The plan was to bike 65 miles last Saturday. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition sponsored a Three River Ride that included the Rio Hondo, the San Gabriel and the Los Angeles rivers. It was a 44-mile loop led by one of the authors of Where to Bike Los Angeles.
Since G and I are training together for this, we decided that we would ride 10 miles to and from downtown Los Angeles to reach the necessary 65 miles.
I have to admit that setting an alarm for 6:30 on a Saturday after a long week of work was not my first choice to start off the weekend. My disdain for the plan was furthered by the fog that appeared once daylight hit downtown. But out the door I went.
The first 11 miles to the park (we were already off in our calculations) was a lot faster than we had planned, which made me feel really good about the start of the day. And at that point, I was warm and ready to go.
We met with a group of about 20 riders – most older than us. My initial comment was, I bet they’re faster than us anyways. And they were definitely faster than me, but they were extremely nice people. They were very caring and the whole group was attentive to each other and looked out for all of the riders. So, it was a lot of fun.
Which is probably why we rode five miles past our first turn off. This added an additional ten miles to my overall ride, which was good and bad. After having trained for a half marathon a couple of years ago, I try my hardest to keep increases in mileage reasonable at 10% per week, and at the moment that I figured out what the increase in miles meant, I had a brief moment of doubt. The truth was, though, I felt great.
We ended with the group around 64 miles, which meant taco time as a break. This is my second long ride, and both times I have had carne asada tacos to refuel. So, that might be a tradition for me. Who knows…
The next five miles were not too bad. I was definitely tired. The food gave me a little energy, but my legs were tiring quickly.
Then, we hit some really good head winds, which are my biggest enemy psychologically. I think they are going to become the equivalent to my “Mile 8 Issues” from running. So, I was less than thrilled to finish the ride.
But I do have to say that when all was said and done, I’m extremely proud of this ride.
The lessons from this ride:
- Check the map! Even if other people are leading. Still check the map!
- My hydration plan is not a good one. I can’t keep a solid pace and use a water bottle. I was planning on a CamelBak, and I guess that’s going to have to be sooner rather than later.
- Eat. Eat. Eat. The day before mostly. I did a good job on this one, I think.
- Stop to reapply sunblock.
- Get more than six hours of sleep the night before. Particularly if I’ve gotten six or less hours for consecutive nights. I don’t know how realistic that’s going to be for the next two weeks, but it’s a goal. This didn’t hurt my ride too much, but I was done for the rest of the day.