Ah, it’s rare that my legs feel truly “dead” when I just don’t have the oomph to get my normal speeds and the truth is, my legs really aren’t all that dead in those terms, I’m just a little sore and a lot tired. That said, I am not having any difficulty with riding, I’m just in one of those ‘blah’ periods where my drive isn’t to improve, it’s just to enjoy the ride. I’ve been concentrating on improving for long enough that it’s time to have fun for a week or two just to take advantage of the fact I have improved. It’s in that context that I use the word “dead” to describe my legs.
So yesterday I threw stats to the wind and just went for a nice ride. The temp was supposed to rise into the 70’s but starting out at 8:30 am, it was downright cold; 39 degrees, though the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky and there was zero wind. Rather than my jacket I opted simply for arm and leg warmers (the temp wasn’t supposed to rise above 60 until after 1 pm). I was in the shade for the first mile and I was cold enough that I actually thought about turning around to grab my jacket. Once I emerged though, it was just nice enough to keep going. It took five miles before I was comfortable.
Now that I know where Denton hill is, I made that my new turnaround point for my normal Saturday morning ride (it only adds five miles for a total of 48). Unfortunately they were holding the St. John’s Applefest race downtown so I had to weave my way through a bunch of runners (tail end of the race, I gave them a lot of room) to get to downtown. I have no idea what taking all of this time did to my overall average because I wasn’t paying attention, but I can look at Endomondo and figure it took an extra eight minutes to make it through town. I was averaging 3:10-3:20 minute miles up until I hit the race and ended up at 4:30-6:48 over the next five miles.
I did the Denton Hill climb and headed back toward the running club. When I got there everyone was out so I parked the bike and went inside for some chili, and a cup of coffee afterwards. My friend Massoud showed up first, then my buddy Mark (who placed 3rd in his age group on the 10k – the race I rode through) so I hung out for a few to catch up with them. Once we were sufficiently up to speed I split, heading for home the looong way. The temp was much more comfortable, maybe low to mid 60’s and still barely a breeze. I rode in the drops for the most part all the way into Swartz Creek, 20 miles and, even taking it easy, averaged just under 20 mph (19.75). With traffic stops, that was a heck of a decent average for that stretch. Mile times were between 2:50 and 3:10. I stopped at the bike shop to use to talk to the guys for a minute and then cruised the last six home.
That ride sums up for me exactly how productive this season has been. 48 miles in 2:41:38, minus the eight minutes navigating through the race, I’m looking at 2:33:38 give or take, somewhere in the 19’s (31 km/h) for an average and the only time I really worked hard was on the climb up Denton Hill (both ways). Very cool.
To cap off the night, I have a friend who’s got season tickets to the Tigers who also happened to have business out-of-town this weekend so he gave us his tickets and VIP parking pass (and enough cash to hit the VIP A.Y.C.E Buffet) to the game last night. We watched the first two innings from our seats (which were unbelievable) and then headed up the restaurant to hit the gourmet buffet. Let’s just say I got my money’s worth: Salad, Prime Rib, Shrimp Scampy, Chicken, Green Beans, a bacon & cheese potato skin and a hot dog (of course). We watched the rest of the game from the comfort of a table with a fantastic view of the field, sipping coffee. The Tigers ended up losing by a few inches, but it was a fantastic evening.