Saturday, April 24, 2010

51 Mile Ride!

As a distance runner you sort of get locked into the concept that on the weekends you do your "long" run.  Traditionally done at a semi relaxed pace and for me the distances vary from 13-20 miles for the long run depending on where I am in the training cycle.  Not being able to run since the marathon on 3/20 means I've been itching to get that same endurance fix for a while now. 

So I've been looking to the bike to get those lately.  Mind you I've only had my bike for two and a half weeks or so now, and I was away for a week of that time.  But I did manage to progress up to the 30 mile mark before I went away.  Since getting back I've done a bunch of 17 mile rides to get my legs moving.  But today I wanted to go for a long sustained effort.  Something to give me the "long run" fix.

So I was up at 530AM and out the door and on the bike by 6AM.  Today was a good test for me.  I chose a route with some nice hills in it, but nothing over the top, predominantly flat, and with a mix of road and traffic conditions.  So it was a good all round ride.

I rode through the downtown area and towards India Point Park where I had to ride around for a bit until I figured out where you can gain access to the walking/bike path that goes over the bridge that houses Rt. 195.  I was surprised to see the bridge has this bike ramp thingy.  So you can actually stay on your bike and ride up the switchbacks and down the narrow path on the top of the bridge and it spits you out across the river right at the entrance to the bike path!  Very convenient!  You can see the bike ramp and the highway below.

Once over the bridge and onto the bike path I was on my old familiar stomping grounds.  I followed the bike path with the exception of the detour I took to ride around Colt State Park that the bike path runs through.  Where I had to ride through a giant pack of geese who all took off as I rode through them.  That was interesting.  I've startled a few birds before, but not a couple of hundred of them.  Here are some shots of the birds, as well as me at Colt State Park.  At this point about 20 miles in and still smiling.

Then I followed the bike path into Bristol and then followed 114 to the Mt. Hope Bridge.  This is a one lane in each direction bridge that bikes are allowed on.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  However once I was riding up it it became apparent that there was no sidewalk, no place to stop at all without being very much in the way of traffic, no place to take a picture (which is too bad as the view was great!) and there were also lots of bike eating giant teeth like expansion joints (with 2" wide gaps open to the ocean below) that kept trying to swallow my tires.  But I made it over without issue.  Unless you consider fear of cars being way too close for comfort an issue.  I can't blame them though... theres not a lot of wiggle room on the bridge and two cars and a cyclist barely fit.

BUT!  I made it over the bridge and into Portsmouth RI where I pulled over for a quick stop to take off the leg warmers as the intial 45 degree temps had climbed to mid 50's or so by now.  I promptly jammed the leg warmers between my seat and my saddle bag and headed back home.  I did take a moment to realize that I was 25.5 miles from my house.  I felt like that was pretty awesome.  I love that the I powered myself to being that far away.  I also love that the only way to get back was getting on the bike and getting going!

Back over the bridge where the evil bike eating expansion joints showed another talent.  They are also good at shaking your leg warmers out from where you thought they were securely stashed.  So they blew into the road (it was really windy at the top of the bridge) and into opposing traffic.  There was no stopping to get them.  Sigh.  There goes twenty bucks.  Worse yet they probably were blown right off the bridge and into the ocean.  Ugh.  Sorry!

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventfull.  I wasn't super speedy, but I did keep a nice steady cadence and enjoyed myself!  AND...   more importantly I got my endurance fix for the week.

And now my crazy life has me off to Boston for work, coming home Monday late morning just in time for some laps at the Y, then home for one night, swim session with my coach on Tuesday morning, and then off to Baltimore tuesday afternoon for the week.  Oy!  This is the craziness that is my life.

But moments out on the road like the one below are what keep me smiling.  I really do live in a very beautifull place.  I'm lucky I can wake up, get on my bike and ride to views like this one....

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