17 Aug 2015

17th August 2015 Sunday ride autopsy.

Monday 17th 63F, 17C, light breeze, bright but cloudy. I have my emails back but I'm still almost deaf in my left ear. What will this week bring? No walk. Spent the morning clipping a high hedge with a heavy extended shaft, hedge clipper. So that's my week's month's weight lifting sessions all rolled into one day. Short Afternoon ride. Blowing a gale! 12mph on the aero bars going. An effortless 20mph on my return. Only 7 miles but every one counts.

A chap on the triking forum has just done a 130 mile ride. His longest so far on a trike. In the last five years of trike rediscovery I have managed several rides in the low to mid 80s of miles. By coincidence that equates to 130 km in Euros. [miles x 1.61 = km] Despite the speeds I read on the computer my average for the day has settled down at around 10mph including all stops. My cycling fitness continues to increase with passing time, but my average speed for the day does not. Perhaps I have lost the will to suffer unduly by exerting myself beyond the slightly uncomfortable? Don't get me wrong: I "press on" constantly and always maintain a high cadence. "Ordinary" cyclists are usually passed at twice their own speed and quickly disappear into the far distance in my rear view mirror. Riding at such speeds has become merely normal. With no great effort required even on climbs.

So, like it or not, 130 miles, even assuming I was capable of reaching that figure, would require 13 hours of effort. And probably, rather more than one cheese sandwich. Perhaps my distance handicap is the direct result of starvation and dehydration after all? Yesterday I ate my morning bowl of organic muesli at 6am with one cup of black coffee and one cup of tea without milk. This was followed, several hours later, by morning coffee with a couple of rounds of toast with marmalade. When I finally set off at about 9.30am on my trike, I was carrying two rounds of cheese sandwich, one banana and one small box of pure apple juice. The banana was eaten at 1pm, with the first sandwich and the second round of cheese at 2.30pm. My water bottle in its cage returned home still more than half full. I really do not enjoy drinking warm water but hate the idea of fruit juice in the bottle gathering germs even more.

I felt no hunger nor thirst while I was out on my ride but felt physically tired at times. Yet my computer still insisted that I was cruising at 16mph for most of the time. I visited several garden centers on my route and struggled to find one particular one due to taking too many left turns rather too often. I was beginning to recognise the racket coming from the same hedge cutters and the same lawnmowers. Eventually I broke with habit and asked a lady for directions. The church I had been circling, on identical suburban roads, was the wrong one! One right turn and there was my beacon in shining white distemper with the plant place I was really seeking directly opposite.

Once I had returned home I drank several glasses of cold water, more apple juice and later, tea and toast. Even a cretin could see the weakness in my energy and liquid consumption to match my energy output on any ride beyond the merely mundane shopping trip. Yet, just getting the sandwiches down is very hard work! I must be thirsty became the bread takes on the quality of a thick wad of sandpaper still on its sanding block. The apple juice is enjoyable but adds nothing much in the way of energy. Eating sweets or chocolate on my ride lacks interest. I would be stuffing my face with the same hands which have been in contact with filthy bar tape and brake levers. Wrapped sweets would require dexterity with one hand while wrestling the trike over sunken drains, arsefelt ravines and potholes. Remember that a trike bucks in three dimensions to the bike's only two.

Perhaps it really is long overdue that I followed the pro's practice of eating energy bars and gels. [Whatever they are?] My water bottle consumes more far energy than it ever gives back. Even with temperatures in the 70s F in bright sunshine I am not often tempted to drink from it. I am rather out of touch with the price of sweets and chocolate bars since I never buy nor eat any. Not in many decades. The supposedly elevated price of energy bars may even equate favourably to a normal [heavily TV advertised] snack bar for all I know. I never even glance at the truly vast array which hems in the checkouts at every supermarket I visit.

What I do know is that, as the years pass ever more swiftly, I have still not developed a strategy for replacing the energy I consume on my rides. Procrastination is obviously the root of my sagging energy levels. Just dragging around the extra weight of a trike puts me at a severe disadvantage against the usually much younger riders on their lightweight carbon steeds. Yet still I compete against these weekend warriors with their knotted, tanned and sinewy legs. I'd have them too if it were not for the concealing rugs. Despite my age I am the same teenage fool who competed against everything else on two wheels over half a century ago. The same idiot who sprinted away from home and then rode "furiously" until I finally braked hard outside my home on my safe return.

Tuesday 19th 61-70F, 16-21C, bright sunshine but blowing an easterly gale. A dry forecast but 30+mph winds. Not much help when I would be blown into the sea before I had ridden very far. That's the downside to living near the bottom left of an island. Over an hour and half walk in warm, windy weather. Lots of farming activity.

Still blowing a gale when I left mid afternoon. The gusts were fierce enough to raise the roar to a higher pitch. Tootled about between my shopping targets. Occasionally hiding beneath the handle bar stem to avoid fierce headwinds. Still lots of farming going on.  24 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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