02 March 2013

Long Ride... OUTSIDE!

It's the beginning of March, which marks the beginning of meteorological spring, which should also mean the start of me consistently riding my bike outside. I saw a quote somewhere that was along the lines of while you were riding on the trainer, your competition was out in the cold, wind, and rain logging miles on the bike. I also just realized I will be riding up Mt Lemmon in a month at tri camp, so it would be in my best interest to get my wimpy rear end outside.

I walked out of my house this morning, bike in hand, and it was crisp, no wind, sun was shining and I found myself thinking wow, what a beautiful day. I'm so happy that I'm ditching the trainer and riding outside. Now let's fast forward to about Mile 10 of today's 40 miler. Brutal headwind, on a busy road, SNOW (ok, not much, but still - SNOW blowing around) and temps definitely in the 30s. Oh, and no sun, no birds singing, no flowers blooming. Just dark clouds, trucks zooming by, and WIND. It's safe to say that Sarah and I yelled a few choice words before trying to reduce our surface area as much as possible so we could slice through the wind (that did not happen).

Fortunately, this dark part of the ride didn't last too long. The busy road gradually gave way to a beautiful country road that wound through fields and farms. Sarah and I had an opportunity to catch up and chat, making the ride go by so much faster. With the exception of my left foot, I was pretty warm and I was happy to finally be riding outside. I feel like I get so much more out of riding outdoors than on the trainer. So much more variation in the terrain and I could feel myself using muscles I forgot I had in my back and arms and legs. One of the things I was most looking forward to was that really tired and satisfied feeling you get after a good ride (and today did not disappoint). About 30 miles into the ride, we hit a section of the Poolesville ride that I have done over and over each summer when I get ready for IMLP. It was nice to know where I was and it seemed like my bike was pretty happy too, as my speed was picking up and I was feeling strong (a tailwind will do that to you). This feeling lasted about 5 miles until we made our final turn... right into another ridiculous headwind. Never has my car been such a welcome sight as it was at the end of today's ride - warm, dry clothes, the heater blasting and Dawn was great company for the ride home. The only thing that was missing was a post-ride burrito. I made up for it by cooking up a grilled cheese sent straight from heaven and ate it in about 2 minutes.

I think I'm ready to put the trainer away for the remainder of chilly weather riding. Things will hopefully only be getting warmer and if I could make it through today's windy and flurries unscathed, then there are no excuses. I need to be able to make it to the top of Mt Lemmon next month for my giant cookie!

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