Where did the last month go? My last blog entry is over a month old? WOW…talk about changes in life, or is it just being too lazy to sit down an write.
Of course there is always something to tell, but as my friends know, I hardly ever write about my personal life, and try to stick to the topic as much as possible: cycling! Well, lately I have not done much riding I considered worth writing about. Really until yesterday, my last long ride was the “Curisin the Conejo Ride” on May 8th. (I did the same century last year, details are here).
I did however start to commute to work on May 9th, and have only missed two days of not riding to work, simply because I needed a car to get to client meetings. I probably have the worlds easiest commute. 4.8 miles and 400 feet elevation loss to work and the reverse going home. The fact that going to work is all downhill is perfect, really little chance (except when its humid) to work up any sweat. So you see, for the last 3 weeks I rode the same 10 miles every day…little to talk about, right?
Well, yes and no….since I use April also for my commute, getting used to sitting on my skinny saddle took the first week. The first two days did not feel good at all, but I figured that I did not want to change clothes for this short of a distance and told myself to HTFC. It also took me several days to figure out the best way to dress (lucky me I get to wear jeans all the time). The first few times I had way too much stuff on and carried too much in a backpack.
I quickly learned that keeping some items at the office (a pair of shoes, light sweater, etc.), lightens the load and getting rid of the backpack in exchange for a messenger bag made all the difference. See, a backpack traps heat between your back and the bag, and even on short rides, your back will be soaked. The messenger bag, when adjusted correctly, sort of rides on your hip, and none of the heat build up occurs. A pair of reflective velcro straps to tame the jeans was the last piece needed, and by the time I got to day four it felt like I had all the pieces in place.
I LOVE riding to work and I EVEN LOVE IT MORE riding home. See, going home is all uphill, granted not much, only some 400 feet over 5 miles, BUT, it makes for a great workout. All I have to do is stay in the big ring, and since I doesn’t matter if I arrive sweat soaked at home or not, these 5 miles (and sometimes more taking a detour by choice). It is such a great feeling after a long work day (usually 11 hours) to be able to clip in and ride.
So, that is all the riding I have done, until yesterday, when @roadchickie joined me to meet up with Kurt in Manhatten Beach to ride the Palos Verdes peninsula. She is a prolific blogger and wrote a great story from her point of view about yesterdays ride, and you can find it here. As for me, I did not know what to expect since I only did very short rides for the past 3 weeks. Clipping in and riding with cycling bibs (vs. jeans), felt like I was riding a ‘luxury bike’. I could tell after the first mile that this was going to be a good ride, legs spun easy and almost without effort. Cycling on familiar routes I also noticed that I was in bigger gears than usual, yet it didn’t feel that way.
It really was not until we got into Hermosa and Redondo Beach that some climbing came into play, with Palos Verdes bringing most of it (about 2000 feet on a 12 mile stretch). This is the part which surprised me most, because I looked at those climbs, cherished the thought of climbing them and attacked each and every one of them with absolutely no doubt in my mind that I could sustain the effort. By the time we returned we rode 65 miles and 2700 feet and I still felt fresh and like I could ride forever, a rare and beautiful day.
I guess those little commuter rides do more for my fitness than I ever thought possible…what a nice surprise…..