Monday, March 2, 2015

Pressing Reset on 2015

As I mentioned in an earlier post (It’s All about the Base), this year is off to a slow start.  In fact, it was such a weird start that it was beginning to impact my motivation to ride.  So, this weekend I hit the reset button on 2015.  In a word, it was awesome!!!

Here’s some numbers to put this into perspective.  Prior to last weekend I only had 176 miles on the bike and my longest ride was 37 miles.  In 2014, I had already ridden 608 miles with a 73 mile effort in the books.  That’s a 345% reduction in miles.  I tried to get things started last weekend with a 50-mile effort and although I finished the ride I was exhausted and I still wasn’t feeling it.

Mustard in apple orchard.
As Saturday approached, I began to think about the ride.  I have an 75-mile event at the end of April that will include over 5,000 feet of elevation so I needed to climb.  At first, my club’s ride seemed perfect.  They were planning on 51 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing, which seemed like just what the doctor ordered.

However, there were a couple of reasons that I decided to head out on my own - the pace and the route.  As I watched who would be riding, I knew that the ride would be fast and I’m not ready for fast just yet.  And, while the route seemed to have the right amount of climbing and distance, all of the climbing was at the beginning where I wanted something more even.
Cherry blossoms in the forest.

Instead, I headed out on my favorite early season rides in the hills of Sebastopol.  In Strava, I named it the Hill Repeats without Repeating Hills ride.  This ride includes 8 climbs that are at least 1/2 mile or longer and gain over 100 feet.  In the end, it was 45 miles and 3,041 feet of climbing bliss.

Everything changed for me on this ride.  In addition to a great ride physically, it was also a great ride with regards to my motivation.  While it was still pretty damn cold when I rolled out (how about 41 degrees), spring is just starting show all of it’s glory, as you can see from the pictures, so I was treated to some beautiful scenery.  There’s just something about the combination of wild flowers in the fields and wood fires in the hearths that I find very appealing.

Wild flowers and a beautiful blue sky.
As the ride was winding down, I knew that I had chosen well.  As I rode, each climb became a little harder and each recovery was a little less effective.  I was really feeling tired on the last climb of the day, which is actually a good sign.  My motivation was back and I found myself once again loving the simple joy of riding my bike.  

As to the club ride, let’s just say I made the right call.  They rode 46 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing but, as expected, it was at a different pace.  While it took me nearly 3.5 hours to complete my 45 mile route they finished 46 miles in 2 hours and 40 minutes.  Oh yeah, I definitely made the right call.

Still, I did miss riding with my friends.  In April, we’ll go back to riding every Saturday so there’s plenty of time to ride, chat, laugh and maybe even trash talk just a bit.  Until then, I have the whole month of March to get ready.


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