Day 223: The unplanned hill practice ride

14 08 2010
Every once in a while it feels good to do something out of character from my normal routine. Shake things up a bit. This morning I got up at 6:30 (unheard of for me on a Saturday), hopped on my bike by 7:15 and rode 4 miles to meet a small group of cyclists I’d never ridden with before. I met a few of them last weekend during the Art Car Weekend, when they invited me to join them for their Saturday ride.

I recently purchased the Ride the City iPhone app, so since I was meeting the group in a location I wasn’t familiar with, I used that as an excuse to test out the app. I knew vaguely how to get to the starting point of the ride, but was unsure of the exact location. I’m pleased to say the app worked great and gave not only a visual map, but a turn-by-turn cue sheet of the route. At least until I got to the last few streets along the route. At one point the app told me to turn right from Speed Avenue onto Saratoga Drive. As far as I could tell, that’s not even possible as those two streets are nowhere near each other. I rode by a man walking his dog so I asked him directions (the man, not the dog). Thankfully, he got me back on track. A mile or so later, I stopped to check my MapMyRide app to confirm I was going the right direction. Honestly, the MMR app is by far the best, most accurate app for this type of tracking. I use it every time I ride. 

Click for larger image


One drawback about my route today was I had a few unplanned significant hills to climb. Significant for me, anyway. I’ve mentioned before that I suck at hills. Leg fatigue isn’t my problem, but rather lung power. I get out of breath so quick that I struggle to finish the hill. But I’m proud to say that today, I made it up each of the three hills. The last one was a long, steady incline that lasted for two blocks. I had plenty of time to think. And curse. And wonder “if I’m moving at a snail’s pace and end up having to get off and walk, how do I unclip while moving slowly without tipping over?” By the time I reached the top, I was going pretty slow, but I was happy I made it without having to get off and walk. I suck at math even more than climbing hills, but if I did the math correctly (based on this hill grade formula), I think the hill was a little more than a 3 percent grade. Doesn’t really sound that bad, but to me it was awful. Here’s a photo of the hill, although photos never seem to do justice to the incline. I was proud of myself for making it to the top. 

Must. Keep. Pedaling. Of course there's a stop sign at the bottom of the hill so I'd lost all momentum and had to start from a dead stop.


The view from the top.


Before the start of the ride, I decided it was a good time to try the Nuun electrolyte tabs I just bought the other day (lemon-lime flavor). I’ve burned out on Vitamin Water Zero, which is pretty good when it’s ice cold, but after it gets warm, it’s pretty nasty. And has a vitamin-y after-taste. Gatorade and Powerade are disgustingly sweet, so I’ve never been a fan of those. Over the past few months, I’ve drunk so many bottles of the orange flavor Vitamin Water, that I can’t bring myself to drink it anymore. Ugh. I dropped a Nuun tab into one of my water bottles at the start of the ride. A mile or so later, I took a drink and it wasn’t bad. A fairly mild flavor and I didn’t notice an after-taste. I’m not sure the lemon-lime flavor was the best choice, but I think I can definitely get used to them. I plan to try some of the other flavors also. 

Nuun tablets


With the exception of the hills today, it was a nice ride and a good group to ride with. There were 5 guys and myself. Ages ranged from early 40s to an 80-year-old who was in better shape than me. We did several miles together, then they stopped for breakfast and I headed home. The humidity was kicking in and I didn’t want to lose what energy I had left before I got home. Round trip I did 15.5 miles. Carrick and I are planning to do a ride tomorrow. Hopefully a flat one with no hills. 

Today’s food journal: 

— Builder Bar = 5 points 

— 2 scrambled eggs, wheat tortilla and salsa = 3 points
— LF organic chocolate milk = 3 points 

— Black bean nachos = I’m guessing at least 15 points, so tomorrow I get back on the wagon. 

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride! 

…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.




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