After 104 Miles, 50 Are a Walk in the Park

Lois:  Have you designed any buildings in New York?

George Costanza:  Have you seen the new addition to the Guggenheim?

Lois:  You did that?

George Costanza: Yep. And it didn’t take very long either.

                                — Seinfeld, “The Race”

After last month’s personal best of 104 miles in one day, it turns out that going on a 50-mile social ride isn’t that exciting to do or write about.  The century ride took 10 hours, and it took a lot out of me at all levels.   I expected fatigue and a bit of a let-down emotionally, so I was glad for the break.  After two days completely off the bike both before and three days off after that 130-mile week, including the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, I still put together a decent 105 miles the next week, including the 50-miler.

This was with the Bike Austin group that rides on Sundays from The Peddler, and it was notable for four reasons:

1)  It was supposed to be a C-level ride, but the hammerheads made it a B-level.  Meaning it was faster than expected, average speeds on flats of up to 18 mph.  Eventually splitting up and settling down into two groups, I was happy to let up on the hammer and enjoy the round trip to exotic (or is it quixotic?) Manor, Texas.

2) It confirmed that although I’m no Speed Racer, I’m like LL Cool J if he were white, not cool, and rode a bike:   Too Legit to Quit.

3)  I passed 10 miles of elevation for the year, over 52,800 feet.  As Larry David would say, “Pretty, pretty, pretty good!”

4) Lastly, and bestly, I got to ride with someone I consider a bit of a mentor and coach.  We met at the Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer last fall, and she’s generously emailed me a lot of advice.  Some I’m trying to do.  Her biking name is Death Valley Beth, from when she used to do long rides… IN THE HOTTEST PLACE IN AMERICA!  How cool is that?  Very.  How about the fact that last month she won her age group in the Texas Senior Games 5K Time Trial, and came in 2nd in the 10K TT?  Cooler.  Her next challenge?  The Triple Bypass Ride in the Rocky Mountains, which is 120 miles and over 10,000 feet in one day.  Even more bad-assery.  See what I mean about meeting some awesome people while biking?

It was grey and not great for photos, but enjoy these shots from the ride.

Peddler to Manor 1
Riders on the storm.

Peddler to Manor 3

Amy and Tom, daughter and father
A Dude and Death Valley Beth

Gettin’ Bloggy Wid It… Well, Not So Much

Back to my story:  After biking 1,900 miles from January to April, the other clip-in, very worn, Pearl Izumi mountain bike shoe dropped.  First let me say to the faithful readers of my blog — all three of you (well, it’s more than three) — thanks!  You and decent number of visitors (I know you’re out there, lurking and looking, sometimes emailing me nice comments, but not subscribing) may be wondering, why is A Dude not getting’ bloggy wid it very often?  Well, Will Smith fans, I will tell you.  The short answer is, well, there are only three of you.  That’s in addition to me, who is my prime audience.  But it’s not like the internet is begging for another blog about some dude riding his bike.

I began this blog when I realized that after about 3,000 miles or more last year, roughly figured by Google Maps, I could probably take it to the next level of 4,000 miles.  Currently, I’m on track to reach 5,000.  That should give me plenty of stories to blog about, right?  Yes.  But the time it takes to think about, compose, put in photos, links and awesome Seinfeld quotes, plus edit them into something half-way decent is time I don’t have.  There is the huge time suck that I have to spend at the J-O-B, and then washing my skivvies, watching my stories — getting through the day like everyone else — precious time I’d rather spend on a bike instead of in front of a computer.  Same reason I’m not on Facey Spacey (yet).

T.O.T.S. — T.ime O.ff T.he S.addle

“Try to cross things off your bucket list without kicking said bucket.”  –A Dude Abikes

But after the century, riding had lost some of its allure.  I mean, how do you top 100 miles in one day?  So I began to enjoy my rest days even more.   I found I could read a book, watch some TV, see a movie with a friend:   things I was missing while biking 100 miles a week.  At an average of 10 miles an hour with breaks, well, you do the math.  I remembered what Bryce, another of my informal coaches who’s kind enough to dispense some email advice on occasion, once said.  He’s been through some pretty bad crashes, but recovered and got back on the bike.  When I shared that I was questioning myself as to why I was doing all these miles, he said, “If you feel like you’re burning out or the injuries are piling up, just take a couple of weeks off. If you still want to ride after, then that’s what you want to do.”

So, with some new aches and pains, I decided to do just that, though for just a week.  Later today, I hope to join Bryce at the Ride of Silence, for which he is the Austin organizer.  It’s an international event that is a slow and yes totally non-verbal ride to honor those cyclists killed or injured by cars.  He’s also a board member of Please BE KIND to Cyclists, a “non-profit organization committed to raising awareness and increasing the harmony and tolerance between drivers and cyclists.”  They spread the message of “share the road” mostly through educational efforts, which makes me smile and feel a little bit safer every time I see one.  Bryce has also donated to a couple of my bike rides, making him even cooler.

Back in the Saddle Again, Hopefully

So tonight if the rain allows, I’ll try out my spiffy new Selle Royal Respiro bike seat with ventilation system and sun reflective special cool cover (used for German luxury auto steering wheels, Mike at the bike shop at Sun & Ski told me).  We’ll see how the body is doing, and reacts to biking after a break.  As for blogging, I want to follow the advice of Austin-Peruvian by way of Miami author of Chasing the Sun, Natalia Sylvester, who told me the first time I went to the One Page Salon:  write a little bit, often.   I seem to be more of an essay guy, but I think that’s a good goal.  Here’s hoping my return and goes well.  Like a walk in the park.

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