Sunday, June 28, 2015

Goodbye Mountains, Hello Ocean!

Since that day last spring (2014) when I decided that I couldn't just sit around waiting to run and needed something to do in the meantime, I have not biked anywhere but Wild & Wonderful West Virginia.  That means that my bike rides have been mountainous.  My bike rides have been in a place where flatness is much more myth than reality.  A place where a 29 mile ride has an elevation gain of 2835 feet.

This week, my four bike rides were in three different states.  One in WV, one in NJ, and two in RI.  My 33 mile ride in RI on Saturday had only 1,535 ft of elevation gain. At one point during that ride, I glanced down at my HR and saw that it was only in the 130s.  I'm not sure I've ever seen it that low during a ride. I also don't think a 30+ mile ride has ever felt nearly as easy to me before.  Usually I am completely wiped out by a ride of that length.  This time, at the end of the ride, I was ready to stop and release the tension in my shoulders/neck, but I also could have easily kept going further.  The absence of mountains makes riding so much less strenuous.  Obviously, that just means I need to ride faster while I am here, to use the same amount of effort that I use in WV.  I'll work on that in the coming week.  If it ever stops raining.

I was hoping for a spin today, but it's pouring rain, and so windy I thought my umbrella would turn into a sail and fly me away when I walked to church this morning.  Maybe tomorrow will be clear.

This week:
T : 18 (WV)
R : 26.6 w/Dan (NJ)
F : 18.8 (RI)
Sa : 33.8 Ten Speed Spokes Women's Ride (RI)
total miles : 97.3

Thursday's ride was frustrating.  I was looking forward to the ride, but ended up not feeling great once I got out there.  I know it was due at least in part to the fact that I didn't bother to use my inhaler.  While there were hills, they were fewer and further between than home, which meant less coasting, which I think contributed to me being more out of breath than usual.  Also I'm sure the fact that I was riding with someone faster than me contributed to the greater lack of oxygen...  Coupled with the breathing difficulty was the extra burn-y feeling in my legs.  They just didn't want to work.  I don't know how much that was or was not related to the lack of oxygen they were receiving...  All in all it was a good ride though.  A good opportunity to practice staying in someone's draft.  I found that at 20mph I was definitely having to work, but it was quite manageable.  As the pace picked up, it got harder and harder for me to maintain the pace necessary to hold on.  Once we got about 23mph, I was really struggling, and I watched the pace creep up to 24mph.  As I was starting to think that I would have no choice but to give up, a saw a stop sign ahead, and knew it was almost over anyway. 

Not hard to pick out my car in a crowded parking lot!

Friday's ride was intended to be just a quick spin after 4+ hours in the car.  I was feeling really good, and felt like I was riding pretty fast.  I was looking forward to seeing where I fell on the leaderboards for the three hills I climbed.  My average speed ended up 17.7, which is definitely faster than usual.  But sadly, my garmin decided not to add any gps data to my ride so I was unable to get anything from it other than the bare stats.  Disappointing. The views were nice though, I had to stop a few times to snap photos.

The group ride I did yesterday had a much different feel than the rides I do with friends back in WV.  We got much less spread out yesterday.  In WV the mountains have a way of separating people, and there is inevitably a stop or drastic slow down after each climb to regroup.  Without the mountains, this need is eliminated.  We started out with 5 people, lost one, picked up one, eventually lost both guys that were tagging along, and finished out the last 15 or so miles with three women riding a double loop around Ocean Drive.  Sights and sounds of the salt water, I'm definitely not in WV anymore.  In the first part of the ride we had ridden more loosely, often in pairs to chat.  The double loop was more single file, with me in the middle.  I found the pace comfortable and easy to keep up with, which was good.  

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