I’ve been feeling pretty good lately – great actually. I’ve continued commuting by bicycle and have been averaging three or four days per week since starting almost three months ago, and the remaining one or two days that I do drive I bring my bike and ride during lunch. This has allowed me to get in at least 100 miles during the week – usually around 130, and the past several weekends I’ve added a long ride to bring my weekly totals up in the range of 180-210 miles. That’s about the most I’ve ever averaged, even while I was training! As a result, I’m feeling strong again, and riding is a lot more fun when you’re strong. Combine that with the head clearing that has happened since I decided to quit racing, and I’m really having fun now when I ride.
Two weekends ago I called up Jose to see if he wanted to ride – he said he would be doing four hours of zone 2 over in Columbia. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d spent four hours on a bike (maybe the Etape du Tour last year!), but the “zone 2” thing made me think I could handle it. We had a great time and ended up doing well over four hours, although a stiff headwind on the way out took us over our zone target, I think. Anyway, I was pleased with how I rode and felt, and it gave me the confidence to go out last Sunday and attempt the original BugMan™ Ride – or at least the route that we used to do. Instead of driving to Frontenac though, I just jumped right on the route from my house (blue dot in the map above) and rode the route “backwards” (counterclockwise). It’s tough doing that, as it really front loads the route with a lot of hills early on – beginning with Ossenfort at mile 1.2 and continuing with Wood, St. Paul, Ries, Marshall, and Adams before even hitting the halfway mark. The weather was coldish (upper 30s), but I was feeling fine in my Rapha’s, and despite gaining a little weight this year I felt as good on the hills as I’ve felt all year. I had to deviate from the original BugMan™ route due to the Spoede bridge closure, taking Clayton to Baxter instead of Conway before mustering up the courage for the final climbs up Orrville, Old Eatherton, and of course, that bitch of a climb back into my neighborhood (Justin, Nagy, and Jose know what I’m talking about). I was pooped for those last climbs – but not bonked, and did the 64 miles in a little over 3½ hours. After taking a shower, I cooked a pizza (California Pizza Kitchen Sicilian) and watched football all afternoon – the whole time I kept thinking, “Guys, it doesn’t get any better than this!”
I have to ask, where are all the roadies? I saw only a single cyclist during my entire ride last weekend, despite spending most of my time on the classic roadie routes of the area. It wasn’t really that cold either. Must be cyclocross, word seems to be that attendance has really increased this season for these events. And just to ward off the inevitable comment – sorry, I just don’t like mud. For anyone who feels the same, I’m gonna do the BugMan™ again this Sunday.