Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tomorrow Is a Rest Day

Funny things can happen when you go riding the day after Christmas. I headed for Laguna Beach today, a ride I haven’t taken in quite a while. I recalled that the full ride was 65 miles last time I estimated it. I intended to cut out a few miles at the south end, so I figured on going about 60.

I’ve been riding somewhat longer increments the past few days, though not really long enough to be ready for a 60-mile ride. But I was itching to test myself against the big old monster hill on Newport Coast Drive. It’s too long since I attacked it, and I was curious to see what my heart monitor would have to say about it.

It was a beautiful day, though not quite as clear as it has been.

I’m almost embarrassed to say how little attraction a White Christmas holds for me.

It had been a great ride so far. The big hill went quite well; I paced myself on it (partly using the heart monitor to make sure I never went above a sustainable effort) and still had energy left by the end—though it was still a grunting grind to get up it. This time, the hill didn’t break me.

Somewhere around the southern end of the ride, I realized that I was not going to get home before sundown. Normally after a big effort, in the summer when the days are long, I don’t mind poking around slowly on the way home, stopping for lots of pictures. Today it looked as if I’d better keep mushing along, with no delays or easy pedaling.

Right around the same time, the wind also picked up. It had been coming from the south and east (naturally) when I was headed south and east. It flipped around and started coming from the west as soon as I turned around and started heading home.

I didn’t mind the wind switch; I have come to expect it in the late afternoon. But it seemed to be blowing with some vengeance. In fact, as I pushed harder and harder to beat the sundown, the wind stirred up all the more.

I didn’t check what speed it was blowing by the time I got home. I will say that in the last weary mile I popped my shoes out of the pedal clips in case a gust tried to knock me over. By 10 p.m. the wind was reported at 25 m.p.h.

The sunset was really gorgeous, and it was also about 6 miles before I got home. I did get as far as I hoped to by sundown: There are a couple of long patches without good roadside light. After I cleared those, I knew I could get home safely. (The moon is full, but comes up a tiny bit after sundown.)

Oh, and that 60-mile ride? After I got home, I was a little disappointed at how long it had taken me to go 60 miles. When I programmed it into, I found the ride I took today was really a tiny bit over 75 miles.

I was pretty beat by the end, but not demolished. After eating and drinking, I was very happy to sit still for quite a while. A hot shower felt good too. The wind was nowhere near as cold as what most of the country gets in winter, but it was no balmy zephyr either.

I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I went out this morning to get tired and test my legs, and I did. Also had a great ride through some delightful scenery.

All the same, I think tomorrow I’ll stick to a shorter run.

1 comment:

Kangamoo said...

Always a good idea to see how far you have gone, not to see how far you intend to go.

What beautiful pictures.

Today we have wetsnowyrainystuff falling down. The ground is still white although it is turning greener.