I have written in the past that I have two goals for my regular Tuesday/Thursday 17-mile route from my house through Saguaro National Park and home; these are:
- To complete the full course in less than an hour
- To complete the 8-mile loop around Saguaro National Park in less than a half-hour
As of today, one of those goals has been accomplished, and the other was very close.
Earlier in the day I took my bicycle to Sabino Cycles for a new fitting, and after spending a little over an hour working with Jason at the shop, I had a readjusted bicycle and some good riding tips for me to work on during my next rides. (Note: I wanted a new fitting because my hands are still growing numb during my longer rides, which is very troubling, to say the least.) To counter the physical problems that I have been seeing, Jason adjusted my saddle and cleats, and he replaced the stem with a new one.
Once we were done, Jason recommended that I try out the fitting for at least 10 rides before following up with him. With that in mind, I made sure to do my usual 17-mile ride today, but I'll need to complete several more rides before I pass judgment on how the new fit is working out for me.
I rode my usual route, but I tried an experiment that other cyclists have been mentioning; instead of trying to keep my mph above a certain level and trying to keep from downshifting from my top-most chain ring, I tried to keep my cadence rpm above 80 for the entire ride, regardless of the mph and the gear. This may have been the cause for my completing the Saguaro National Park loop in 29:46, which was 19 seconds faster than my previous personal best. (Note that I completed the entire ride in 1:00:25, which is a few seconds faster than my previous personal best of 1:00:33.) That being said, I was breathing quite hard as I rode through the most-difficult section of Riparian Ridge because I was pedaling faster than normal due to being in my bicycle's lowest gear.
There were a few cars in the park today, and as usual I had to pass a lot of them on my way around the park. Cars have a 15 mph speed limit – and I don't – so I tend to pass a lot of cars. However, it is incredibly frustrating when vehicles stop in the middle of the road to take photos, because this gives me almost no room to pass on the narrow, one-way road which winds through the park. Although, as I rode up the three hills which I refer to as the "Three Sisters," an SUV came up behind me. This isn't surprising since I am typically riding slower than the speed limit while climbing hills. However, what was troubling was that he was tailgating me quite dangerously, and even though I pulled to the side to let him pass, he did not choose to to so. Eventually he had to stop for a motorist who had stopped their car in the middle of the road, so I lost him.
Once I completed my loop around the park, I hopped on Old Spanish Trail for the ride home. I was losing daylight rapidly since the sun sets by 5:30pm these days, but I managed to make it home just as the sun dropped behind the Tucson Mountains and darkness began to dominate the landscape around me.
Cycling Life Lessons:
One of the tips that I picked up was based on my admission that I've been very close to bonking on my last few long rides, (see the Life Lessons section of my previous blog for more information). With that in mind, Jason at Sabino Cycles recommended picking up some carb-loading drink mix for my rides, so I'll be filling up on carbs as I drink. If I combine that with Gu packets and Clif bars, I should (hopefully) put an end to the low-energy situations that I have run into.
- Primary Statistics:
- Start Time: 4:37pm
- Distance: 16.9 miles
- Duration: 1:00:25
- Calories Burned: 675 kcal
- Altitude Gain: 822 feet
- Average Speed: 16.7 mph
- Peak Speed: 31.7 mph
- Average Cadence: 75.0 rpm
- Average: 68.1 F
- Minimum: 66.2 F
- Maximum: 73.4 F
- Heart Rate:
- Average: 159 bpm
- Maximum: 177 bpm