Sunday, February 26, 2012

Progress on the Bike

Last week when I went up Paris Mountain I was realizing that I was getting through to a new level on my cycling, and that just getting up the mountain wasn't enough to make it feel like a long enough ride. Because of the weather last weekend, I didn't go out on the Brookwood ride. The ride is most Sunday afternoons, and is a gorgeous trek through the countryside near Simpsonville, SC. It's typically around 25 miles, and has classically been a sufferfest for me as I attempt to keep up. Today we had a smaller turn out than I expected, since the weather was in the mid-50's when we started out.

About 5 miles into the ride, we realized that one of the new folks was very new to riding, and really shouldn't be attempting a 20 mile ride just yet. So AJ went with Jennifer back to the start, and we split up the original group some. At this point we really picked up the pace, but even then it was a lot easier overall of a ride than what I've been used to. I found my cadence to be much higher (sometimes topping over 100!), and my legs did feel stronger overall. I think one of the big reasons for this was my new attention to attacking hills, although I think the spin classes have helped build the capillaries in my legs a lot to drive more endurance. Hills have been a constant struggle for me. I grew up in coastal Florida - hills were what the ants pushed up before we killed 'em. An incline was the bridge we used to get off the barrier island during Hurricane evacuations. Hills weren't something I grew up around. That said, I absolutely love them, but biking on them has been a challenge for me. My bike before I moved to the upstate was a 1 speed cruiser, and it did what I needed. Now I have all these gears that I have to make use, and figuring out which one, and what level of effort for a given climb, takes a LOT of practice. Not climbing Holland road at the end of this ride for 2 weeks was an eye opener, though. When I climbed it today, and didn't really have an issue until we were almost to the turn off going back to Brookwood, I was amazed at myself. This puts me at an ever increasing milestone for the month, though. Right now I'm at 179mi for the month of February, not counting perceived miles on the spin cycles. I have a planned ride to go over Paris Mountain tomorrow, which should put my total for the month at just over 200. This will be the first month that I have gone over 200 miles since I started 5 months ago. Hopefully I can continue to increase that mileage as the year goes on, especially over the summer.

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