Biking Adventures

I have been going to the gym a few times each week as the schedule allows, mostly spending time on the treadmill. I haven’t felt good all week – mostly allergies, so haven’t done anything since Sunday. On Sunday, I went on my first group cycle ride ever. There is a group in town called theSouth Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways. A group of around 30 people from all ages (10 – 70+) started at the high school and rode a big loop around part of town for a total of 12.8 miles. The ride was mostly flat, done at a leisurely pace, and with one big break and another one to re-group and allow recovery from the one large hill. Not knowing many in town, this was a good opportunity to socialize with a few healthy-minded individuals, mostly who have lived here their entire lives. Here’s a link to my ride as provided by a new biking app, Strava: I did get a flat on my rear tire at about the halfway point, but had a very experienced rider help me change it quickly. There was some teamwork involved to get the tire changed, then catch up with the lead group at the top of the hill.

I have also re-visited the Farmington Canals Heritage Trail for the first time since October when we had the snowstorm that downed trees throughout Connecticut. The trail has been cleaned up, with just a few indications that there was even a storm. Small trees are permanently bent over from the heavy, wet snow breaking the fibers of the trunk in October. The trail had many people riding, a good many more running, and even a few roller blading. This was a serious ride for me, done in prep for a 34 mile ride scheduled for under two weeks in the future. The 34 mile United Way ride was cancelled the next day, so prep was for naught, other than the obvious benefit of a great ride that whipped my legs into shape. I rode a bit over 34 miles on this relatively flat trail, taking a long break at the halfway point – the bridge over the Farmington River. The weather was overcast and could have started raining at any point.

While stopped on the bridge over the river, I caught the end of a high school crew race, plus had the opportunity to sit and take in the beauty near the river. The above pic was taken using Pro HDR for my iPhone which does a bit of evaluation of the scene, then takes two pics of varying exposures and stitches them together. The clouds were just calling for an infrared filter, so I applied that within the app and saved it. I’m always amazed that such a remarkable ability it packed within a phone that is almost always with me. I can now look at that photo, know that it was taken during a long bike ride, and remember the joy that the ride brought. At the end, I was tired, but was happy to have just gotten out there.

Looking Forward

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

I have been working out several times per week, including my first AM / PM bike ride today. Early today was a 5:30 – 6:30 spin class at the YMCA (okay, not officially a SPIN class but an indoor cycling class). The odometer showed 18+ miles during that hour. We did lots of position 2 & 3 with little in the saddle. I was pretty wiped after that, but felt good because I worked really hard during that class.

Then, I came home early and decided that I needed to get on my real bike. It’s a hybrid, Trek brand bike that I’ve had for about 10 years. I had clips installed last year that were compatible with the shoes I purchased for spin class. I have installed Garmin parts for capturing lots of metrics that I’ll cover in a later entry, so know exactly how far and how fast I’ve gone, my cadence and so on. Anyway, I headed out for that ride and realized about three miles out that my legs were dead but I needed to get home. So it was another 7 miles in total that evening for just over 25 for the day. The 10 hours between rides wasn’t enough but I felt great. Two rides in a single day was a new thing for me, but one that I could keep doing over the summer if time and light permits.