Monday, May 30, 2011

Training Ride - Morgan Monroe State Forest

Happy Memorial Day and Happy Anniversary for me and Seth!

I decided I needed to do some longer rides before embarking on the MRT tour. So I mapped out a 50-mile loop to do today. Here is a link to the planned route. Probably needless to say, I took a more scenic route. Here is a link to what I actually rode. You may notice this is not actually a loop! I had to call in Seth to pick me up! I'll get to the details after the numbers (which include the three mile hike, more on that below too):

Time: 4:31:53

Distance: 52.224 miles

Average Speed: 11.5 mph

Max Speed: 46.2 mph

Calories Burned: 1826.8

Fat Burned: 180.4 g

So the ride was actually mostly nice. I really enjoyed most of it.

I left my house and headed to Bloomington Bagel Company for breakfast.

I headed north through Cascade Park and messed up some directions. No worries there though. It's kind of a weird little intersection and I got turned around soon enough. Although I did have to take an unplanned detour up the Tibetan Buddhist Temple hill. Unlike last time, I made it up it easily. I thought about taking a picture of the temple, but decided just to go up the hill. Next time. :)

I continued up Kinser Pike and saw more of those fields of yellow flowers. A creek ran along the other side of the road.

I also saw lots of cows.

I stopped briefly at Musgrave Orchard for some pictures. I love their cider in the fall.

I went up a hill with a lake next to it and thought about taking a picture, but once again decided to just tackle the hill. I made it up it, went back down it, and then climbed to the entrance of Morgan Monroe State Forest. I stopped to take a picture of the entrance sign... and realized I'd left my camera back at the orchard! So I just pretended like I meant to do some "hill repeats" and luckily retrieved my camera at the orchard. I stopped to take a picture of the lake the second time. And learned that I should stop to take pictures the first time! I could have avoided some hills!

This is where the story goes downhill, figuratively speaking. I had mapped out the route to see as much of the state forest as I could. However, I should have just followed the sign once I got there because the roads I picked were not good roads and it should have been obvious since all state-foresty things pointed right, but my route went left. I followed my route anyway. It was nice for a while, but then it got to a fork, unmarked, with the right direction being gravel. I didn't want to ride on gravel, so I kept going on my paved road assuming I just hadn't reached my turn yet. I made it all the way to a T intersection with a road that I wasn't supposed to turn onto and, in fact, was too far north to even be on my map! So I asked a man doing some yardwork how to get where I was trying to go and it turned out that the gravel fork was where I was supposed to go. He said it was only about a mile or so of gravel so I figured I'd make it. So I backtracked and took the fork.

Holy uphill gravel roads, Batman!

I've been reading a lot of crazyguyonabike journals lately, and one of the authors said that non-cyclists have no clue how far things actually are. I'm inclined to believe him, because it turns out that the "one-mile" gravel road was actually three miles. And it was completely unrideable. So I had a little three mile hike when I really wanted to be eating lunch. I did eventually make it back to nice paved roads, but I was way behind schedule.

I ended up eating lunch in the campground instead of by the lake as planned. I didn't stay too long because I was swarmed by bugs.

And I finally got on the road again about 3:00 pm. Once I got out of the park, I was on an open road with no shade and it was hot! When I got home, listed it at 93*F. Then a 10-15 mph headwind picked up. It was all I could do to cruise at 10 mph on a flat road. I only made it to 14 mph going downhill! I took a little rest at a church then continued onward. I only made it to the Bloomington Firehouse before I had to call it quits. I just didn't think I could make it the ten miles or so back to my house. Plus I didn't even want to think about the hill on Dunn St!

heat + hills + headwind = HARD!

Lucky for me, Seth came and picked me up. I don't feel too bad about quitting. I went further than anticipated and did quite well all things considered. I'm pretty confident that I'll be fine on the MRT trip in three weeks. And, really, until the gravel roads, it was really a great ride. I'll probably try it again, but follow the signs instead. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Annual Lake Lemon Picnic

Every Memorial Day weekend, my church has a picnic out at Lake Lemon. This year I rode my bike up there with two of the women going on the MRT trip. Here's the numbers:

Time: 2:12:01

Distance: 28.882 miles

Average Speed: 13.1 mph

Max Speed: 32.6 mph

Calories Burned: 982.9

Fat Burned: 106.5 g

We actually averaged 15 mph on the way out, but the way back was pretty slow since we were stuffed full of hamburgers, hot dogs, peach cobbler, and homemade ice cream. Also, it's 85*F outside. Hello, summer!

I'm pretty sure I'm registering for The Hilly Hundred on Wednesday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Leisurely Ride

At least I thought it was mostly leisurely, but turns out I went fairly fast!

Time: 1:45:00

Distance: 25.192 miles

Average Speed: 14.3 mph

Max Speed: 36.7 mph

Calories Burned: 857.4

Fat Burned: 99.3 g

I more or less followed this route, excluding directions to my house. Sorry, Internets, you'll have to work harder than that to figure out where I live!

I really recommend this route. It had pretty nice roads (WAY nicer than yesterday's roads!) and some pretty great scenery. Beautiful houses, a golf course, Lake Monroe. I saw an awesome red-winged blackbird and the cardinals this year are quite vibrant. I stopped at a pretty cool RV campground because I accidentally missed a turn and had to check the map. There were tons of kids jumping on one of those giant air pillow things. I totally wanted to join them; they looked like they were having a blast.

In bike news, I adjusted my seat closer to what I had it at before Anne's visit. It felt much better, more natural. Still super excited about my bike fit on Thursday though. My hands and shoulders still hurt a bit, but I do feel that the gloves are helping. I think maybe my new tires are faster :) but I'm super paranoid about the air pressure now. I don't know why I expect tires I changed to be so incompetent, but I'm worried about pinch flats. It's just way harder to guesstimate the air pressure by feel when it's so high! (New tires optimal range of 95-100 psi compared to the "old" tires at 75 psi.) I hope the floor pump I ordered gets here soon so I can stop worrying!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just a Ride

Time: 1:36:03

Distance: 20.377 miles

Average Speed: 12.7 mph

Max Speed: 34.2 mph

Calories Burned: 693.8

Fat Burned: 72.5 g

I hadn't ridden my bike in so long and I was so determined to ride it today! Plus I wanted to really ride my new tires to see if I go any faster. And test out my new gloves to see if my hands wouldn't hurt as much. It was a little chilly, about 57*F, but I rode the BBC's Cedar Bluff ride anyway.

Parts of the ride were really nice and parts of it were really terrible. The first part of the ride had some really awful, bumpy roads covered with random patches of gravel. There was also a terrible uphill that would have been bad on its own, but today it was covered in wet leaves from all the storms we've had and my back tire spun out on them like mud and I almost fell. I ended up walking that hill. But once I got to Popcorn Rd in Harrodsburg, it was much nicer. I saw the really cool Harrodsburg water tower. I wanted to take a picture of it, but a dog prevented that. Harrodsburg was pretty neat to ride through and had some of the nicest, possibly even too nice, drivers ever. I was tired and slow and going uphill and they still waited on me to pass before turning onto the road and also gave me plenty of room when they did pass me. Also, the honeysuckle is coming out and nothing beats the smell of honeysuckle in the air. So overall, it was an okay ride. Not great, but okay. And my bike rolled over the 300 mile mark.

Tires - I felt like I was slow the whole time, but my average speed is about what it normally is. I'd say that's good since most of these roads were horrible. So rough. I had to ride my brakes on the downhills and the roughness made the uphills that much harder. So I'll tentatively say these did make me faster, but I'll need a few more (better) rides to really say that.

Gloves - At first I thought they were really helping, but now I have some hot spots that could turn into blisters in the spot that normally bothers me. So the jury is still out on this one. Partly due to...

Fit - I let my friend (and Brett's girlfriend) Anne borrow my bike while she was here visiting during our vacation. She lowered the seat a little and I neglected to change it. It didn't seem that different in the house, but on the road I could really tell the difference. I think that also contributed to some of my inefficiencies. (Can you tell I was really hoping to go faster? :D) Although my hands and shoulders hurt when I ride a lot anyway, so I've scheduled to get my bike fit this week. I'm really excited about it.

Vacation - I can definitely feel that I've been off my bike way too long! I told Seth I'm never going on vacation without my bike again!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Tires and Tornado Sirens

I bought new tires while we were on vacation! Continental Ultra Gatorskins 700cX28mm on sale at REI! My friend Brett helped me get them on yesterday with only minor difficulties. Even though Indiana is still being riddled with ridiculous storms (the tornado siren is going off as I type this), I took them out for a short test ride this evening between downpours. I didn't take my cycle computer or anything, but I certainly FELT faster, even if I wasn't significantly so. I'll get back to you on whether or not I am ACTUALLY faster. Either way, it was great to be on my bike and the weather is supposed to be nice for the entire long Memorial Day weekend. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lloyd's Tropical Bike Tour

Our cruise docked in Key West today and on the agenda was Lloyd's Tropical Bike Tour.

Holy cow, if you are ever in Key West, DO THIS RIDE!

It was the stickiest, tastiest, best thing EVER. We rode around the back streets of Key West, led by Lloyd, sampling tropical fruits, and not only learning about Key West, but actually experiencing it.

Our first stop was Nancy's Secret Garden. Nancy is a 71-year-old lady who has a beautiful rain forest in her backyard full of orphaned parrots she has rescued. Here is Nancy with one of her parrots, who we all got a chance to hold:

Among the foods we sampled today were two varieties of mangoes, coconut, tamarind, and a small, pink fig-like fruit that grew on a bush with huge thorns. Here is Lloyd with his favorite fruit, the mango:

We also cruised around through the neighborhoods and along the shoreline parallel to the amazing turquoise water. Here is Seth along the ocean and me riding through a park:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CycleFit Cruise Edition

Seth and I are on a cruise in the Bahamas! And it has a few cycling classes! I took one today and maybe slacked off a little compared to my normal CycleFit classes (I am on vacation!). The bikes in the ship's gym have no computers so I have no numbers, but the class was fun and it was nice to spin my legs a bit. Also, the instructor played Queen and that combination of Queen and bicycles just makes me really really REALLY happy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


First ride with the BBC OWLS (Older, Wiser, and a Little Slower). We did a slightly modified version of their Triple Creek ride.

Time: 2:23:06

Distance: 34.042 miles

Average Speed: 14.2 mph

Max Speed: 38.9 mph

Calories Burned: 1166.1

Fat Burned: 134.4 g

I loved this route. It was so pretty. Close to half of the route had a creek flowing alongside it. When there was no creek, we passed fields of wildflowers, Butler Winery, and Cascades Park. It was lovely.

However, while the OWLS are definitely a little older and a lot wiser than me, I'm pretty sure they're making the slower up! We were flying most of the ride! And by "we," I mean "they." Although again people told me that if I were on a road bike, I'd be flying past them.

So... road tires added to the wish list.

Although, I have to say my legs feel like they did when I first started CycleFit. I love it!

And next time, I'll have to leave work earlier. I got a little lost on the way to Sherwood Oaks and just made it as the last group was leaving the parking lot. I'm really glad I made it though! This ride was great!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Rode my bike to the gym to do Week 3 Day 3 of Couch to 5K then home again. Had to be really careful around campus as today is graduation and there are a lot of out-of-towner pedestrian types walking about. Here are the round trip numbers:

Time: 58:07

Distance: 12.444 miles

Average Speed: 12.8 mph

Max Speed: 31.6 mph

Calories Burned: 406.0

Fat Burned: 43.7 g

I wore my new Keen Commuter II sandals. I did really well the whole way there with clipping in and unclipping to stop. Until I actually got to the gym, forgot to unclip in the parking lot, and performed my first ever dreaded slow fall. It didn't hurt at all, but my chain fell off and it scratched my nice Brooks saddle which made me angry. At least it wasn't on the drive train side. And the anger over the scratch on my saddle made me run harder.

I think it's about time to get a professional bike fit.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BBC Women's Ride

Since CycleFit is over for the semester and it was sunny (but chilly), I decided I'd ride with the BBC Women's group. We did the Airport ride, which heads out to the west of town. Here are the numbers:

Time: 1:22:34

Distance: 18.886 miles

Average Speed: 13.7 mph

Max Speed: 36.8 mph

Calories Burned: 620.8

Fat Burned: 70.7 g

Whew, those ladies are fast! We were a group of five and I pretty much brought up the rear. I don't want to make excuses, but I was sort of tired today. It's been a long week of not sleeping well and vomiting due to reproductive issues (no, I'm not pregnant!) and I definitely did not eat enough today to tackle that ride. Plus it was really chilly and sort of windy, which made my nose run so it was difficult to breathe. I thought I did pretty well though and maintained 15-17 mph easy on the flats and 6-7 mph uphill. I thought I was a pretty good climber, but they beat me on the hills no problem. At a stop I asked them how they go so fast up the hills. They were surprised I could even keep them in my sights since my bike is apparently a beast with it's knobby cyclocross tires and the fact that they all were wearing clipless pedals and I was wearing running shoes. So I don't feel so discouraged. And...

I got my own clipless pedals today! I ordered the Keen Commuter II sandal from REI over the weekend (with a 20% off coupon from my awesome friend!) and wasn't expecting them until tomorrow. Lucky me, they were sitting on the porch when I got home. So now I've fiddled with them and I think I have them situated. I practiced a bit and now I can try them out and just hope I don't fall! Next time I will be keeping up with those ladies on the hills!