Sunday, May 24, 2009

Land of 1000 Dances

Saturday I rode 84 miles on Cape Cod. It was a great ride for many reasons.
  • The first 18 miles were in a cold rain. This wasn't what I was looking for on Memorial Day Weekend, but it assured me that I could ride through it (with a summer jersey and shorts on.) I was consciously trying to ride a little slower for the first 20 miles to warm up. That seemed to work. The conditions improved when I got to Route 6 in Wellfleet, too. You know you're cold when the heat off the trucks passing at your elbow feels good.
  • The rain stopped but the sun was still behind clouds. I took the hills on Route 6 in a lower gear than usual to spare my legs a bit. (I has to come back over these hills later in the day.) I decided to hop onto Route 6A outside Provincetown and ride flatter roads into Provincetown (since this was still the first half of the ride.) I rode down Commercial Street (more like slogged) until I got to the Town Pier. There's a spotless set of rest rooms next to The Pier where the tour buses park (When you ride long distances, these things become important landmarks.) I brought my bike in with me and had a talk with the attendant about puncture proof tires and tubes. Yes, there's an attendant (at least on the Men's side; no clue about the Women's side.)
  • I rode up behind the West End and then over to the East End where I stopped at around 38 miles for an oatmeal cookie and coffee at Far Land. It's my favorite place to stop on the bike (out this way) since the pastries and baked on the premises, are delicious, large and fresh. The coffee is equally impressive (and always hot.) Someone is always on the porch and up for watching my bike when I go inside, too. Stop in, and you won't be disappointed.
  • I next rode over to Race Point as I hadn't been there in a few years. There's more development right off Route 6 (including a convenience store I marked as a possible source of water and snacks for the future.) The rode "in" is freshly paved and perfect for cycling. I don't use the Bike Path (nor do I recommend you use it) as it includes too many blind corners where you can ride "into" another cyclist, runner, rollerblader, ... Years back a cyclists struck and killed a runner on that path, which was all I needed to hear. Not for me.
  • I rode back down the access road and headed "back" on Route 6. I was greeted with a stiff East Wind, so took it down a notch. I got back on Route 6A outside Provincetown and gradually picked up speed (and the wind slowed, too.) The sun was starting to come out not, but not enough to warm things up too much.
  • I got back on Route 6 at Atlantic Spice (The parking lot was filled with spice addicts. Great store.) I felt good at that point and decided to push it a bit up and down the remaining hills back to the CCRT in Wellfleet. It was at this point where I concluded that the warming up (or that cookie and coffee) paid off as I was able to push it pretty hard through these hills. I didn't want to burn up my knees, but I felt good, too. I was able to maintain some good speed through these hills back to the trail head in Wellfleet. There I sat down and ate for 10 minutes. I had about 18 miles of riding left on the CCRT and I wanted to see if I had anything left in me.
  • Riding back on the CCRT, I pushed it a bit at every opportunity. Even through the sun was showing more of the time now (still partly cloudy) it was wet on the trail in most spots. The trees, usually a source of shade, were keeping things a bit chilly. (The CCRT was green all day, rain or shine, due to the pollen on the ground. That made it a little slippery, too.) I rode the return (to Harwich) at a good pace, all the way back. By now I was feeling pretty good about everything. I was covered in pollen (bike and shoes) but I really didn't care. Clean up is alway something to think about later.
  • I got to the turnaround in Harwich and slowed down a bit for the return leg home. I consciously rode slower to cool down, and that seems to have been a good decision. When I'm totally spent after a ride, I sort of tumble off the bike in the driveway. It's not pretty, but it works. This time I was able to cruise to a halt and unclip without looking like an aspiring stuntman.
  • I wasn't particularly sore or stiff after this ride, not the next day (today.) I think warming up and cooling down had a lot to do with it. Plus that cookie, too.
  • All in all, a great last long ride before the event next Saturday. I plan to get in a few short rides this week and clean my bike thoroughly, too. I'll check my tires for cuts, get my food list sorted out and make a list of the stuff I will pack for the ride. I used my Camelbak plus 2 water bottles for this ride. That was more than enough water for a non-hot day. I'll use it on the Best Buddies ride, too.
  • I also made a conscious effort to hydrate the day before this ride, too. I think that helped a lot.
  • Gadget Of The Week: My new Cateye Wireless Cyclometer I was able to install this in less than an hour (which included reading the directions ahead of time, a first I think.) This worked amazingly well.

That's it for this past week. I'm looking forward to a week including some short rides, stretching and hydrating, too. It's it's hot and sunny on May 30th, I want to be a human sponge versus a human tortilla chip.



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