I got a little bold today and took a ride into the (Cuyahoga) Valley this evening after work. I wanted to get at least 25 miles in so that I could stop staring at that pathetic under-100 mileage total that was taunting me as I recalled that Michael is now at about 285. I was hoping to get 30 miles in, but my dad was still at my house when I got home, so I had to make nice and talk to him for a bit.
‘Twas a bit nippy out today. They say it was 55 degrees when I started out at 6:30, but I’m not convinced that was accurate. I wore one of my long-sleeved jerseys and then put a fleece coat on over it. I was still a little chilled towards the end of the ride. Not to mention, I probably should have worn my shoe covers–my feet were cold by the time I rolled into my driveway. The Weather Channel’s temperature reading on my (home) computer’s system tray said it was 35 when I sat down to record my stats. It didn’t seem that cold either. I’m guessing it was about 45 when I got in.
Due to the impending setting of the sun, I had to cut one of my usual routes short. I rode the Summit County MetroParks bike trail to Highland Road, and then dropped down into the Valley. I can tell it’s going to take a few more rides to grow back my “biking balls” because I braked like a student driver down most of Highland, and, honestly, felt bile in the back of my throat on the really steep section before the bottom. It probably didn’t help that while I was on the bike path, I encountered deer crossing the path, which makes me nervous due to the Dog Incident of 2004. When flying down any of those tree-lined hills in the Valley, I imagine every possible animal running from one side of the street to the other, and myself crashing helplessly into them at speeds nearing 35mph. Me in a car versus a deer = pretty bad damage to my car, probably fatality to the deer; me on bicycle versus a deer = deer slightly bruised, Mars Girl pretty frakked up.
At the end of last year, however, I was able to let it all out on some hills (if I could clearly see far enough ahead of me to avoid collision with said animals crossing the road). I’m not up to that point yet. I’m sure a few rides of being totally dropped by my ABC pals will help inspire my guts to harden again… But right now, I’m feeling pretty wimpy.
I took Riverview into Peninsula. This part wasn’t too bad–I was hitting a nice speed between 16-17mph. I passed through town on 303 and then turned onto Akron-Peninsula Road to Truxell.
Now, for all you out-of-towners, Truxell is the easiest climb out of the Valley, at least on the east side. At the end of last summer, I was kicking some serious butt up it. Okay, not when compared to some of our stronger riders (Michael being one of those), but for my abilities, I was slamming up that road. And I didn’t bottom out on my gears. I’d gotten to the point where it really was the easiest climb; it didn’t kill me at all to do it.
Well, it got me tonight. And–pisser of pissers–on the hardest section, I found myself in the lowest gear on my bike. Oh, the insults! I can’t remember the last time I had to use the lowest gear on that climb! I’m soooooooooooo glad that I didn’t go with my second hunch and take Quick Road (a harder climb). I was doing speeds so low, I’m just plain embarrassed to admit to them publicly. This is probably where I lost whatever great average I was doing before I got to Truxell.
While waiting at the stop sign at the top of the hill, a guy on a motorcycle came up behind me. “Did you come out of the Valley?” he mused, amazed. I admitted that I had, but that it hadn’t been easy, and then pointed out that Truxell is the easiest climb. “If you have legs like a Siberian tiger,” he guffawed. I snorted and moved on my merry way. Obviously, he’s never met any of the hammerheads who frequent the Valley, some of whom are ABC members. I am but an amateur in comparison, my motorcycling friend!
I’m so behind my cycling when compared to last year. I know I had more mileage already (I don’t know for certain as I didn’t keep track of my daily miles). This just sucks! I’m so disappointed in myself, as I sit here, tired off my butt and my legs throbbing with pain as though I just did 65 miles. What a loser I am!
Maybe I’m just mad because it was colder than I would have preferred. I seem to accept my pain better when I’ve just enjoyed a warm evening. It took me dinner and a cup of hot tea to finally feel comfortable again (I had to resist the urge to turn up my heat in the house).
It was a beautiful evening, though, for all the glorious sun. Even if I got spanked by a relatively easy climb out of the Valley. Shame on me. I need to punish myself with some excruciating climbs this weekend. I have to get these winter legs turned into cycling legs and fast. And, please, take my wine gut. I shamefully spent my winter like most Ohioans, getting buzzed indoors with my alcohol of choice, and remaining mostly sedentary. Not even my Total Gym can work this flab off. It is going to take fasting (no chocolate! no ice cream! no weeknight beer or wine!) and a lot of cardio to erase the sins of my winter sloth…
My stats tonight: 27.83 miles, 1 hour 56 minutes, 14.3 average, 28.7 max (because I held back on Highland).
Oh, and I purchased a ski helmet for use next winter. So maybe I can be a little less sedentary.