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[personal profile] max_boma
Back in July, I resumed moderately serious bike riding again, taking advantage of living two blocks from a great bike-riding boulevard. (No, the boulevard doesn't ride a bike; it's a great venue for bike riding.) My goal was to be able to ride a century (100 miles) within weeks of turning 50, or, a year from now. I set two intermediate goals to ensure that I make steady progress towards that goal: a 40-50 mile ride this October, and a longer ride six months from now, perhaps 60-75 miles in late April or early May.

My training rides, mostly on FM 734 (FM: "farm to market road"), also known as Parmer Lane and Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard (it changes names as it crosses FM 1431), have been steadily longer and perhaps steadily faster, although it might just be that I'm getting better about known when not to ride. I'm probably one of the slower riders out there Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings, but I'm out there. 20 mile rides are now routine, and I've had rides of 26 miles and 35 miles, although both ended up being cut short -- one due to darkness, and one due to two flat tires.

Today was the first milestone, the Mamma Jamma Ride for breast cancer victim support. Plan A was the 45 mile course. Plan B was the 45 mile course, and then riding home 17 miles along FM 734, ending up at 62 miles. That plan would work because DW would drive me up there today and meet me at the end of the 45-mile ride, so I had the option of getting a ride home or pedaling home. Alas, Plan B fell through when she had to adjust her schedule for today, so I came up with Plan C: try the 72-mile course. Yes, try a ride twice as long as my longest in recent memory.

If the wind had been calm, I might have finished it. If the weather had been more like the weather even two weeks ago, I might have finished. After three months of riding in 80-90F weather, the temperature at the start was about 43F, with a steady 10-15 MPH north wind. The course started heading north and west, so there was either a headwind or a cross-wind most of the morning. I assured myself that having a tail wind on the return would be great, but the wind and the rolling hills wore me out. Sometime after choosing to follow the 72-mile course instead of the 45-mile course, between the rest stops at mile 34 and 51, I decided that I would get a ride back to the start from the mile 51 pit stop. By the time I hit the first straight south, mostly downhill stretch, I was so worn out, I could barely muster any speed at all.

For me today, the best part of being on a supported ride was that I could try a longer distance knowing full well that if I simply couldn't do it, I could use the sag wagon to get back to the start. The Type A part of me considers it a failure because I started something and didn't finish, but another part of me is getting louder than I exceeded expectations by doing 51 miles on a day when the plan was to do 45. Plus, you know, the cold weather and the steady wind.

I will admit, looking at the other bikes that were used for the 100-mile ride (I saw them leave before the 72-mile pack left) and the 72-mile ride made me a bit envious. At one point, I told myself that if I finished 72 miles, I'd get myself a new bike now and not wait for some other justification. So, in some sense, I just postponed a $2000(?) purchase by not spectacularly exceeding my goal for today.

In other news, the SF Giants seem to be about to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series, and Notre Dame football has found an offense while playing a very good Oklahoma team. I wouldn't have minded if it was the Washington Nationals beating the snot out of the Tigers in the World Series, but I'm happy for all my friends in the Bay Area. As for Notre Dame, I keep waiting for them to break my heart, but I'm beginning to wonder if they really are this good.

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February 2013

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