Saturday, September 17, 2011

Long bike - why so slow?

So today turned out a little different than I expected.  It started out really drizzly and cloudy.  I sat in a mist/sprinkle with a pretty cold breeze watching my son's first tackle football game this morning.  As we drove home, the rain seemed to increase.  I thought "There went my plan for an afternoon bike ride."  But like they say "If you don't like the weather in Missouri, just way a few hours."  The clouds remained, but by late afternoon, the rain appeared to be gone.  I haven't rode much in cool weather yet so I wasn't exactly sure what to wear.  It was 59° and still pretty "wet" so I opted to pull my black capris (bday gift) over my bike shorts, leave on my long sleeve tee and pull on my husband's red sweatshirt over that.  He told me I'd be hot 2 miles in and he was generally correct, but not crazy hot - but duly noting it for next time.

I wanted a "long ride", but didn't want to worry about cars so I opted to head towards my "normal" route in the industrial area near my house.  I just decided I'd add whatever extra loops and stubs to make it "long".  I also wanted to push my speed a little more so I really tried to focus on peddling at a higher cadence in harder gears.  I felt like I was going faster than normal.  I only dropped into easier gears to get up the hills (3).  Home to Militia, back to loop around Scholastic, back to Militia (and up to the interchange - first hill to kick my butt), back to Shamrock (up to quarry road), back around Scholastic and up to the interchange again, back to the quarry road and one last Scholastic loop before heading up Algoa (last and longest hill), into Wakoda and back home.  I was feeling like a rock star and curious to figure out how long it took me (no watch - another issue) and how far I went.

Map My Ride says it was about 16.3 miles, but the climbing isn't right because they don't recognize the interchange (it is comparatively new) in their topography.  I was disappointed to see it took me about 1:26 - avg pace just over 11 mph.  WTF?  I felt like I was pushing the speed as much as I could and was sure with all that time in basically flat terrain I'd do better.  I only stopped for like 10 seconds to stretch my right hip (cramping) just before finishing the last hill.  I only drank when I was going downhill and still peddling.  I'm annoyed.  I know my bike is part of the issue, but really?  Is 11-12 mph the top speed for it?  UGH!

I stretched a little when I got home, but obviously not enough as I started to tighten up while at the computer mapping the ride.  Holy cow was the soreness coming on strong.  So I went outside to walk it off (kids and husband were outside anyway).  Will definitely feel this one tonight/tomorrow.  Will pop a couple ibuprofen before bed. 

Will probably try to do some kind of benchmark ride early next week to better track progress.  I know that 16 miles used to scare the living crap out of me so I guess I should be happy that it doesn't so much anymore.  Will try running/walking again tomorrow evening.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! You have lit a fire, I'm writing the first installment of my IMWI race report right now. Just wanted to say it's normal to be a little slower when you're new to climbing. I love your bio because I talked my sister into doing a tri as well and we raced together in August this year! It was incredible. She recently did a really hard, hilly ride and texted me that she had to walk up a hill. I told her I used to always walk up this one big hill on my usual route or I'd pull into someone's driveway to catch my breath, then ride on. It was a year before I could ride that hill straight through and another year before I could ride it comfortably. Now it doesn't even seem that bad! It gets easier. You're doing great!

  2. Oh, and another thing. If you don't have a foam roller buy one. It hurts like hell but does so much more than stretching, I would have seized up without mine.

  3. LOL... sounds like every ride I go on... I have the illusion of speed and the reality of none :P

    But you did it!

  4. Foam roller is great! The Stick is really good too.

    Rides always seem slow at first. I'd suggest separating the two things you tried - pedaling fast, and pedaling in a harder gear. For a new cyclist training your feet to go round and round instead of up and down is really really important. It's much harder than it looks. Next, training them to do that at somewhere around 85 rpm. That's the suggested cadence for several reasons, but as you get more experience you'll find one that works for you. While you're working on cadence be in whatever gear that lets you maintain that rpm, uphill or down. There is a place for bigger gear work, but it's something to be approached cautiously.

  5. I am new to your blog, I dont know what type of bike you have, but cycling is extremely frustrating. Hilly courses will be alot slower then flat ones. Cadence is such a personal thing, some like to spin fast, some like to grind out a large gear with a lower cadence (thats me) The best way to get better is to bike alot, you will get there, it just takes time