With half the year gone, I finally managed to make a personal mileage accomplishment. Today I rode a whopping 50 miles. At once. I had to go around the block a time or two and got lost in the maze that is our subdivisions here but mileage is mileage. For those not in the know 50 miles is what’s called a 1/2 Century.
Tons of people who ride do it all the time like it’s nothing but I haven’t been able to get past the bonk around the 45-48 mile mark in some time now. It was frustrating. Part of it is a mindset, I know and another part is the weather. Let’s face it, it’s HOT in Arizona this time of year. There are times of the day it’s just plain dangerous to be outside, in the sun, unless, perhaps you are wearing 300 SPF sunblock and even then, not ideal.
The excessive heat, unrelenting sun, and lack of shade drain energy faster than a 1st gen iPhone. The key is to start early. I’m just NOT an early morning person so it’s been rough. Add in that traffic is a bitch here in my side of the Valley with the commuters trying to get out of what is essentially a separate part of the city divided by a major Interstate with limited points of entry and exit and you have a set of conditions not real favorable to a cyclist.
I am not a quitter and endurance is the name of the game so I set out this morning to do that 50 and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I mainly ride what’s called a Hybrid which is sort of cross between a touring bike/mountain bike/ road bike. It’s not really designed for 50 mile rides but rather more leisurely treks. With my modified tires and upgraded components, it’s been a faithful friend for those 10 milers all the way up to the 50. It handles the roads and the less aggressive unpaved bike paths. But really, it’s not designed for 50 miles and I feel every last one of them.
As I train now for the Metric Century (62 miles in a single ride) and a full Century (100 miles) I believe I will switch to my sleek road bike for those longer rides. I’ve been hesitant to take it out since I got to Arizona mainly due to the traffic. My road bike is a lightweight mile-eating machine that chews up the pavement. The problem is, sometimes the pavement runs out and the road bike has super skinny tires that scare the crap out of me on uneven surfaces.
Other things worry me when thinking about taking out that slick expensive road bike…inconsiderate drivers.
Turn signals. In a car, not on a bike. That would be the little lever to the left of your steering wheel that goes up or down and activates the pretty lights on the back of your car to signal your intent to make a turn. Get it? SIGNAL. Auto makers did not put them in cars as a nifty feature because they look cool. Use them. Nothing sucks worse than for a cyclist (or another car) to have to come to a screeching halt with a near faceplant just because you are an idiot who doesn’t know how to drive.
I am not ashamed to admit that inappropriate words fly into my brain and out my mouth when this happens. It happens a lot. Way more here in Phoenix than ever in Illinois. Maybe it’s the ratio of drivers is higher here so, more idiots. Who knows, I just know it really makes me feel like kicking your car. Hard.
Wrong way riders. Listen carefully if you ride a bike. Bikes ride WITH the traffic, not against it. And NEVER ride while texting, in the bike lane, on the wrong side of the road. I will be tempted to kick you over if I managed to not get creamed by a passing car since I have to get out of the way. Exception to the wrong way riders, kids on sidewalks. I get that.
I love being a cyclist but don’t always love the conditions. Even with all the asshats on the road, I cherish every mile rode. It’s the closest thing to nirvana, clears the mind, relieves stress and let’s face it, it doesn’t just burn calories, it crushes them!
June miles 202.4
Goal for July 300. Wish me luck!