For Easter, Mother Nature gift-wrapped 2 sunny days for us. I wouldn’t go so far to say they were warm – still leg warmers & jacket weather for me but at least I finally switched to fingerless gloves!
I have a confession though. I returned to the dark side & rekindled some long hauls. No speed work. What has winter done to my endurance? This weekend was my test.
I selected familiar but favourite routes for 2 reasons: 1) Less preparation; 2) Comparison with last year’s performance to assess where I am.
FRIDAY – Mount Nemo (72km)
It was overall an enjoyable ride (ROUTE MAP). This route consisted of false flats at the beginning, a 2km grind up Nemo, followed by a few rollers on the way back.
Once in motion, I immediately noticed the following:
1) Last week’s PB might partially be due to tailwind. The 1st 16km of this route was identical except this time, headwind smacked me in the face & my pace was nowhere near it.
2) The smell of manure, a sign of Spring.
3) My nose was running faster than I was cycling. Thanks wind.
I enjoy revisiting familiar routes. I now have a collection of Rattlesnake Point at various seasons, all but winter. Which one looks the best? I vote last Fall!! (hover over the images for captions).
Winter has destroyed my endurance as I was already seeing stars at 30km. Maybe I was too premature to battle a hilly course because I was suffering, pushing at 12-15kph up Mt. Nemo. Three-quarters of the way up, my lungs suddenly opened and I was able to maintain a rhythm at ease to the top. It felt great!!
Riding home on a busy road, I couldn’t avoid a pothole at the base of a hill and my water bottle flew out. I immediately felt a weight difference, not bad!! As I pedaled on, I couldn’t help but reminisced about all the rides we did together and all the ride we could’ve had. A sad & abrupt departure indeed.
I admit I don’t usually do a complete stop at a Stop Sign (on a bike). As I crossed an intersection after a rolling stop, I saw a police car on the right. I picked up the pace just in case someone decided to chase me.
SATURDAY – The Shed Coffee Bar (100km)
This route (ROUTE MAP) assessed both my endurance and long climbs with half of the ride going up the escarpment. Similar to Friday, I struggled on all the hills but I felt strong on the last quarter of each hill. Knowing pace wasn’t important on this ride, I used the opportunity to practice riding out of the saddle which is a skill I want to master. My pace at the halfway mark wasn’t pretty which was fine. I now have a baseline for improvement. It can only get better from here.
My midway reward at The Shed Coffee Bar is always worth all the sweat & tears. Their latte bowl never disappoints me.
Their decor is always top-notch. Isn’t this the best mirror? Although the sentence was never finished, “Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep ….”. To keep what? I pondered this mystery for an hour as I sipped on my latte. I still don’t have an answer …
The endurance part was an improvement from Friday. No longer do I see stars. In fact, the last leg of the ride was strong, perhaps it was the downhill talking but I maintained above 25kph for the last 20-30km. Nothing I did at the end could save my overall time.
The Easter Long weekend is not over yet. So far, I’m having a fantastic time …. and with no saddle sores!!
How did you spend your Easter holiday?