Monday, July 31, 2017

Look Where You're Going or You'll Go Where You're Looking

"...not with a bang, but a whimper." It was about four years ago I had my stroke. I have been recovering ever since, Most of the time I feel pretty "normal", except for limited stamina and still suspect balance. Today, though, I paid for my diminished skills with a crash that sent me to the emergency room. On a short ride that included a trip to the bank, I crashed on a left turn into the bank parking lot. I was rolling down to the turn in the left-turn lane, but had to wait for oncoming traffic to clear. When the traffic had cleared I turned, only to realize I had overshot the turn. In my pre-stroke days, I easily had the skills to correct and ride through, but today I started wobbling through the turn. I probably could still have made it, but I compounded my lack of skill with a first class bush league error: I looked right at the curb I wanted to avoid. I went chest-first into the butt end of the guardrail. In my previous life teaching young equestrians, one of the greatest truths I tried to impart to them was, "Look where you're going or you'll go where you're looking!" Well, today I have numerous contusions and abrasions, a hematoma, a muscle pull, and a couple of lacerations, including one on my left index finger that nearly took out the extensor tendon and required seven stitches, because I failed to follow my own advice! My bicycling is going to be curtailed for the next few weeks, and this effectively, and disappointingly, ends our quest for the BikeMaine 2017 ride. ~ Tony

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Yankee Homecoming Ride - 27 miles

Had a wonderful ride with Judy and Debbie today from Ferry Park, West Newbury to State Street, Newburyport. We took in the Yankee Homecoming festivities in Newburyport, perused the classic cars and the art show on Bartlett Mall, then Jogged off down the Clipper City Rail Trail, past some interesting sculptures, to Haley's Ice Cream for some sustenance. We returned to Ferry Park via Maudslay State Park, and a loop around the Lower Artichoke Reservoir. By the time we got to Coffin Street to wend our way back along the river, we were all pretty sore and tired - a very fulfilling day. ~ Tony

Photos by Debbie
Judy and me at Bartlett Mall

On the Clipper City Rail Trail

On the Clipper City Rail Trail

On the Clipper City Rail Trail - one of the sculptures along the way

of course, it's the one we paused at, because it's a HORSE! - photo by Judy

Total Gain: 1202 ft; Max Grade: 10%
Weather: 81°F, sunny
Terrain: rolling
Distance: 27.41mi
Speed: (avg) 10.96 mph; (max) 35.7 mph;
Average Cadence: 68 rpm

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

First 20-miler This Year - Arlington Pond

After a few short rides this week with Judy and friend, Preston, today I rode solo my first 20 miler this year. Our Arlington pond loop with a jog-off from Shore Drive onto Zion Hill, and again from Bridge Street down to Maple and up Howe, to avoid the deer flies on North Street. I know what you're thinking, "Deer flies! Why don't you just outride them?" Well, North Street is, for me, anyway, a fairly challenging hill, and I can't muster the speed to outrun the deer flies. Anyway, Howe street is a bit longer, and an equally challenging hill, so it works out. Today I felt pretty good for most of the ride, including Zion Hill. I started doing the shuffle after about an hour and a half, but no great discomfort. Howe Street was grueling in bright sunlight with no shade. My legs were getting tired, but I finished well enough, and recovered well enough, with only a momentary drop in post-ride BP. Going for another short ride with Judy this evening. ~ Tony

Total Gain: 895 ft; Max Grade: 9%
Weather: 79°F, sunny
Terrain: rolling
Distance: 19.48 mi
Speed: (avg) 10.55 mph; (max) 43.4 mph;
Average Cadence: 67 rpm

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ferry Park - Maudslay Park Loop - A Delightful Ride

Today we rode with our friend, Debbie on what is probably our favorite short ride, our scenic river loop starting at Ferry Park, West Newbury, across the Rocks Village Bridge, along the river through Merrimac and Amesbury, over the Chain Bridge into Newburyport, through Maudslay State Park, up Pipestave Hill, and back along the West Newbury side of the River. This was the first time this year I've done over ten miles without discomfort.The weather was perfect and the company was convivial. I watched my heart rate more than my mph, and finished strong. I did not experience any lightheadedness afterward, and my blood pressure when I got home was normal. Things are looking up. ~ Tony

Total Gain: 831 ft; Max Grade: 8%
Weather: 70°F; mixed sun and clouds; Wind ENE 10mph
Terrain: rolling
Distance: 15.56 mi
Speed: (avg) 11.14 mph; (max) 37.7 mph;
Average Cadence: 65 rpm

Friday, July 21, 2017

Recovery Ride

Today I wore my heart monitor and did a short recovery ride over our North Street-Atkinson Street-Broadway loop. It starts with a fairly demanding Hill, followed by a refreshing descent leading to some undulations and finally flattening out for a nice, invigorating run-in. Felt good throughout. Kept my usual effort level. HR monitor confirmed that I was just under anaerobic threshold, around 128 bpm, as I thought. I did a good job of keeping it steady on that point, except going up the top of Lake St, where my HR seemed to go crazy, frantically leaping from 136 to 118 and everywhere in between. I'm thinking that the HR monitor was still settling into place at that point, or I went through some RF interference there. Followed up my post-exercise vitals: BP 106/60; O2 sat: 95. Much more encouraging. ~ Tony

Total Gain: 207 ft; Max Grade: 5%
Weather: 85°F, sunny
Terrain: flat to rolling
Distance: 4.7 mi
Speed: (avg) 11.43 mph; (max) 28.55 mph;
Average Cadence: 74 rpm

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Arlington Pond Loop Fail

After a couple of more successful shorter rides and another successful completion of the Hooker Farm Road loop, I felt ready to attempt the longer Arlington Pond loop. I felt good for most of the first half, but weakened thereafter. By the time I got to Shore Drive, where I usually fly, I was struggling: legs felt weak and tired; arms neck and shoulders ached. I decided to abort, and go home via a shorter, flatter return. Very disturbing, because I did hydrate and fuel up appropriately. When I got home I felt a little dizzy as I was bringing my bike into the house. Checked my vitals. O₂ sat was OK, but BP was 90/48! It took almost an hour for my diastolic to hit 60, (normal threshold.) I have a doctor appointment Thursday; will be discussing this with him. ~ Tony

Total Elevation: 658 ft. Max Grade: 7%

Weather: 94°F, hazy
Terrain: flat to rolling
Distance: 16.15 mi
Speed: (avg) 10.74mph; (max) 40.4mph;
Average Cadence: 68 rpm

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Lesson Learned

As a diabetic I have to be careful to fuel appropriately for exercise. Today I made the wrong decision. Our friend Debbie joined us for a morning Bike ride over the Hooker Farm Road loop. I didn't want to ride with a belly full of breakfast, so I just had a mug of coffee with cream and sugar. Felt good for the first half of the ride, but ran out of gas at the base of the steep section at the end of North Broadway and never really recovered. I had no legs by the time we hit the gentle uphill of Hampstead Road. We stopped near the Rusty Lantern Market. After a little discussion we agreed that it seemed my blood sugar had crashed. Debbie was kind enough to buy me an energy bar and a Gatorade, offered with a gentle lecture. We decided to take the easy way home by Broadway rather than tackle the North Street hill.. Didn't feel strong, but recovered well enough to propel myself back at a reasonable pace. I'm lucky to have such good friends. ~ Tony

Weather: 80°F, sunny
Terrain: flat to rolling
Distance: 9.69 mi
Speed: (avg) 11.6mph; (max) 33.6mph;
Average Cadence: 72 rpm

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hooker Farm Road including North Street Hill

Today I rode our Hooker Farm Road loop, complete, including the North Street hill, a bit more challenging than the last ride. I've done a few shorter rides in between, pushing myself a little harder, and challenging my legs and cardiovascular system. Today I felt good and strong for the first half of the ride, but had to back off a bit on the steeper gradients and the North Street hill.  That hill is fairly long with some steep gradients which, mercifully, present as short steps up the hill. I felt pretty good overall, and didn't suffer much of the discomfort of earlier rides. Ready to take on some bigger distances. ~ Tony

total gain: 479 ft grade: 0% max grade: 8%

Weather: 68°F, cloudy
Terrain: rolling
Distance: 10.12 mi
Speed: (avg) 11.04mph; (max) 32.7mph;
Average Cadence: 69 rpm

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hooker Farm Road - Easy

Today we had a nice ride on our Hooker Farm Road loop - Easy, returning via Broadway. It's a little longer and a tad hillier than our last ride, but pretty easy anyway. After our last ride I raised my handlebars to give myself more breathing room. I did the ride again, and it seemed to help. Today I was fairly comfortable for about 2/3 of the ride, but started to feel sore, needing to shift positions frequently toward the end. Our ride was nearly ten miles with almost 400 feet of elevation gain, about one fifth of what we're going to be doing daily at BikeMaine Pathway to the Peaks in September, but it's still early July, so I'm not too worried. I did feel better today overall, and I'm losing weight, so there will be less to lug up the hills in Maine. Judy's doing great, and she's very patient with me on the hills.

Weather: 84°F, sunny
Terrain: flat to rolling
Distance: 9.69 mi
Speed: (avg) 10.96mph; (max) 33.78mph;
Average Cadence: 72 rpm

As I said before, Veloroutes elevation profiles make flattish courses look much more challenging than they are. This time, though, I didn't doctor it, because, to me, this is actually how it felt. LOL

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Shakedown Ride 2017

For a number of reasons we are getting a late start on our 2017 bicycling season. We cleaned, checked, and lubricated the bikes, pumped up the tires, and set off for a short local ride. The bikes performed perfectly, and Judy did very well. My legs felt good, but my shoulders and arms ached, and my heart and lungs were on strike, a concern, because we are signed up for the BikeMaine Pathway to the Peaks tour in September, a week long tour of 355 miles, averaging 55 miles a day, with 16,432 feet of elevation gain! We have some work to do!

Weather: 82°F, sunny
Terrain: flat to rolling
Distance: 6.89 mi
Speed: (avg) 11.08mph; (max) 21.91mph;

If you're familiar with Veloroutes profiles, they tend to make flat courses look challenging, so I doctored it to resemble more closely our actual route.