Ride Notes for September 13th, 2014

Saturdays are one of my normal long rides, and in keeping with that tradition I rode 63.3 miles, or 101.9 kilometers. This was my second or third time riding more than 60 miles within the past year, although I was in better shape on this ride than my last. That being said, today's ride was a little slower than normal for me; my average mph and cadence were both less than normal, although I'm not sure why.

2014-09-13

I had planned on riding a double pass around the Pistol Hill Road loop, which would give me somewhere over 50 miles, but here's the way that everything actually panned out: I completed my first pass around the loop, and I made my obligatory stop and the hydration station near the entrance to Saguaro National Park. (By this time I had ridden a little over 27 miles.) While I was refilling my water bottles, I was contemplating whether I should ride the 8-mile loop around the park after my second pass of the Pistol Hill Road loop, but I hate doing that because my legs are pretty tired after 45 or 50 miles and I don't like facing the big hill on the back side of the park when I'm in that condition. Then I had an epiphany: "Why don't I ride around the park now and then make my second pass around the Pistol Hill Road loop?" This seemed like a good idea, and I was in considerably better condition for the park loop, but the long 7-mile ride to the summit on Pistol Hill Road was a pain.

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Riding around Saguaro National Park

The temperature was pretty nice for today's ride. I have done several rides in 100F+ temperatures, so it was nice to have a ride that stayed around the mid-80s. That being said, for some inexplicable reason the temperature spiked all the way to 98.6 while I was riding around Saguaro National Park, which made the loop a little miserable at times. However, the temperature dropped back down to 90 degrees by the time I left the park.

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"Javelina Rocks" – Not the scene of the famous Star Trek
Gorn battle, but it would be a good substitute.

Something weird happened on my way around the Saguaro National Park loop – I inhaled a bug. That might seem kind of funny in hindsight, but believe me – it was no fun at the time. I was coughing violently for at least a mile, and at several random intervals my condition triggered my gag reflex and I thought that I was going to choke. The thought running through my mind at the time was, "Oh great – I'm in the middle of nowhere and there's no one to do the Heimlich Maneuver for me." Eventually I simply screamed at the top of my lungs for several seconds and that seemed to clear my airway, but that was a terrible experience which I hope not to repeat.

My feet have really been hurting on my long rides, right around the ball of each foot. I have long known that switching to cleats instead of using toe clips would help alleviate that problem, but today perfectly illustrated why. Sometime around the 20-mile point my feet began to hurt – as they normally do – but as I thought about where they were hurting exactly and how they were bending on the pedals it dawned on me that the toe clips were forcing my feet to bend in a way that was unnatural, so I flipped both pedals over and rode the next 40 miles with relatively little pain. (The toe clips will be gone soon.)

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Panorama from the high point on Pistol Hill Road.

Today was also an eye-opener with regard to keeping my electrolytes in balance and my energy up. I carb-loaded before the ride on ¾ of a waffle, and I carried plenty of Gatorade & PowerAde as well as several packets of Gu for the ride. It is suggested that cyclists ingest a packet of Gu about every 45 minutes or so, although I usually don't that often. I had a packet around the 15-mile mark, and another around the 27-mile mark, but sometime around the 42-mile mark I realized that my body had already burned off everything that I had consumed that day and my strength was starting to fade. I quickly downed another packet of Gu, and within a mile or so I had recovered.

On a related note, I weighed myself right before I started the ride and immediately after I returned, and despite consuming ¾ of a gallon of water during today's ride, I lost three pounds by the time I was done. (Of course, I put on at least a pound or two after I got home and drank another quart of Gatorade.)

One final thought – I was wearing another new Microsoft cycling jersey today. I felt a little conspicuous while wearing this particular shirt, as though Microsoft was some sort of corporate sponsor for me. (That being said, Microsoft actually bought the bicycle that I was riding as part of their "Stay Fit" program, so I guess they kind of are a sponsor.)

atac-microsoft-jersey

Ride Stats:

  • Primary Statistics:
    • Start Time: 10:24am
    • Distance: 63.3 miles
    • Duration: 4:38:16
    • Calories Burned: 2,079 kcal
    • Altitude Gain: 2,786 feet
  • Speed:
    • Average Speed: 13.6 mph
    • Peak Speed: 29.5 mph
  • Temperature:
    • Minimum: 80.6 F
    • Average: 88.4 F
    • Maximum: 98.6 F
  • Heart Rate:
    • Average: 143 bpm
    • Maximum: 167 bpm
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