Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Yesterday I knew I should have gotten up early and gone for a bike ride, but I was hoping that the rain would stay away after work and I'd be able to get a ride in. Of course, when I left work, it was pouring. I walked over to the library and after leaving the library, I couldn't even face walking home so I took the subway. I really can't believe that I took the "easy" way out. In self defense, I will mention that I was wearing horrible shoes for the rain and each step was making my foot slide around in my shoes and the thought of walking home like that was unbearable. Needless to say, once I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was go back outside. So, I took the day off.

Well, not completely. I did spend part of my TV watching evening on my bike practicing clipping in and out with my new shoes. I was still not finding it easy to find the right spot on the left shoe, but I was hopeful that the practice would be helpful in real life.

This morning, rain once again foiled my biking plans! However, I was really optimistic because 1010 WINS AccuWeather 4-Day Forecast said that the rain would stop late morning and not start up again until midnight tonight. When I left work, everything was looking good. It was really cloudy, but I was still very hopeful. I got home, changed really quickly, and headed out. I hadn't even gotten my bike to the street before I felt the first drop. I hesitated for a few seconds and realized that even if I got wet, I'd still be happier riding my actual bike than I would be at the gym riding the stationary bike.

I decided to go back and try out the Westside route again along the river. I had really enjoyed running there on Tuesday and wanted to go back again. When I got to what I had thought was the end of the path the last time I went biking there, I realized that since it was 6:30, there would be a lot more traffic than there was the last time I went biking on that path. I wasn't 100% sure I was up for all the traffic involved.

I decided to just go back the way I came. However, when I was heading back, I noticed some people coming from another path that I hadn't seen before. Boy, that was like hitting the lottery. That path was awesome! It goes right along the river and is really quiet without a lot of other biking/pedestrian traffic. I'm so glad I found that path. I rode on that until about 135th Street, where the path then seems to maybe go under some sort of overpass and I wasn't quite sure where to go. As luck would have it, it started sprinkling significantly harder just then (it had previously been just lightly sprinkling the whole time). I decided that was a sign that I should just go ahead and turn around and head home.

As soon as the rain picked up, the wind did too. Being right next to the river is lovely scenery, but also makes the wind even stronger. I felt like pedaling home wasn't going to be easy. And I was right about that. Luckily, even though the heavier sprinkles stuck around I didn't get wet enough to be upset or unhappy about it. Just enough to realize that I didn't particularly like it. I would definitely want to check out the rest of this new path when the weather is a little bit nicer.

These are the stats for today's ride:

Getting there: 0.64 miles / 5:00 (7.68 MPH average)
The ride: 9.0 miles / 41:43 (12.36 MPH average)
Getting home: 0.61 miles / 5:00 (7.32 MPH average)

Total distance: 10.25 miles / 51:43 minutes (11.89 MPH average)

Am I ever going to get faster? I may have to do some sort of research on this. My cadence is now definitely comfortable in the 95 range and sometimes even up in the 100s although I try to downshift to get it back in the 90s. My new shoes are really nice. I really like that my feet aren't flopping about in the cages anymore and I think it's making me get the higher cadence with less effort. I think that last night's practice of clipping in and out definitely helped because today I really only had one moment where I had a little trouble with my left foot clipping in and it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been before. Of course, I also had the opposite problem where I was at the end of my street, going against traffic and my foot kept clipping in when I was trying to squeeze by the cars going very slowly ... I kept having to unclip it. I am glad to know that practice will make it better.

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