11 June 2011

Bike Commute Bonk and Other Adventures

I've been fed up for awhile with the inefficiencies (and high cost) of Metro, so a few weeks ago I started biking to work. My commute now takes less time AND I'm in a much better mood when I arrive at my destination. The commute is about 22 miles round-trip... and this means I'm burning about 800 additional calories a day... which means I need to eat more. I figured this out firsthand when I didn't eat an afternoon snack on Friday and on my commute home, I could feel myself starting to bonk. All I could think about was food and I was rapidly slowing down - soon I found myself being passed by kids, elderly ladies, guys riding stunt bikes 5 sizes too small for them.

Saturday I did one of my favorite bike rides with some good friends - Skymass. The first thirty miles are up, up, up Skyline drive. This is followed by a fun descent into Luray in the valley, which is quickly followed by a steep, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad climb. But you feel really good when you get to the top. Unless you're like me and fall off your bike when you reach the top... because you didn't unclip fast enough. The rest of the ride is downhill, rollers, and a fast ride back home. We biked in a pace line, which I've never done before. I'm still skittish about riding so close to someone's wheel, but I think I'll get more comfortable the more rides I do like this. Plus, it makes you go FAST - I did this ride 30 minutes faster than the last time I did it. 80 (hilly) miles in 4:56. It also always seems to rain at the end of the ride. We got caught in a downpour about 10 miles from our cars. Oh well, cooled us off. There was thunder and lightening too, so I decided to drive back home and do the remaining 32 miles of my ride in Arlington - good choice because the storms never followed me home.

Today was a long run AND my first ice bath of the season. My legs are still sore from the weekend, but I think they'd feel worse if I didn't do the ice bath. Mark arrived home on Friday night and it has been great to have him home. Not only do I have someone besides the dog to talk to, he makes a mean burger and a mean enchilada - I have missed him (and his cooking :) )

The weather finally cooled off tonight, so I baked up a storm. I've been going through baking withdrawal since our AC broke and it's been so hot - the last thing you want to do is run the oven. I made my mom's strawberry bread recipe (but in muffin form). These muffins have ALWAYS reminded me of summer. We (my mom, really) used to make them in the summers after we went strawberry picking. Strawberry season in NH is in June, so we'd always have these muffins around the end of school and when we'd go up to the lakehouse. Lots of good memories associated with my mom's strawberry muffins.

Next week looks like it will be a good week - lots of good training, my sister-in-law Allie is coming to visit, and we're planning on going to a winery and doing some stand-up paddleboarding next weekend!


Kathy said...

Strawberry muffins? Do share the recipe!
Can I say that way back in the day, when I lived on the hill and could commute to my office, I would ride my old $100 hybrid I had in college and would swear that toddlers on trikes were passing me on the Mt Vernon trail. That thing was about 50 lbs.
That was before I started dating Dave and he gave me an old (and I mean old) steel road bike that felt amazingly fast by comparison, but that I put aside happily when got my first tri bike, which actually was responsive and pretty fast.
Looking forward to getting back on the bike someday! Enjoy your riding.

Andrea said...

Hi - I'm a triathlete living in DC and training for Savageman (which is how I found your blog). Do you have a cue sheet with info on the Skymass ride or know of a website that might have it? I am always looking for new rides - particularly long ones with good climbing. Thanks!

Caroline said...

Kathy - Strawberry muffin recipe super easy. Three cups of flour, two cups of sugar, 1 tsp of baking powder (I always get baking powder and baking soda mixed up - it's the stuff that comes in the orange arm and hammer box), 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp cinnamon and 4 eggs. Mix that together, then add 1 cup of applesauce and then two cups of sliced strawberries. Bake in oven at 325 until they are lightly browned on top. A few years ago I used to bike commute using my mountain bike - now i'm using my roadbike and it's much quicker. Today I got new cleats put on my shoes (my old ones are COMPLETELY worn out) so I'm looking forward to a better, faster commute so I won't be flying out of my shoes

@Andrea - send me your e-mail address and I'll send you the Skymass ride, I have the cue sheet saved on my computer. It's a great ride and good prep for Savageman!! Good luck at the race, I love love love Savageman!

Andrea said...

Thanks! Glad to hear you love Savageman. My email is andrea.merber@gmail.com