Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Forty miles in 4 hrs 2 minutes -- with 16-minute pit stop

I sketched out what looked to be a thirty-five or forty mile ride for this morning, and started out at about 7:30 in fifty-degree weather. Only two days' rest after my 74-miler, and my legs were stiff. Hadn't slept too well, either; got up at 6:30 because I was tired of trying to get back to sleep.

With some muscle milk, gator ade, and icewater in my basket, I took off in low gear and eased into the ride, feeling better with every push on the pedal. It was great to be out there, and half an hour later I wasn't feeling tired or sleepy and my legs were limbered up.

I did take a long break at Safeway (got behind some lady in the Starbucks concession who ordered something complicated and paid for it with singles and small change she fished out of her purse; cost me 3 minutes minimum!) so that may be why I felt so fresh as I started out again. Took the hills on Cornell on the way to Murray better than I had the last time I rode this route. Hit 22.4 mph going down Murray to TV Highway. Stopped for a slug of muscle milk when I got to the corner.

Delighted to come across a milepost -- #5 -- and eventually #11 -- and checked my odometer. Perfect. It read 24.8 at #5 and 30.8 at #11. Couldn't ask for more.

I was doing all I could to make up for the 16-minute pit stop, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that I wasn't going to make my 10 mph on this ride. I was gaining on it, but with less than ten miles to go ...

On one stretch on TV Highway I got up to 20 mph ... that's a mile in 3 minutes. Oh, if I could only keep that up! I did -- for about 45 seconds.

About 36 miles into the ride I saw that following the route on my sketch map was going to get me home in less than 40 miles. I thought if I could add a few miles to my ride, and go fast enough, I could reach my 10 mph average. So I took an ad hoc detour.

It almost worked. I clocked 40 miles, but when the odometer tripped 40.0, my stopwatch registered 4:02.

Rolling time was lots better. According to the bike's stopwatch, it was 3:28:02. Not too shabby for a tapering-off ride.

And I felt better at the end than the start. No question, this could get addictive!


  1. Hugh

    Keep up the good work. I ride with Les (when I can keep up!) in the Richmond area and he's been keeping us posted on your project.

    -Pete Hubbel

  2. Great job, Hugh! Looks like you're well trained for the big day. Good luck!

    - Andy Nishida (another of Les' VA cycling buddies)

  3. Great to hear from you, Pete and Andy, and thanks for the positive thoughts. As you can see from today's post (Friday) it seems to be getting better and better. Your support means a lot.