Sunday, November 25, 2007

The problem with sharing your goals with others that they will ask you if you actually accomplished them.

I told colleagues, friends, kids, Team RocBike that I was planning to do my 45 mile bike ride over Thanksgiving weekend. All week, I've been watching the weather forecast, so that I could go on a relatively warm and dry day. Today was forecast to be in the mid-40's and mostly sunny. Perfect!

I woke up this morning with the sniffles, but not to be deterred, T. and I set out. We headed out to the Erie Canal Trail in Fairport, with the plan to bike to Newark and back, until we reached the magic number.

Don't we look cheery and optimistic?

The first 10 miles felt pretty good. By then, I had removed a lot my cold weather gear (fleece, gloves, hat, and sleeves off the biking jacket.) I was very comfortable, in terms of the weather. However, the terrain was not what I expected...(wet) crushed cinders. I expected the cinders, but hadn't considered the effect of the recent wet weather on the surface. At times it felt like I was biking in sand. You can see the mud that's splashed up on my bike (along with the remnants of Thanksgiving's snow).

I caught up with Tanya munching on her apple at Palmyra's Aqueduct Park.

When I told her that we were 1/4 of the way done (the odometer read 11.73), she uttered some words from which I will spare you. She hated biking on the surface we were on. What's more, when we did the math, we realized that we were going quite a bit slower than usual (I was biking about 60-75% of my usual MPH), and that there was no way we could get to Newark and back to the car before nightfall. Not wanting to bike after dark on the unlighted canal, since we both have headlights more useful for being seen by others than illuminating darkness, we came up with Plan B. Bike back to Fairport, have lunch there, then bike on to Genesee Valley Park, on a paved portion of the trail, and BACK to Fairport to the 45-mile mark.

Well, that seemed reasonable. We even biked a bit on the road just to give ourselves a break from the cinders. But here's another thing we didn't consider...the wind. That was the one thing that hadn't seemed perfect about the weather forecast, predicting gusts 15-20 MPH. I didn't think it would be too bad, but we were biking right into it. The last 6 miles to Fairport felt like twice that.

When I started out, I had told myself that if I started to feel like I was really making myself sick (since I had the sniffles), that I would stop. Those last 6 miles, I was feeling pretty achy. When I got to Fairport Village Coffee...

T. was already ensconced with a cup of coffee. We ordered some veggie chili and a portabella panini, plus I got myself a ginger soy decaf latte (all were excellent, by the way). And then we both agreed that we were done for the day. We would have had to really push it to finish before dark. It made me feel a little better that she, the stronger and faster athlete, was achy and tired, too. She had just biked her usual 20-mile route yesterday and had felt fine. We could only guess that the combination of the terrain and wind, quite frankly, were just more than we were ready for, given the time we had given ourselves to complete the ride.

But you know what? It's okay...I have till next May. I wanted to do it now, because I know it will be harder to get out on my bike over the winter months, and I've been cycling quite a bit this fall. But this will be incentive to keep in shape and keep biking! Considering that, until I set myself this challenge, biking 8 miles was about as much as I was willing to push myself, and then only in warm weather, I feel okay about it. It will happen! Can't you tell by the look on my face, at 24.24 miles? p.s. For cycling lessons learned, see my post at RocBike



Meg said...

Thanks for sharing the story, even though it didn't have the ending you were hoping for. Your efforts and your determination in the face of challenge are inspiring.

Tracy said...

I just found your blog! I am the same age as you (well, two months younger) and found myself thinking "why didn't I think of that?" Oh well...

Good luck with your biking goal. I do agree with your friend about the surface on some of the canal. It's terrible to bike on. I'm sure there's a better route for achieving that goal.