Monday night I missed the group ride due to working. I was pretty disappointed, but there wasn't anything I could do. The first weeks of Fill Creative are going really well! We have so much to do still.
I had to get in a ride Tuesday. I moved it up on the priority list because of the duathlon Saturday. I wanted to go in the afternoon, but I didn't get out the door until 5:30. Still plenty of time to get in the miles before dark, thanks to the lengthening days.
My plan was to go 30 miles. I changed clothes, let Christen laugh at my outfit (I came back to our room after changing into my bike shorts and tank jersey with heels on because I didn't want to walk barefoot through the hallway) and headed out the door. The entire day had been so exhausting. We both had frustrating mornings full of small but annoying problems. We spent an hour meeting with an accountant learning of where else we are going to have to put our money and adding to the long list of things we have to do yet. The afternoon wasn't any smoother as our still-to-be-solved technology problems popped up left and right. Email wasn't working, it seemed like everything we worked on required one of us to transfer files on a jump drive because we don't have our high speed internet set up yet nor same versions of programs, etc etc. I was extremely in need of this bike ride!
Bad tech woes followed me to my bike. I zeroed my computer and started out on the road to get to the trail but nothing was moving. No speed, no time, everything just stayed at zero. Once on the trail, I pulled over and fiddled with it. I toggled through all of the settings I know but just couldn't get it to respond. I had wanted to pay close attention to my speed and effort on this ride so I could gauge how I can do on Saturday. But that wasn't going to happen without the computer working. I was upset, but nothing I could do about it. Turns out the battery in the part that is on the wheel is probably dead. The only thing I could do was look at the clock on my handlebars and a mile marker and figure it all out later. I started at 5:40...or was it 5:41...no wait it was mile 41? And 5:38? Crap. I couldn't remember as I pedaled along. But I had decided I'd go up to the 25 mile marker and turn around to make it 30 miles.
Some parts of the trail make me feel like I'm somewhere else, not Ohio. There are a few stints of very lush areas along the sides of trail, and the land drops off towards the river to a flat marshy looking area in the shade. There were some cool patches of air that felt like someone was blasting A/C in my direction. Then 2 seconds later it would be gone.
I cruised along, avoiding sticks, wondering if I'd get a flat. I knew I probably wouldn't but I couldn't help be a little worried about it. Occasionally I came upon white, cottonball looking debris strewn all over the trail, as if there had been a fluffy white animal massacre. But I think it was just an explosion of some sort of cotton-like pollen.
This ride had its fair share of woodland creature sightings. I startled a deer about 10 feet from the trail. It is amazing how difficult they are to see in the shaded areas of the woods. I almost hit a chipmunk. I think this is the closest I've come to hitting an animal while biking (aside from the already dead snake). It was literally within a foot of my wheel. I made a weird a little yelp and cringed, waiting for the squish. But luckily it scampered quickly enough and I missed it. I also saw some sort of pheasant/turkey bird strut across the trail off in the distance. When I passed it, I could only see its grayish-brown feathery head.
I got to the 25 mile marker, stopped and took my gel out of my back jersey pocket. It was a new kind I've never had: Gu Roctaine. Blueberry Pomegranate! It wasn't bad. I drank some water and noticed a bunch of small black dots all over my chest. And most of them were moving. I had collected a lot of bugs down my shirt and sports bra - ew. I had to pull my shirt up and brush them off my sweaty chest (ew again) and shake out my jersey and bra best I could. It was really rather gross, and I knew I would get it all again on the way back. I also figured there must be an equal amount in my hair that got through the helmet vents.
I couldn't remember the time I had began anymore, so I wasn't sure how fast the trip out had been. But I decided I needed to up it going back. I hadn't gotten winded or felt much burn in my legs yet. So I checked the clock and made a mental note: 6:48, let's hope I can remember it. I alternated pushing hard for 3 or 4 minutes then taking some time to not go so fast, while also alternating my position on my handlebars. I haven't spent much time in the down position and I'm trying to get my back and neck used to it.
Once I got my speed up, it was pretty easy to stay there, so I just started alternating handlebar positions and enjoying the cruise back. I never all-out sprinted, but felt that I had pretty good power. Just north of Morrow, I passed a soccer field filled with little kids running around in a game. I heard yells of encouragement and looked over to see the blue and yellow clad players. The field was far away from the trail, so to me they looked like blue and yellow balls bouncing randomly on the field. I began to see more cyclists and had fun picking off a few. The energy I gained from seeing other people out there made me think I could possibly have a pretty decent bike time on Saturday.
Soon I was past the Monkey Bar and close to Loveland...but I rolled over the 40 mile marker. Hmmm, I thought that was where I started. Guess not. So I kept ticking away the miles and the starting mile marker ended up being 41.5. So 16.5 miles for one way, 33 total. And I ended right at 7:48, so I averaged 16.5 mph, at least for the way back. Easy math, even for me.
There was another large collection of small gnats in my jersey that I cleaned up when I finally stopped. When I got home my legs were really in pain. Then, like always, the pain completely went away. My knees ache today though.
33 miles is officially the farthest ride I've done by myself.