Ride Notes for September 20th, 2014

Today's long ride was a mixture of good and bad. Here's the situation: I replaced the hybrid bike that I have been riding for the past year with a road bike, and I did two short rides earlier in the week to build up my confidence on the new bike. With that in mind, it seemed like I was confident enough to tackle a big ride, so I planned on a 60-mile ride of twice around the Pistol Hill Rode Loop (PHRL) and once around the Saguaro National Park (SNP). (Although I learned from a previous ride that it is better to go around PHRL, then go around SNP, then back around PHRL the second time. That way I don't have to face the big hills in SNP after having ridden 50 miles.)


The first pass around PHRL was not that bad; the new bike definitely helps with the hill climbing, and switching from toe clips to cleats has helped tremendously as well. (No more toe pain, and more climbing power.) In fact, I completed this 63-mile ride on my new road bike in 28 minutes less than my last ride on my hybrid bike.

However – not everything about this was great. My new cycling gloves were too small, so that put undo pressure on the skin in between my fingers, so my fingers were seriously hurting by the mid-way point. But even more alarming was the fact that the pinky fingers on each had were starting to go numb during the ride, which is a sure sign that something major is going wrong. This could have been caused by the too-small gloves, or my hand positioning on the handlebars (even though I changed positions a lot in order to avoid this scenario), or it could be that the road is quite bumpy and I am used to my hybrid which has front shocks and fatter tires to absorb more of the road jarring, or it could be that my bike was not set up correctly when I purchased it so I was leaning too far forward and thereby putting too much pressure on my hands. It could have been any one of those reasons, or all of them. In any event, my hands were a sorry combination of pain and numbness by the end of the ride.

[UPDATE on 09/23/2014: The pain and numbness has lasted for several days after the ride; no ETA on a cause or resolution as yet.]

Here are some other small notes from the ride:

I took a bit of a break about the mid-way point to have lunch at the hydration station near the entrance to SNP. Since I have been routinely burning off everything that I have eaten before my long rides, I brought a Clif bar with me to eat. (Clif bars hold up well to the abuse of being stuffed in a cycling bag.) While I was eating, two cyclists dropped by, and I knew one of them from having met him at this same spot during one of my earlier rides. The three of us chatted about cycling for a while, and the two of them tried to dissuade me from riding the PHRL since there are so many inattentive drivers hitting cyclists these days. I thanked them for their concern, but bad drivers are simply a fact of life these days and we can't hide from them.

Also, the Rincon Valley Farmer's Market was having their annual Chili Festival today, so that was a busy place. There are usually a couple dozen cars parked at the market as I ride by, but today there was closer to a hundred or so, with live music playing and the police slowing traffic at either end of the stretch of road where the market is located. It probably would have been great to have stopped and looked around, but I had too many miles to ride.

Ride Stats:

  • Primary Statistics:
    • Start Time: 9:37am
    • Distance: 63.3 miles
    • Duration: 4:10:55
    • Calories Burned: 2,024 kcal
    • Altitude Gain: 2,787 feet
  • Speed:
    • Average Speed: 15.1 mph
    • Peak Speed: 30.3 mph
    • Average Cadence: 54.0 rpm
  • Temperature:
    • Minimum: 69.8 F
    • Average: 82.6 F
    • Maximum: 91.4 F
  • Heart Rate:
    • Average: 144 bpm
    • Maximum: 171 bpm
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