Ride Notes for August 9th, 2014

I took it somewhat easy today - Saturdays are supposed to be my long days, but I had a bunch of items on my "Honey Do" list that needed to be done, so I simply rode a metric half-century (50 kilometers / 31 miles). I might have considered adding Saguaro National Park to my ride in order to add another 8 miles to my distance, but I realized sometime after I left the house that I had left my annual pass for the park at home. Which is just as well, since I had told Kathleen that I was only riding 30 miles - from our house to Colossal Caves and back.

Overall the ride to Colossal Caves was not that bad; I've made the trek a few times, and I'm getting to know the road a little better. This means I'm learning when to push myself a little harder, and when I should reserve some energy for bigger obstacles in my future. For example, I know that the 15-mile journey from my house to Colossal Caves has a slight gain for the first 4.5 miles, then it's downhill for a few miles, then it's mostly flat for a few miles, and the final five miles are mostly uphill (with the worst near the end). All of the uphill & downhill parts of the trek remind me lyrics from the song "Spinning Wheel" from the late 1960s: "What goes up, must come down." Except it's the other way 'round: "What goes downhill, must go back uphill again." This is a sad reality of topography.


There was a bad headwind on my way back, and that undoubtedly added a few minutes to the ride, which was unfortunate because I was striving for an even two-hour ride for the 30-mile distance from my house to the caves and back, but I arrived home 8 minutes behind that schedule. Not for lack of trying, though. For example: a guy passed me around the 20-mile mark, but I was able to catch him over the next six miles as we got to the part of the ride which meanders uphill from Jeremy Wash. He turned off into Saguaro National Park as I continued homeward, so it's entirely possible that he was reserving his strength for the "Widow Maker" hill in Saguaro National Park around the 3.5-mile mark. I ran out of water when I was about 1.5 miles from my house, which wasn't too bad. I knew that I was close and I had a bottle of Gatorade waiting for me in the fridge, so I didn't attempt to hold anything in reserve.

I tried an experiment for today's ride: during my time in the military, I had something of a ritual on the days when I would to my long distance runs, (e.g. 10K races or half-marathons), where I would have scrambled eggs about an hour before the run, and I would take aspirin before I started the run. With that in mind, I tried something similar: I scrambled three eggs for breakfast and ate those about an hour before the ride, then I took a mixture of migraine medicines before heading out (aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen). I also had a package of Gu right before the ride, and I had another package at the 15-mile mark. In the end, I have no idea if any of this helped.

Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 31.1 miles
  • Start Time: 10:50am
  • Duration: 2:08:28
  • Average Speed: 14.5 mph
  • Peak Speed: 30.8 mph
  • Altitude Gain: 1,808 feet
  • Calories Burned: 1,764 kcal
  • Starting Temp: 90 degrees
  • Ending Temp: 94 degrees
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