Drive My Bike


Catching Up…

It has been about three weeks since I last posted, so I figured I’d put something together to let you know what I’ve been up to…

EmigrationFullMileage

Probably the most noteworthy piece of news is that in the last three weeks I decided to start training to ride a Century (100 mile ride) at the end of September. I have become comfortable with 25 mile rides, and figured that it was time to take things to the next level.

The less noteworthy part of that same news is that in the same three week period I decided NOT to train for said Century ride. It goes like this…

Several weeks ago I decided that I’d do a 50-60 mile ride on a Saturday morning to start working up my mileage. I was a little intimidated by that mileage, and rightly so, since my biggest ride at that time was about 25 miles. I checked out a few route possibilities, and decided that I would ride from my house to the top of Emigration Canyon, and back, which I figured was about 60 miles. (You may remember that Emigration Canyon is where I rode with my friend Dave, but we started from the parking lot at the bottom of the canyon.)

The ride to the canyon was great, but once I hit the grade on the way up, I started running out of gas quickly. I took a break about halfway, caught my breath, and then proceeded on to the summit. I paused at the top and took a picture to prove that I had been there.

EmigrationMileage

The speedy ride down the canyon was effortless, and fun, but I got so comfortable that I almost crashed when I underestimated my speed and overshot a corner, missing the edge of the asphalt, and the rock filled ditch, by a few inches. At about 30 mph, that would have been very, very bad.

I had a steady downhill for the next 10 miles or so, and felt pretty good, but then I started hitting a wall. I had to do a few small, but fairly steep hills on the way home, and each one of those seemed to empty my gas tank. I had to take multiple breaks along the way, but eventually made it home. I took the picture at the top of this post, showing the 55.01 mile odometer reading, to commemorate my weary victory.

Looking back, I think the biggest problem I had was that I wasn’t drinking or eating enough. I started experimenting with Hammer Nutrition products a couple of months ago, and I’m very happy with the results, but I’m still figuring out how much water and fuel I need on a long ride. I think if I had fueled and rehydrated more regularly I probably wouldn’t have “bonked” so hard.

Anyway, I was so blown out by that long ride that it took the wind out of my sails for a bit, so I decided to postpone my first century ride until next year, when I can follow a more gradual training program.

In the meantime, I did a nice 35 mile loop on the following Saturday, heading downtown to the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market. I was determined to enjoy this ride, so I slowed things down a bit, and tried to eat and drink more. I stopped at the dog park and snapped a few pictures, which made things fun. I had some soreness in one of my knees, but all in all it was a good ride.

FarmersDogPark

Along with these weekend rides, I’ve continued my regular commutes to work on Mondays and Tuesdays, and I’ve been able to enjoy riding with a couple of regular commuters that I’ve become acquainted with on my route.

I’ve also noticed that there are a LOT more people riding their bikes these days, and most of them look like they are commuting. Vive Le Revolution!

Lastly, I figured I’d share a picture I took yesterday morning. I went to my gym for the early (5:45 am) spinning class that I hit semi-regularly. It is an intense class, and the trainer who leads it is an avid biker herself, so she makes sure we get a good workout. I was thoroughly exhausted when I left the gym, but this is what I saw…

LifetimeFitnessSunrise

That was a nice way to start my day.

Thanks for reading. Keep riding. Stay safe.

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Yesterday’s Great Ride, and Today’s Small Victory

Yesterday I had the best bike ride I’ve had since I started riding again, maybe even the best bike ride of my life. I decided to just “go for a ride”… no real destination or purpose, other than to explore some places I had seen from my car.  It was awesome! I ended up riding about 12.5 miles, but I didn’t know that until I got home and mapped the ride. It was kind of like being a kid again, just riding around exploring. I found a couple of wonderful trails maintained by the city, and I took them almost as far as they would go. It was in the early evening, so the sun was setting and the temperature was great. It was the longest single direction ride I’ve done, yet I came home feeling completely energized and refreshed. That is what biking is about! I wish I had some pictures to share, but I need to get a small pocket digital camera so that I can record journeys like that. Hopefully in the future I can share them with you…

j0309213

On this morning’s commute, it looked like bike commuter rush hour! I counted eight cyclists, including myself, and three of them were going in the same direction as me. At one point, there were four of us on bikes, all waiting for the same red light. I would have loved to have known what the motorists were thinking as we all pulled up alongside. Actually I didn’t have to wait for the light, so I ended up with a couple minutes of glory that are hard to come by…

There are a few “regulars” on my route that ride some nice road bikes, and it is not uncommon for them to pass me. This has frustrated me, but I have learned that they are geared better and their bikes probably weigh a third of what my comfort bike and pannier weigh, so they have a huge advantage. Well, this morning I was able to turn the tables a bit, because they were stopped at the light, and I saw that it was about to change, so I maintained my speed, and blew past them as the light turned green. I shifted to my fastest gear and pedaled as hard as I could, savoring my victory. Alas, it was short lived, and they soon caught up to me and passed me, one seeming quite irritated, and the other managing a friendly “hello” as he went by. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and I had a great workout and a good ride this morning.



Month 2 = 110 Miles
August 1, 2008, 11:15 am
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Yesterday I finished up my second month as an “official” bike commuter, and my mileage total for the month was 110 miles, all of which was commuting to work, or the store, or normal trips that I would’ve previously driven my car. Honestly, I was hoping that my mileage would be higher for the month, but when I look back I had a few situations come up that hindered my riding. I got rained out for the first time, and that actually happened a couple of times. I also had some scheduling challenges where I needed to be in certain places at certain times and I wouldn’t have been able to make it in time on my bike. On the other hand, there were several times where I decided that I needed to go to the store just so that I could get a ride in. (You can almost always use a gallon of milk, right?) I have come to really enjoy time on my bike. It is “my time” and it fits in nicely with my busy life, without taking time away from other things.

Even though I didn’t have a higher mileage total, I’m still going to appreciate the fact that I actually rode 110 miles on my bike. That is 5 miles more than I did the previous month, and it is 110 miles more than I ever would have done just a few months ago. Last month was also a month of personal discovery, as I explored things like learning to slow down and enjoy the ride, and that has been a very good thing! I had a 12 mile round trip ride last night to meet a friend for dinner, and I really relaxed and took my time on the way home, and it was quite enjoyable.

Month 2 was a good month… of course any month with some time spent riding a bike has to be a pretty good month.

Keep riding, and stay safe 🙂



How Far Is Too Far?
July 18, 2008, 1:27 pm
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I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner last night, at a fast food place about 10 miles away. Normally, I would have driven this distance, but I decided that I would take the leap and ride my bike for the 20 mile round trip. My family looked at me like I was crazy when I announced my intentions. The best reaction I got was when I came riding up to the restaurant and my friend looked at me in disbelief as he exclaimed “You rode your bike?”

I have to admit that I was quite intimidated by that distance, and actually was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t crazy. Prior to this ride the farthest I had gone was a little over 8 miles each way, for a total of 16 miles round trip. Now that is nothing to a lot of you riders out there, and I know that guys like Tom do more than that every day on their commute to work, but for me it was a new adventure.

Overall, the ride went well, and I felt quite strong on the way there. The ride home was more difficult, and I was awfully glad when I pulled onto my street and could see my house up the block. Not only did I survive, but I did it! Even though I was tired, 20 miles really didn’t seem like 20 miles, and I would definitely do it again.

What about you? I know that some readers are just starting to ride, while some readers have been riding for years. What are your longest commutes? How far is too far for a commute?



First Month = 105.5 Miles
July 1, 2008, 12:43 pm
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Well, yesterday was the end of my first “official” month of bike commuting, and I ended the month with 105.5 miles ridden. My work commute is a little over 5 miles each way, and I try to do that twice a week. In addition, I tried to ride my bike for as many neighborhood errands as possible, as well as a few recreational rides thrown in when I just needed to get away for a bit.

It was a good month, and I had some ups and downs with my riding, but it is a milestone that I am proud of. I’m in a little better shape, I think I’ve lost a few pounds, and I’ve come to really enjoy riding. A good first month indeed!

By the way, I use MapMyRide.com for tracking my rides, and I think that is a great free tool!