17 Sept. 2013: 1 month gone. My first 20 miles. I’m getting better!

I did 20 miles. This day was one month since I first got on the mountain bike for a serious ride. I averaged nearly 16 mph and did it in 1h17m. At this point I brought along two water bottles and a cliff bar in my pocket. One water bottle had some diluted no-carb orange Powerade zero. I was working on the belief that you don’t need carbs until 40 minutes in so whatever drink you use with electrolytes shouldn’t have carbs (sugar) in it until then. So I brought a cliff bar for those carbs. I don’t know how accurate I am in that thought but it seemed to work fine. After 50 minutes I was out of regular water in the first bottle and started the orange bottle. I was feeling good. I could tell I was using my muscles constantly, I could feel that slight burn of lactic acid building up if I really pressed on. I like to ride with just feeling it in the top of the knees and gear myself for nearly 90 rpm cadence. I knew by counting the Mississippi’s. At each number count the alternate foot hits the bottom of the down-stroke after a revolution. I’m popping two gears down and getting out of the saddle to burn up the short hills and rises just to keep the speed up and recover on the slight downhill on the other side. The Strava app has numerous sections put up for times during this route I have found and some names are seriously fast. As an idea of how fast I am compared to those times, I will list one name right here. A three mile section takes Taylor Phinney 6m16s to complete. Me? 11m14s. I am new, a month on the bike, and I am half as fast as an Olympic athlete who is young and is only going to get stronger! This is humbling seeing how much more work there is but I’m in no way trying to be that good. I never will be. I just want to be as good as possible. That is what this whole process of the 40th chainring is about.

That is the hard part. Knowing this is a long term challenge. Trying to keep myself going because it is so easy to slack off, but I can’t do that. There are too many things that need me to work on this project. Kids, family, work, etc. I’m not stressing out over this, it’s just that little push to stay on it. I’m having fun every time I ride. I rode past an older couple parked on the side of the road, both of them with easels were painting the scenery. I’ve noticed the grasshoppers are jumping everywhere in the fall. Hitting my shoe, riding a cycle and jumping off. The season is changing. It’s best to experience that instead of just watching.

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