Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Epic ride

104.96. That's where the odometer stands today. (I may go back and recalculate the 64 miles, knowing that it was less than that, but anyway ...)

It was 64 on Monday morning. Decided to meet some friends and ride the Monon a ways. Now that I have this free time, I thought I'd ride out the 146th Street ridepath to the Monon and then down to meet them. No big deal, it's 8 miles from here to the Monon, so an extra 16. If we ride for 10-15 miles, that's 30 at most. I've done 30 before, but at a leisurely pace. Then again, I wasn't tired afterward, so I could do 30 quicker miles.

I set off at 3:45 or so, intent on beating the traffic. (Unfortunately, I have to cross 37. There's no bridge or underpass. not fun.) Cut across, up through a neighborhood, onto the ridepath. It's pretty good for the most part; quite a few driveways, six or seven intersections, but it's very doable.

And then I realized my error. We were meeting at 96th. It's 8 miles to 146th.

oops. So tack an extra 10 miles onto that trip, and now it's 40. Doable, probably, at least if I ride it carefully. So I use a little more caution, and I end up at the 96th trailhead at 5:30. The trip calculator says 13 miles in one hour at 12 mph. Right. I'm assuming the clock stops before the speed indicator does ... anyway, I wait as we gather. ems is caught up at work, so we leave a little later than planned. (This would be somewhat important later on; fortunately, not nearly the complication it could have been.)

So then we ride down to the Central Canal towpath and out toward Michigan. Not so much fun - it's considerably narrower and is light gravel over packed, hard dirt, because, well, it's a towpath. (Which is how things went up and down a canal in the old days. Not sure why it isn't paved now.) I say I need to turn around, we head back in the other direction, ems parts way so she can head home, and Candace and I head back to 96th.

I take a quick break, Candace goes back to her car, and I head home. First problem: it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 8:30. Dusk is falling soon, which means I should get off the Monon to avoid the magic barriers that close it. (joke.) Actually, it means I need to head home quickly, so that I'm not out in the dark with nothing to show myself by. Second problem: 13 miles again. No way can I make it in an hour.

I speed off up the trail, making really good time, but I can tell that my legs aren't as fresh as on the ride here, and the Monon heads generally uphill toward 146th. I clear the last hill and make it onto 146th. 9:00.

hmm. Oh well, the die has been cast. Off I go, watching traffic more carefully (right-turning traffic now approaches from behind me, making side roads more dangerous) and making better time, at least I think so.

146th is much more hilly than the Monon, though, and each hill seems higher than the last. I use the last of my water, feeling a little dehydrated (should have filled up at 146th), and push on.

As I cross intersection after intersection, I notice it's slowly getting dark, but it doesn't seem too bad ... until I realize my vision has adjusted well and it is dark. I can see headlights before I can see cars. And I have a black T-shirt, dark shorts, a dark backpack ... at least I have reflectors.

Allisonville is the first tough crossing, but I catch a break: no one turning right or left across my path. I struggle up the final hill, then back through the neighborhood.

The path ends on 141st, and now I must cross and ride on the road for half a block, then cross 37. I wait for a break in traffic, and again my luck holds: no cars approach from behind, and a car on my left waits to exit the frozen yogurt place until I pass.

Wait in the lane for the light to change ... on green, the car in front pauses for what seems like a minute. I can't accelerate yet lest I hit it, but I can't wait for long or else I'll never make it across. The car finally goes, and is turning right: another good sign. I am somewhat visible from the headlights behind me, and with the car turning in front of me, it has to slow down so I can catch up, and it slowly reveals me. I sprint across, onto the shoulder, and then onto the ridepath on the south side of 141st. (Another lucky break: no one waiting to exit the strip mall.)

The rest of the trip was easy. I pull into the driveway, open the garage, put the bike away, and ease inside. Change into comfortable clothes, refuel (Calorie Count says I burned 2000 calories: I won't be eating all that in one night) and rehydrate, put a hot water cat on my lap to soothe the muscles, and then head off to bed after the Advil kicks in.

Verdict: 40 miles in 5 hours of riding. Average speed on the 13-mile trip home: 11.7 mph. Time: 1:06:54. (Again, the time doesn't match the speed and distance.) Calories: 1415. (Yeah, I might believe that, but not without a monitor. I'll stick with 600 or so per hard hour of riding, thanks.)

I'm glad I did it, but won't do it again any time soon. My legs are a bit sore today, and I doubt I'd sit on the saddle very well. I still felt a touch dehydrated. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. (After the weigh-in. Hope this gets me back to making progress: I think my home weigh-in was too light for some reason, but it'll balance out eventually.)


  1. Please tell me that you were tired after the 40 mile trip. Tsk...Tsk...Tsk...drink more water!

  2. um ... a little tired, but not too bad. I didn't need to go to sleep right away.

    My legs were pretty good today; a little sore, but not bad. I'm going to the Y tomorrow to see how some work on the elliptical treats them.

    I could ride farther, but it would work better to ride at a slower pace ... then again, riding more slowly doesn't feel like it does as much for me. I don't mind riding leisurely, but I do like faster rides from time to time, so Monday was perfect, a little of both.