I haven’t been running a whole lot lately but my cycling miles are right where they should be now that spring finally showed up. I’ve written several times about how a good ride on either my mountain or road bike will straighten me up after a good run but I’d assumed that the trick to curing the normal pain (maybe more correctly stated, “discomfort”) after the run was to ride slower with a high cadence to loosen up the legs.
I put that to the test today. After the 12 mile ride down to the running club into the wind and a slow but decent 5 mile run, 8:45 (it was supposed to be 6.2 but I walked one, just ran out if gas) and a bit of lunch, I packed up and hit the road for the 18 mile ride home. The wind had been out of the southeast all day so I figured I’d have something of a tailwind almost all of the way home – a perfect route for an easy but fast ride. The breeze was not strong, about 9mph but still enough to be helpful. I spent the first 20 seconds on the timer getting situated and extra gear stowed and then had to get out of the subdivision where the road more resembles cobbles than asphalt (3:39). The next mile was a little better (3:02) followed by a mainly uphill third (3:20) and the fourth into a cross-headwind (3:21 – legs loosened up)… Midway through that mile the wind shifted to straight from the east. The next four were between 21.5 & 23 mph with the wind at my back… Then I turned north and was faced with a choice: After fading in the run and losing my helping wind I could take it easy or start working to get my speed from last season back… I opted for the latter. After a three-quarter of mile uphill and an 18 mph mile, I put the hammer down and averaged 20.5 over the next six for an average, including stops, of 19.6… Now, if you do the math that should be 15 miles. The last three were dead into the now 14 mph wind and I was cooked so I opted to just spin back at an easy 15 mph.
So after that ride, especially the miles into the crosswind, which was definitely faster than I’ve been riding since the weather cleared, my legs feel awesome. There’s a little more discomfort than if I’d taken it easy on the way back but still, I’d be hobbling around a bit till tomorrow without that ride. In other words, even a good old fashioned hard ride works wonders on run-weary legs.
We went straight from winter to early summer in one week and I’m okay with it. It’s been sunny and in the mid 70’s for the last six days or so and they’re calling for the same over the next six days… Where this gets interesting is when we look at days off. It’s now been nine days since my last stint on the couch due to weather and with any luck it’ll be another six before I see a day off again.
Now, just because I could potentially ride one of my bikes fifteen days in a row it doesn’t mean that I won’t be taking a day off though. For example, yesterday’s ride with Mrs. Bgddy was a simple, slow jaunt around the block – a little more than 13 miles at about 15 mph. It was 75-78 degrees and I didn’t break a sweat. My heart rate never got above 90 bpm. In fact, and this was awesomely ironic, Mrs. Bgddy, on her 8th ride in 9 days, started out at a normal pace even though she’d complained of sore legs… I had to slow her down. On that note, I am so happy and excited for her, she’s loving her new bike and that I had to slow her down so we could have a nice, easy spin yesterday (kind of funny what a really nice bike will do).
I’ve got to ask her to do a guest post or two…
So on the agenda for today is a 12/6/18 mile ride/run/ride before I head over to pick up our kids from their friend’s house and get back to work on the yard (the grass is growing at an unbelievable pace). I’ll follow that up tomorrow with another easy ride before I get back into it on Monday.
The reality is that I’m happy. I’ve enjoyed every single ride that I’ve gone on. My speed is certainly down from last year and that’s got me a little flummoxed but I’m not in so bad a way that I’m willing to do what it will take to get it back -yet.
So, training or riding? I’m certainly not training. That would imply goals and an eye on improving – getting stronger or faster for a race or event. No, I’m just having fun, enjoying my marriage, kids, fitness, health and the fresh, warm air. For now at least, that’s good enough for government work.