 cars because they were completely blocking my reentrance to the bike path. One lady actually cut me off twice. She blocked my intersection while I was heading up the hill on the way home. Then she stopped right in front of the intersection while waiting to get into a parking ramp. By the time I got home, I was just plain fed up. One of my coworkers was complaining this week that bikers don’t always follow all of the traffic rules. My response was that drivers out there aren’t always watching out for bikes, and that I need to be watching out for myself. I rest my case.
I managed to consume 12 scoops of Carbo Pro, about 60 ounces of Gatorade, 40 ounces of water, 2 packages of Fig Newtons, and 2 Eduralytes (it wasn’t too hot today, and with all of the Gatorade, I didn’t really feel like I needed them).
112.5 miles. Time: 7:34. My legs were actually really sore starting the run. I’m not sure if they were still just tired from Thursday’s 18 mile run, if they really liked the stops last week, or if the Reuben last week served as superfuel. I wasn’t as diligent this week about making sure that I wasn’t mashing on my pedals, so that is something that I will work on again next week. At any rate, I know that the hills today were worse than last week, and I’ll be on them again next Sunday.