Cycling outside is so much better than a stationary bike and today was a perfect day to ride outside. Low 60’s when we started with light overcast. The sun came out but it stayed in the mid 60’s, just perfect. I met a friend this morning and road 24 miles. We ride about the same pace so it was a good team. We also took turns leading, which really helped me push on the hills. When I was leading I wanted to make sure I was riding fast enough so he wouldn’t ride past me. When he was leading I made sure I was close enough to draft. The hills were in abundance on this loop through pastures and farms. My maximum speed was 35 miles per hour, one of my fastest times I am able to recall. Of course in order to go that fast downhill, we had to climb up. And that we did. For my first ride back on the road since my injury, I was pleased with my time. Over all I averaged 15.2 miles per hour. I consider it my base pace and only have upward to go. My pace on the flats usually is 17.5 to 20 miles per hour, where I need improvement is in climbing. Riding outside and with others should help my climbing.
When I finished I made a quick shoe change, put my bike in the SUV and headed out for a little run to get my legs adjusted to running off the bike. I wore my stiff ankle brace on the ride so I was set to run. My run was 1.5 miles. I noticed two things on the run – my right hamstring burns a bit within the first quarter mile but works out by a half mile and both quads wanted to cramp after a mile. It was modest and I ran through it. These are two things I want to overcome. Last year I cramped terribly on the run in the half ironman race I did. I am hoping these brick workouts will strengthen my legs for the run and I will experiment with different nutrition items – potassium and sodium being key.
Climbing hills, like life’s challenges, is not always something I want to rush to do. But with more experience climbing, I will get stronger and be able to tackle more hills (or challenges) of even greater degree. Cruising downhill is exhilarating, but it is even more rewarding when it follows a steep climb. Riding the flats is fast, but after some time it gets a little monotonous. Mixing it up and experiencing hills, downhill and flats – just like the various experiences in life – prepares me for the challenges to come. One thing is for sure, while I am keeping an eye on the road for hazards I will not forget to look around at the beautiful scenery. It is going by fast and I want to appreciate the journey.