Thursday, May 03, 2007

Humble Ride

I went for a ride today, pushing myself hard. At the end, I was slowly catching up with a guy, except that he looked like he was barely trying and I was pushing hard, breathing that hard rhythmical way, red-faced, mouth hanging open, nose dripping, you get the picture. He looked back at me once or twice as I gained on him up the trail. But then I finished my 16 miles and slowed way down to cool off for the last little bit and he pulled quickly away.

Pushing hard, I did 16 miles in 1:00:27. That's only 27 seconds off my 16 miles an hour for an hour goal. I wanted to make excuses: if only those guys running three abreast hadn't made me slow down; if only the guy with the little dog hadn't made me slow down, blah blah. In truth, if only I were in a bit better shape and/or pushed a harder.

It's humbling to realize, though, that there are people who can RUN a mile that fast. Yes, I could ALMOST be a pace bike for a runner. Okay, so people don't run that fast for an hour, but still, they RUN. (The best male marathoners, from what I can figure, go from 12-13 mph. HOLY COW, they run for HOURS, FAST!)

Real bikers, I gather, ride into the mid-20s over distances. Pro bikers go WAY faster. I don't think they have anything to worry about from me.

On the other hand, I saw a buteo hawk today (a red-tail, I'd guess). And I had a really nice time out in the sunshine.

When I first started trying to keep track of my times and distance to get an idea of my fitness, my big goal was 15 mph for an hour. Adding one mph seems pretty minimal, doesn't it? Oh, well.


  1. I'm highly impressed! That seems fast to me, but then I'm no biker. Perhaps if you were going faster, though, you wouldn't have seen the buteo hawk!

    Happy biking!

  2. I'm not up on biking paces, but adding 1 mph for an hour doesn't seem at all trivial.... sounds like you have a great trail too.

  3. That time sounds great to me. I regularly do rides in the winter where I average 14 mph and by the summer I'm riding about 15-17 mph. Using I can keep track of my yearly average, which ends up being between 15 and 16 mph. Now that's on hilly roads which makes a difference, but still, I consider your pace very good. In races I ride in the low to mid 20s, but riding in a pack of other fast-moving people is a completely different thing than riding by myself.

    So I think you should be very pleased with yourself!

  4. The goal of fitness should be to improve your performance incrementally. And you have been doing great at getting active, staying active and becoming a healthier Bardiac. I remember when hitting "num lock" was exercise.

  5. Medeival Woman, Right! I like to claim that my bike riding career would be great if only I didn't stop to look at the birds. :)

    Kermit, Adding a mph isn't being trivial at all for me! And you're right; we're incredibly lucky to have some great trails in this area, not only well made and such, but along superbly beautiful rivers.

    Dorothy, Thanks for the encouragement! I've practiced a little on some local hills (not part of the trail), so I get a little variety. I've never ridden in a pack, or done the drafting thing or anything. Scary! (I have ridden in just plain bicycle traffic commuting, but that's not the same at all.

    Christine, You totally cracked me up! I could never do the num lock thing because of the laptop. But I wonder, haste or sow? Alic or Aq as a more useful aid for biking? (Okay, imagining either on a bike...) Come visit and we'll have fun!