After my race on Saturday (read about it here) I planned to go on a bike ride afterwards. I had planned this with other 5k races but usually my legs and body felt too tired to try to string on a bike ride as well. In a short time I have grown stronger and I guess more stubborn. After two hours of recovery I ventured off for Sosebee Bike Parking lot and to complete twenty road miles of laid out road routes. As I set out on my twenty mile route, fully aware that my legs were sore, I began to think of alternate shorter routes I could use as a fall back. To date the longest ride I had completed was a very flat 12-14 miles along the Silver Comet Trail. When I finished my ride I had ridden twenty hilly miles and my legs were dead… but I had ridden my first twenty mile ride.
I decided for this first twenty mile ride I just wanted to take the ride easy and not force myself to a specific speed. I had previously ridden a mile of this course for practice, but had never experienced anything beyond that single mile. I found out pretty quickly that this course had some pretty good hills, that really challenged my weary leg muscles. This course had plenty of steep challenging climbs including one section that was a Strava Category 4 climb which is their lowest categorized climb(an explanation of their classification system is here). I took the hills slow and methodical and worked myself into lower gears progressively. As time wore on and new hills were reached, they became harder to climb as my legs were getting more fatigued. I took it easy and found places to take a quick walking rest when needed. I was not worried about riding at a set pace or making a specific speed. There were some fun downhill sections that were a little challenging as they incorporated some harrowing curvy steep road sections.
The good thing about riding the hills and diversity of terrain on this course was the growth of my skills to shift gears and establishing balance on the bike. I have had issues with balance since I started riding and I found it really was a matter of needing to spend time on the bike and gain some much needed time riding. By the time I completed this ride I felt allot more confident and familiar with the bike and its function. I still have difficulty reaching my water bottles confidently, but this is getting better the more time I spend on my bike.
I had never experienced riding on roads alone before and that was another experience that sometimes proved harrowing. The only time I had ridden on roads was with my brother, riding alone at first was discerning, but felt better with time, I just tried to maintain my awareness of what was going on around me at all times. Most of this road path is on smaller, less used local roads, yet there are a few sections that intersect or share major highway lengths. The only time I was super scared was when a car came flying over a hill with a steep curve and was in the wrong lane driving crazy. Luckily the driver saw me and they veered back into their lane.
The cool thing with this ride is that this road system contains tons of possible length options and I can use it to work on hill climbing and adding progressive miles to my rides. Its also fairly scenic and beautiful in the fall. Its really cool riding down these roads and being bathed in a shower of golden, sun touched leaves as you ride by. While I went slow up and down these hills, I still had a really good ride and enjoyed myself up to the point where my legs did not want to work anymore. Overall a really good day, 5k race in the morning with a PR and then riding my longest distance ride. What a day. Later that night I had one of the best sleeps of my adult life. Til next time.
- Chatter’s Big Day Out (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- That Hill Nearly Killed Me: Saturday’s Ride (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- Bartow United Way Turkey Trot Race Recap (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)