I’m back on the bike. My cycling enthusiasm seriously waned over the winter. It’s just hard to get excited about cycling when it’s cold and rainy outside. With the sun, though, the enthusiasm is definitely back. I’ve cycled 170 miles in 2108, and a significant percentage of those miles have been over the last couple of weekends.
Cycle 1 was a 30 mile ride around the bottom of Lake Washington. One thing that is super nice is that I have finally memorized some routes. When I first started cycling, I was constantly getting lost. While that still happens, it’s getting a lot less frequent, and I have this route totally memorized. Or nearly. 30 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain – and it wiped.me.out. I was pretty much cooked for the rest of the day.
Isn’t Seattle beautiful?
I decided to add some miles the second week and did a very similar ride, except that I added 8 miles or so and biked around the bottom of Mercer Island. This also added a little bit of elevation gain. Anyway, this ride turned out to be more eventful. My chain came off the chain ring a few miles in, and then it happened again, and I had trouble getting on the lower front chain ring, and yeah. Not good. However, it mostly worked, and I tried not to switch chain rings at the front very often and just rely on the gears at the back. Then, when I was halfway across the bridge between Mercer Island and Bellevue, probably 3 miles from the nearest place I could get picked up by car and with traffic zooming by at 70 mph (separated by a barrier thankfully), the chain came off for at least the third time, but this time it was jammed between the derailleur and the gears. I turned my hands solid black trying to get it back on and after a lot of cursing and a little bit of panic finally succeeded. This is the second time I’ve had a problem on that bridge, and it really is just not a good place to have an issue. I got going again and was really nervous about my bike and in probably the most remote section of the whole ride with nowhere to go ran into this homeless man semi-blocking the path. I was quite nervous to try and go by / around him, but fortunately, he left me alone. Then, a few miles from home on a VERY quiet street, I rolled through a stop sign in front of a guy who apparently thought he should have gone first, and he yelled at me and called me a dumb bitch. I probably shouldn’t roll through stop signs, but I really feel that level of nastiness is unnecessary.
Note elevation for both my rides: downhill, flat, then uphill. I really wish I could reverse that. The uphill at the end is just killer.
After my ride, I was once again totally wrecked. My question now is whether I can actually build cycling fitness by cycling just once a week, or whether I need to cycle at least twice a week. I don’t want to subject myself to a weekly torture-fest, and I really do want to go farther and faster, but cycling midweek is no picnic. Commuting by bike is just difficult and arguably dangerous. I have a hilly 10-mile loop I do that takes about an hour, but I have mostly 8 am meetings these days, so doing that loop would require a 6 am start. Definitely doable. Is the motivation there? I’m not sure. I’m toying with the idea of attempting a century this summer, but for now, I’m thinking of a goal of a 50 mile cycle by the end of June.