First off, autumn has officially arrived in central Missouri. Not just by the calendar (which has been known to tease us), but with the weather too. The "cool" in this post title was as in temperatures - not as in "awesome". Alarm went off at 6:15 (on new sports watch - thank you walmart for being so ridiculously cheap) and it was still dark so I thought I'd sleep a little longer. Umm..nope..it went off again 5 min later because I failed to read the instructions on how to turn it off. So I got up and dressed and ready to go out the door as my family continued to snooze. I left as the sun was just starting to ooze oranges, reds and purples over the horizon. I failed to look at the temps, but forecast was for mid-40's at sunrise and I'm guessing it was pretty close. When I got home 1.5 hours later, it was mid-50's. So what I really want to know is: Do they make bike helmets with those fuzzy little ear flaps your child's winter hat has? What am I going to do when it is actually cold?
As for the "long", I headed across town on what is one of my longest non-looped routes. I made minor modifications to the version of this ride I did in August, but it is generally a little over 15 miles. No dropping of the chain this time, but did have to push the hill by the cemetery again (along with a very short section of High Street after the rock cut and part of Landwehr Lane). I know for more experienced athletes, 15 miles is a warm up, but it is still a helluva workout for me! I try to remember that 5 flat miles completely gassed me only 6 months ago.
Which brings me to the "easy?" - I really tried to focus on not fretting about speed and just keep going. I've come to the realization that I'm not sure a 100% easy ride is possible in Jefferson City because of our hills (or what to me are hills). I go from easy (enough to "break into song") on the flats to OMG I'M GONNA DIE hard on the hills. My lungs burn as I continue to gear down and try to avoid getting off the bike. I also haven't really mastered the coordination of standing and pedaling. I did better at it today on my first big hill, but it is still a challenge. So I guess we'll call this an easy ride. I definitly didn't break any land speed records, but I got through it. Average speed (including the walking) = 9.3 mph.
And as an odd side note, I need to check if it is squirrel mating season or something. I swear I rode past like 3 dead squirrels and nearly hit a few more. I don't remember hardly ever seeing any (much less the heavy road kill) on previous rides. The weird things I notice and think about on a long ride.
Last night was PAL (5-8th grade Parochial Athletic League) night at the Helias football game where my son got to walk out on the field in his jersey and this morning was a heartbreaking lost of the "purple" team to the "navy" team. The cool weather definitely made it feel like football and fall. Now the kiddos are going camping with their dad (cub scout pack event). I'm sitting here trying to decide between calling some friends for a girls night out and just enjoying the peace and quiet alone at home. :) Either way makes for a happy mom! Tomorrow morning we'll go to mass and the rest of the day is kind of up in the air. I'm hoping to do some walk/jog miles at some point.