Monday, April 16, 2007

To Mineral Wells and Back

I'm trying to get myself in good enough shape that the MS150 won't kill me. That ride will be a 2-day, 150 mile ride taking place the first weekend in May. The Ride for Heroes a few weeks back told me that I need to jack up the training regimen. With that in mind, I did a nice long ride yesterday afternoon. I parked my truck at a store off of I30 just outside Loop 820. I rode to the far side of Mineral Wells and back from there.

From where I parked, there are good access roads for the interstate all the way to Weatherford. Highway 180 goes from Weatherford to Mineral Wells and has nice, wide shoulders the whole way. The whole ride is about 80 miles round trip. The whole route is rolling hills with a few either very long or moderately steep hills along the way. As I've noted before, hills are not my friends. That being said, the outbound leg went pretty well and I averaged about 19 miles per hour. There was effectively no wind and I was fresh.

Just about the time I turned around, the wind kicked up to maybe 10 miles per hour. It wasn't much, but it was something else to contend with. The ride back just about killed me. By the time I was halfay back, I started wishing I had opted for a shorter route. I went so slow that my average speed had dropped to 17 miles per hour by the time I got back to my truck. While that ride may not have been one of my shing moments as a cyclist, I did at least get the miles under my belt.

Next weekend, we are going to West Texas for my niece's first birthday. I will take the bike along and get a good ride or two in while we are out there. The following weekend, I will be ride in the Muenster German Fest ride. It is about 60 miles through some fairly tough, hilly country. The weekend after that, I ride in the MS150. I think that I will have trained well enough to complete the ride without too much trouble.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ride For Heroes

Well, I partici;ated in my first group ride of the year. I had initially intended to run in the H.A.N.K. (Helping Another Next of Kin - a foundation whose purpose is to financially help the families of wounded or killed police officers in Tarrant County) 4 Mile Run this weekend. But, my bike wreck a few weeks back sort of set my knees back on the recovery schdule. I felt like I might complete the run, but would be in lots of pain.

So, at the last moment I signed up for the Ride For Heroes. This event is a fundraiser to help the volunteer fire departments of east Parker County. I thought that if I couldn't participate in an event for one good cause, I'd do another. Keith Hollar had really recommended this event and said that is well put together and worth doing. There are several courses you can choose from: 8, 20, 32, 40, 52, 64, and 75 miles. Being the stud athlete (if you can't tell, this is an example of that bit of nasty humor they call sarcasm) that I am, I rode the 75 mile course. Now bear in mind, I haven't ridden anything longer than 40-50 miles since October. And, I hadn't done those nearly often enough. But, "I can gut it out."

Well I finished, but "gut it out" is the right term. The ride was a lot hillier than I expected with a lot of long slopes. There was also a good bit of wind. Somewhere around mile 50 I started thinking, "I'm gonna have to call someone to come get me." I kept repeating the mantra, "Please don't cramp!" to my legs through a series of particularly nasty hills. At the 60 mile rest stop, I sat down for about 5-10 minutes and just chilled out. After that, I felt a lot better and finished up with a lot more speed and power than I thought I had left. This was a wakeup call. I am going to have to seriously get training before I do any competitive rides this year. I rode some this winter, but not nearly enough.

All that being said, I perversely enjoyed myself. As I've heard someone say, "A bad day on the bike is better than a good day in the office." Also, the ride was as well put together and organized as Keith had said.