This year has been an adventure by bicycle for me. In April, I purchased my first road / hybrid bicycle with plans to ride some bike trails and possibly commute to work. Well, I have done that and more. I have ridden the bike trail here in our town, which is about 20 miles round trip. I rode part of the Little Miami Trail between Yellow Springs, Ohio and Xenia, Ohio. I've commuted to work about 8 times or so.
I've done so much more than that, though. I've officially put 409 miles on my bicycle this year. I'm not sure if I'll get much more riding in because I'm a pretty fair weather rider and it's turned chilly here in Ohio. These 409 miles include the trail rides, commuting, and 4 organized rides.
This spring, I signed up for a covered bridge ride Southwest of Dayton, Ohio. This was a lot of fun, but the challenge became evident when I arrived and they told me the routes were different than advertised. Instead of 30 miles, I had to choose between 15 miles or 48 miles. I figured I might as well do the longer since I had traveled 2 hours for the ride. After a wrong turn near the end, this turned into a 55 mile ride. The biggest challenge was the hills, I think. This was also my first experience with serious leg cramps. I've never felt my thighs spasm like that.
Next, I road a local charity ride for Rally Point Youth Center. Being in a fairly flat area of Ohio, I figured this would be an easy 50 miles. Again, the challenge became wind from the half way point all the way back and leg cramps at the 40 mile mark. 40 mile leg cramps has become a common thing for me to fight through. I also got drenched when it started raining around mile 45. This was worth finishing for the recovery massage though!
We traveled to Columbus, Ohio for Bike the C-bus later in the summer. This was a 27 mile ride, meaning no 40 mile leg cramps! I really enjoyed this ride, exploring parts of Columbus I usually don't get to see. It was great to see food trucks and free Snowville Chocolate Milk at the end!
Finally, this past weekend, I signed up to ride Tour de Putnam in Putnam County, Ohio. This started in Ottawa, Ohio and there were options of 25-, 75-, and 100 miles. Well, there was no 50 mile option and I knew 25 wouldn't be enough challenge on a fairly flat ride for me. I decided it was time to commit and push myself past 50 miles. This ride started in dense fog that built up on my glasses, making it very difficult to see. It continues to beyond the half way point into the wind. By the time I got to mile 57 (pit stop), I was wondering if I was going to make it to 75. I had been cramping a bit, but the new energy drink I brought seemed to be helping.
After a sandwich and some other snacks, I decided I needed to push on with black clouds to the North and sprinkles falling. From this point on, I didn't see many other riders...possibly because I was one of only a few to turn off on the 75 route instead of going the full 100. By about mile 65, my legs were giving out and my back hurt. I took one of my Gu Energy Gels and pedaled on into the sprinkles. At some point, the pavement became very wet. I'm not sure how I missed the rain. I arrived back six and a half hours after starting and went in to check back in. They told me there was food in a room down the hall. To my surprise, they had massage people there! I scarfed down a sandwich, potato salad, and some chips before heading over for a recovery massage. Ahhhhh...that felt amazing.
I'm really proud of accomplishing 75 miles! I never thought at the beginning of the year that I'd be pushing through 75 miles at any one time. Maybe I'm proving to my brain that I'm capable. I'm extremely sore today...two days after the ride, but I imagine that's to be expected. I'm probably pretty much done riding for this year unless I find another ride when the weather's going to be nice. I wore leg and arm warmers for the ride Saturday and that helped a lot, but as the temperatures continue to drop, I think I'll be done.