Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Getting in over my head

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

On Sunday, I decided to ride with some people from the Bloomington Bicycle Club. They were planning to ride the 80-mile ride Cordry-Sweetwater Lakes route, so I thought I’d tag along and see how it went. I figured it would be good training for the upcoming Ride Across INdiana (RAIN) ride, which I signed up for (all the way across Indiana from west to east — 160 miles — in one day).

I guess I didn’t realize what I was getting into. At first it seemed fine; the pace was faster than I’m used to, but doable. Really, I did pretty well for about the first 40 miles. At that point, I started slowing down, but they showed no signs of letting up. I managed to hang on, by a thread, until about mile 50 or so. At that point I dropped back considerably. By the time I reached the lunch stop in Nashville at mile 60, I was way behind.

I could have made it the 20-30 miles home, but I was really suffering. It was really hot, and I knew I couldn’t sustain their pace. I decided to pull the plug, and called my wife to come pick me up. I could have limped home at my own pace, but that didn’t sound too appealing.

So, I rode 60 miles for the day. Still respectable. The kicker is, my average speed was nearly 17 mph! This is VERY fast for me, especially for a long ride with plenty of hills. Here’s a map.

The BBC riders were very kind and welcoming, but philosophically, we couldn’t have been more different. I like to stop frequently, take photos, check out the scenery, etc. They just like to ride, stopping as little as possible. We only stopped twice in the 60 miles before lunch. By the way, I’m not complaining; it was illuminating to try a different style of riding. And, it felt good to push myself more than usual.

I think next time I’ll try one of their Saturday rides. Apparently these have more riders and break up into faster/slower groups. Hopefully I can find some other riders who are more my pace.

On our way out of Bloomington, we took Kerr Creek Road down from State Road 46 — a first for me. This is a fantastic downhill with some twists and turns. The valley was cool, but very humid. My mirror fogged up as soon as we reached the bottom of the hill.

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We had to cross this under-construction area very carefully.

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For a while, it looked like rain was imminent. It never materialized.

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Once we got past this point, the roads were new to me.

The sun came back out …

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The lakes were just beautiful.

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The route got flatter for a while …

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I started losing ground …

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I would love to spend more time out in the Cordry/Sweetwater Lakes area. I spotted some gravel roads out of the corner of my eye as we flew through here. In particular, those would be worth exploring sometime.

10 Responses to “Getting in over my head”

  1. Errin Says:

    That’s a great pace over that distance! Keep it up!

  2. George Rutherford Says:

    Very nice, your style of riding and stopping for photos is what I’d like to work up to, kind of like a scavenger hunt with a camera and a bike.

  3. Tim S Says:

    that’s what I felt like towards the end of our mixed-terrain effort in April. I just keep getting slower, and slower, and slower.

    60m at that pace is great.

  4. Bill Lambert Says:

    Yea, club rides are different! It took me quite a while to get used to the idea of riding faster than I should be riding over a long distance. Over the past year, I’ve experienced many rides just like you have. But if you keep showing up, soon you’ll find that other people are in the same boat you are in, and once they get to know you, they’ll slow up and ride with you. However, some groups of riders just hammer, so you’ll want to ride with different groups so that you can find people who will push you, but who you can hang with and enjoy riding with.

    The other thing I’ve found is that I try to eat well before I ride (avoid fatty foods), and try to eat at least 400 – 500 calories per hour. I figure I burn 50 – 60 calories per mile, but if I can replace 1/2 of those calories every ten miles or so for the first half of the ride, the second half of the ride is much more doable. I still don’t have the nutrition thing figured out, but at least I can stay with some of the faster riders (in the 3 Rivers club touring group) for much of the ride.

    This Ride Across Indiana thing I signed up for and sent my money in to has me terrified. I’m doing another century this Saturday and want to do at least one more before I go on vacation the week after 4th of July. The good thing is I got my new real wheel for my old Trek, and that bike is a faster ride than my Tricross. I’m planning on riding through the first 120 miles and suffering greatly the last 40. But I figure everyone else around me at that point will be miserable too, so that helps a little.

  5. Bill Lambert Says:

    Actually I meant to say “rear wheel” instead of “real wheel” above. I guarantee it is real though, it is not imaginary.

  6. Apertome Says:

    Bill: Yeah, I definitely didn’t eat enough on Sunday. I’m used to stopping to eat but I guess people were eating while riding. I haven’t gotten the hang of that.

  7. Michael Finger Says:

    Michael, you did great on that ride. After I heard what average you were accustomed to, I couldn’t believe you hung with us for as long as you did. If you want to ride like that all you have to do is show up and I’m sure you’ll get used to the pace within a few rides. However, it sounds like you have a preference for a different style of riding, which is a fine way to do it as well. You were actually working harder than the rest of us, since you were taking all those excellent photos while we were just riding our bikes.

  8. Apertome Says:

    Mike,

    Yes … I generally take my time more and see sights along the way. But, I still want to be a stronger rider, and rides like this certainly help. The photos don’t really take much additional effort, just taking out the camera at opportune times, but thanks!

  9. Chandra Says:

    You are slowly tending towards the Rando group! Bravo!!
    Peace 🙂

  10. John Says:

    Hammer heads. They are in every club, but there are usually three or four different levels on club rides. That type of riding is not for me and I usually let them blast off before I ride with my “back of the pack” group.

    I was training in double pace-lines with the Brown University cycle club a few years back. I was able to keep up for three weeks but their training and youth convinced me to drop out. Especially when the average speed began exceeding 20mph.

    We have our nitch in the cycle world.

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