Saturday, April 28, 2007

Beautiful Weather = Good day for a ride

Spring has made a triumphant return to the Front Range, and it has been quite welcome. After rain/snow fell for a couple days earlier this week, the weather has turned back to incredible and I took advantage of it today.

Jill headed to the movies to see Fracture with Sarah & Kim Turner, so I headed out on Ruby for a longer ride. During the week I routinely get in 20 - 30 mile rides, but I haven't really been putting in the long, hard days that I need so I can determine where I am in my endurance fitness. With high temps in the upper 70s, I deemed to day a perfect day to test my legs out a bit.

When I left I was planning on riding at least 50 miles, with the possibility of putting in a century ride if I was feeling up to it. Given the ramp up in mileage, I wanted to keep the climbing manageable, so I started my ride by heading towards Boulder. The ride is a gradual climb into Boulder, then gets steeper as you start nearing the foothills. I forced myself to really keep the pace low to ensure my heart rate stayed in the Zone 2 - 3 range as to not burn myself up too early.

The other thing I needed to focus on today was eating. I really tend to fall apart around the 2 hour mark if I'm not taking in some food, so today I ensured I was eating and drinking even when I didn't feel I needed it. So on today's menu was Jelly Belly Sport Beans and Clif Bar Shot Blocks.

An hour into the ride I was in Boulder and turning north onto Highway 36. The second hour clicked away and before I knew it I was heading into Lyons to do the "Fruit Loops". The Fruit Loops are just a series of side road detours that are cyclist friendly and actually pretty scenic.

I pounded out two of the fruit loops, then stopped by and said hi to Dave at Redstone Cyclery. Busy day for Dave, people all over the shop and standing outside. I grabbed a bit of water and then hit up the last of the Fruit Loops. As I was finishing the 3rd Fruit Loop, I heard the cell phone ringing. I checked the voice mail and it was Jill inviting me to dinner with her and the girls.

Hmmmmmm.....Ride another 30 miles or go eat dinner with three girls.

Easy decision.

I stopped long enough to grab a Gatorade, and then started heading home on the gradual downhill on Highway 66. For the first time all day, I let my heart rate escalate a bit as the end was in sight. True I wouldn't end up getting in really big mileage, but it was good enough for me today. My legs actually felt pretty good considering I had just put 60 miles and almost 3.5 hours of ride time in so I feel pretty confident in where my fitness is right now.

Almost 60 miles, nearly 3.5 hours ride time for about a 16.5 mph average. Not fast, but I was purposely keeping my speed in check to save for the 100 mile attempt if time permitted. Total elevation gain was around 2,500 feet, which as a total is a month best but the elevation per mile wasn't there today.

Weather looks great for the next 4 or 5 days, so I expect to pound out some good mileage.

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