Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vengance - Or, at least, Improvement.

OK, first some background: On April 29th of this year, I joined a bike ride sponsored by the local school district's wellness program. I wore jeans, weighed 226.5 pounds, and rode my "comfort" bike. I had ridden along the river before, and figured I'd be fine for a semi-flat ride.

Sure, I was fine... for the first five minutes. After that I was passed in short order by every single other rider. Have you ever seen those cartoons where a ship is sailing away and gets covered up by a wave once in a while? Every time you see the ship between waves, it gets smaller and smaller as it disappears on the horizon? That's how I felt. With every successive hill, those other riders were getting further and further away. I was frustrated, miserable, and - let's face it - angry. Angry at myself, and angry at the leader for abandoning me. I know; he didn't, and it was impossible to get lost. It just really felt like I was left for dead or, at least, impossibly slow.

Today I revisited the scene of my despair. OK, the jeans have been replaced by a cute bike outfit, I have lightened my personal load by about 16 pounds, and the comfort bike has been replaced by a much more appropriate Iron Horse. But still, that can't account for all of this. Let's face it - I'm stronger and healthier.

Then: 9.5 miles with some rolling hills in 50 minutes; average speed of 11.3 mph. (It's also important to note that I was working my butt off trying to keep up with them.)

Now: those same miles in 35 minutes; average speed of 15.7 mph. I may have been able to go a little faster if I really wanted to.

Ah, how sweet it is. After finishing the loop I did back then, I grabbed my camera and rolled back through the loop in the opposite direction, completing the 19 mile double-loop in about 1:12. I'll admit, those hills are still a bit challenging to me, and are even harder from the other side, but I've improved significantly, and now have cold, hard evidence. Yay, me!

On the way back, I snapped some picures so I could show you the beautiful view from the hilly portion. Sure, much of Nevada may be desert, but look at what beauty lies within 20 minutes of Reno. Also, speaking of pictures, I finally set up a flickr account. The link to my flickr page is listed on the right, under "links".

Oh, and unless someone complains (haha), I'm dropping the run and ride summaries at the bottom of entries, and including anything note-worthy in the narratives.

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