Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Another summer goal completed! PR Bike ride.

Hey! I actually managed to get in a record breaking bike ride!

A long ride
I more or less squeaked this one in right before the cold, extremely rainy fall (and constant darkness) shut things down for the bike riding season.

Bike season was painfully short for me this year, which is something I plan to remember for next year. I got a late start because I had some post Boston running fun. THEN, we had summer traffic and road work (as in: roads fully torn up for weeks) that shut my shit down. I am just not that serious, or brave. I'm not entirely sure how to combat this issue, other than hope that the town doesn't pave yearly (and guess what, they do not.)

I completely blew my goal of fitting in some Green Machine group bike rides. This year, the timing was completely incompatible with my work schedule. I was basically just finishing work around the time that the rides finished up. (good for my business. terrible for getting bike miles in.)

During the Fall, Eric and I rode a few times and I felt pretty good. The biggest difference from a few years ago was my increase in courage, all thanks to the 2017 group rides. Once the traffic calmed down to a dull roar, instead of complete chaos, I was good to go.

Once late October rolled around, we basically said "screw it. let's get a decent length ride in." We planned a solid 35 mile route, which would have been distance PR for me.
Well as things turned out, we missed a turn and came in 0.4 miles short. Annoying, but it was such a great, confidence building ride that it was an overall win.

So close.... But not close enough.
So. Several days later, I had an afternoon off from work and I decided to take a solo ride to meet Eric at his work, in Portland.

This ride presented a few challenges:
-I do not believe I had ridden solo in years. Actual years.
-The weather was decent enough, but colder than I had ridden in (low 40's. plus wind)
-The route was one that would have me encountering significant traffic. And would require me to be aggressive in terms of taking lanes, and basically behaving like a vehicle (terrifying)

Luckily, we had previewed the first 15 miles of the route in our first long-ride attempt. The first stretch was the least trafficked, but the most hilly, and with the most dreadful pavement. So, I was glad to have been able to ride it with Eric and get a feel for the pretty hideous conditions. I concluded that once I managed that part, I just needed to woman up and deal with the traffic like a confident cyclist.

Which, believe it or not, I did.
(and I took zero pics to commemorate the journey....)

My biggest issue was with the cold, and wind. My feet froze pretty solid, but my hands stayed warm which was good (and surprising!)
I had to stop once to pee, but other than that I cruised along. I was super terrified that I was going to be so slow that I was going to get caught in Portland commuter traffic. Noooooooooo. (and no it's not exactly Boston, but there are still a lot of cars....)

Anyway, I made really solid time on 302, mostly because I was fear riding. "GREEN LIGHT!! HURRY!!!" and such. I reached Portland just as things were getting busy, but I confidently claimed my lanes so that I could make the appropriate left turns, and I really felt remarkably empowered (go me.)

I made it to Eric's work in 3:13, a total of 46.2 miles (solidly smashing my bike distance PR), before the sunset, and with only slightly frozen appendages. Between my short break, and the traffic lights I only had 8 minutes of stopped time, which seems pretty solid to me. While it was not a terribly hilly ride, coming in at just under 2k feet of elevation gain, it was long. And riding alone, with nobody to draft off of (yep, I'm lazy) a 14.4 MPH ride is SO GOOD for me! (especially at the end of a season when I rode like, 10 times.)

I made it!
I have to admit, that I enjoyed the experience. It was certainly well outside of my comfort zone, and to have such a successful experience was quite a confidence boost. I'm actually glad that I chose to do it alone. While I much prefer riding with others, doing it solo meant that I had to rely on my own (questionable?) skills. And I did it!!

Good job, Fiona
I was pretty tired afterwards, and my neck hurt and I was hungry. By the next day, I felt just fine and normal. Biking is funny like that.
I was pleased to get this done. There were a couple items on my summer goals list that went to shit, and I really wanted this one. And I got it! Success!


1 comment:

  1. So, I bike(d) to work - before my bike got stolen, darn that New Orleans crime, and I really never fell in love with the ride-in-traffic part. It's just scary. And New Orleans is like, top 20 for bike deaths. I have a reason to be terrified. But I have about two miles of bike lanes, so that's awesome!