If the title sounds a little odd, it should. I went out on my usual Saturday ride and run yesterday. I struck out for the running club on my bike shortly after a long stretch of rain. The pavement was still quite wet but I wasn’t about give up my long brick day for some wet pavement. The first four miles were uneventful and medium fast – it was the first four of 33 so I really didn’t find it necessary to push too hard. About 20 yards into my fifth mile the rain started up again. At first as sprinkles, then the clouds opened up… My second day in a row riding in the rain. I grinned and pushed on. My first leg was a little more than 12 miles at 17.5 mph… Quite slow by normal standards, but I was just going for distance yesterday, and for my second day in a row riding in the rain, I was getting a little tired of it to be truthful.
I made it down to the running club, changed and had a cup of coffee. With the rain I wouldn’t break in my new running shoes – I don’t do mud on the first day of a new pair of shoes – I don’t care, I’m not mucking up a brand new pair on the first day and I have a few miles left in last year’s model anyway (I got the Adizero Tempo’s again). We started off as a group of five – one guy walked the 5k, I ran it and the other three were headed out on 7.2 mile, or greater, runs. So here’s where the lazy part came in. I started out fast – 6:05 pace before I slowed down a bit after a quarter mile to a 7:35 pace. I finished off the first mile in 7:16. I kept the 7:30 pace going for the second mile to finish that mile (1/2 uphill, 1/4 flat, 1/4 downhill) at 7:33. My breathing was great, my stride was long and things were generally going really well but my legs were feeling a little heavy – it was a pretty hectic week by my standards, 124 miles in five days so I justified walking the rest of the way because I didn’t want to hurt myself. I would have been just fine, and I knew it, but I just didn’t feel like running the last mile so I enjoyed a brisk walk/jog back to the club.
I ate some lunch – heavenly pizza from Little Caesar’s, perpperoni and bacon for me – and relaxed for a minute waiting for some of the other guys to get back. It was a light crowd by normal standards because the Bay Shore 10k-1/2 marathon-marathon was yesterday and many of the guys from the club participate in that.
After a lively discussion or two I suited up and got ready to ride home – the long way around, an 18 mile trip. The first thing I noticed, after about 40 feet, is that the rain had finally taken its toll on my chain lube. It was a quiet ride down but my chain was squealing like a stuck pig after drying out. I started out slow again but was up to 22 mph by the time I was 2m:30s into the ride…a loud one at that, my $2,600 babied race bike sounded like a $120 Huffy that had been laying in the grass for a week. The protesting chain actually had a pretty huge impact on effort too. I noticed on several occasions that keeping my speed was a little tougher than normal. After a minute at the quicker pace I got to thinking I should slow it down a little bit because I didn’t want to wreck my legs after that heavy feeling on the run. My first four miles were right where I thought they should be considering the effort I wanted to put in: 3:23, 3:03, 3:12, 3:21. On the fifth mile I settled into a nice rhythm and shut the sound down on Endomondo so it wouldn’t give out my overall and mile times. I just kept rolling, the squeaks and squeals of the chain became a little hypnotic. I attacked the hills hard, standing on 1 gear higher (harder) than normal, and let gravity on the way down run my speed back up. My cadence was unusually high – approaching 100 rpm on a gear one easier than I use on a flat to maintain 20 mph and I just kept cruising, feeling great. My breathing was fairly relaxed and the temperature was perfect… Just over 70 degrees with cloudy skies. Into the 13th mile curiosity got the best of me and I kicked my stem mounted phone out of standby mode to see where I was time-wise.
Much to my surprise I’d made up most of the 58 seconds I’d lost in the first four miles to make a 20 mph average. I kept my cadence the same and wound up slightly faster than a 20 average when I turned right onto the home stretch road – directly into a head wind. I hadn’t even noticed the crosswind over the previous nine miles, I had been deep in the zone for eleven miles and didn’t even know it (I love it when that happens on purpose but it’s a rare treat when it sneaks up on me). The last three miles into that wind, a 20 mph pace on my own was impossible, I finished with a 19.3 average.
Overall, I had a fun time and while I could make the argument that I was a little lazy on a 33 mile day – why bother? I had a lot of fun.
On arriving home I left my bike outside to be washed later and went in for a shower and a nap. When I came out a couple of hours later I had a flat – two days in the rain and two flats in a row. I washed my bike and degreased my chain, dried it off and left with my wheel to pick up a couple of tubes… I took the wheel in just to make sure there was nothing structurally wrong and bought a couple of new tubes (one spare). The reason for first flat (on Friday) was obvious – most of my rides go past a construction zone and the General Contractor has been amazingly lax in keeping the cycling lane free of gravel – I picked up a small, sharp rock that punctured the kevlar layer and put a pin hole in the tube (it took till Saturday morning for the tire to deflate – it was a slow leak. The flat yesterday was a little more troubling – there were no visible imprefections in the tire – nothing. They couldn’t find anything at the shop either…for now it’s a mystery.
For today, it’s going to be really hot so I’ve got a few options, but I think I’ll keep it easy and simple and do the 25 mile route, recovery pace. I’ve got my Tuesday group ride on Tuesday so I want to ride but I want to have a lot in the tank for Tuesday.