Today was one of my "Short Days" for cycling - I've been trying to get into a regular riding schedule where I take it easy on Tuesdays and Thursdays and ride just 17 miles. (4.5 miles from my house out to Saguaro National Park, around the 8-mile loop, and 4.5 miles back home.) This has slowly become my "default ride," and I ride around the park often enough for the gate guards recognize me when I arrive. There were a few more cyclists on the road today, which was a nice change. Usually I seem to be riding alone, and that is due to the fact that I will start a ride when the temperature is well over 100 degrees, when most cyclists won't dare to ride. (Or maybe they're simply smart enough not to leave the house. Hmm.) That being said, the temperature was hovering around 100 degrees when I left home, so it was something of a surprise to see other cyclists on the road.
Today was my first day back on the bicycle after my 100K ride this past Saturday, which had depleted almost all of my energy for the rest of that day. With that in mind, I was a little nervous about how my legs would hold up during today's outing, and surprisingly I didn't seem to be suffering any lingering ill-effects from my self-imposed abuse the other day. That being said, as I was making my way around the park, I could tell that my pace was a little better than usual, so I decided to press a little harder when possible, and as a result I completed the 8-mile loop in 34:47, which beat my previous personal best by a little over 2 minutes. This also bumped me up to 4th place (out of 107 riders) on MapMyFitness for the Saguaro National Park loop. Of course, that statistic only accounts for the riders who bother to upload their times to MapMyFitness; I'm sure that there are plenty of better riders who don't upload their times. Still, it's nice to know that I'm riding faster than somebody, because I usually think that I'm riding pretty slowly as I slog my way up some of the bigger hills around the park.
But that being said, I always cycle around Saguaro National Park in the middle of my ride, whereas many cyclists drive to the park and simply ride around the 8-mile loop. I'd like to think that the people who are riding faster than me are also riding a few miles before and after their ride around the park, but I can never be sure. Still, my overall time for today's ride was 20 minutes faster than I did a month ago, so that's something for me to be happy about.
- Distance: 17.0 miles
- Duration: 1:10:30
- Average Speed: 14.5 mph
- Altitude Gain: 1,243 feet
- Calories Burned: 964 kcal