Strong. Fast. Ready.

I did not sleep well Sunday evening. I was filled with anticipation, anxiety, and excitement about biking into work for the first time in 2012. It was the normal jitters about a first ride, but it was also the anxiety of taking a new route. Michael recently discovered a quicker, easier, more direct way to go from our house that avoided a major intersection on the Highway. Sounds great, right? That one intersection I used to take was terrifying.

The day was supposed to get up to 80 degrees, but early in the morning it was 48 degrees and a bit chilly. I started out, feeling really good, and took the new route. So far so good. The new route had bike lanes, but it also had major construction going on too. Part of the road was closed off with cones and there was a CAT machine parked in the bike lane. Luckily, the road was nearly empty that early in the morning so I zipped on through without issues.

The new route also went by a bunch of schools, so the cars that were around were going slowly.

My body was feeling good so far. It was my first official commute of the season. Last year, my first commute was on May 4, 2011–so I wasn’t too late starting (like I thought I was) and those first few times I didn’t do the full route. I’m happy that I started the season STRONG!

I liked the new route, despite the construction. I also found that there were quite a few detours on my commute since the last time I did it (last October). I biked through Sellwood and picked up the Springwater Corridor to downtown.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. It was quiet out and there weren’t a lot of other cyclists. The Springwater trail is usually where I can speed up and make up some ground but it was just a wall of wind that I was trying to bike into.

I got to downtown and nearly got run over by a big moving van that decided to change lanes across the bike lane that’s in the middle and did not see me, or did not care. Luckily I saw what he was doing and pulled back. Still, it did not make me happy!

I got to work with plenty of time to spare, feeling really great about my first ride. I’m using a new cycling app, which I will write more about later. I am doubtful that my speed was actually 5 mph. Hmmm. I like the cool stats it gives:

Looks like I got up to nearly 25mph in a few spots. And the elevation map is cool, too. The hills at the beginning are my neighborhood and the super flat ending is the Springwater and downtown.

Morning Stats:
Time:  58 minutes
Calories Burned: 555
Distance Biked: 11.78 miles 


Afternoon Commute

The day warmed up nicely. I left all my cold weather gear in the office to lighten my load home, bought a water bottle because I forgot mine at home, and got ready to go. I ate well during the day, but still suffered from insatiable hunger that was gnawing at my stomach. Nothing seemed to satisfy it.

The Morrison Bridge opened recently — it was closed for most of last year’s cycling season — and taking the Morrison gets me out of downtown faster and easier than the route I used to take.

I crossed the bridge and got to the Springwater Trail in no time at all, my legs tackling hills with ease, and I didn’t have to stop to rest at my usual spots like I did last year. In fact, I only stopped about once during my commute home.

MIND THE SINKHOLE! Over the winter, part of the Springwater trail fell into the river. Clearly it has not been repaired yet. It was rather sketchy on the trail there.

Taking the new route home was much better, but uphill most of the way.  I was STRONG. I was FAST. I felt GOOD. Thank you spin class! The winter months paid off. I felt like a rockstar on my ride home. My body felt so good.

When I got home I wanted to do a happy dance because my ride was SO AWESOME! For the first ride of the season, I am 100% happy and the next day I was not sore at all. How cool is that?

Afternoon Stats:
Time:  52 minutes
Calories Burned: 480
Mileage: 10.4

Total Stats:
Mileage:  22.18
Average Speed: 13.54 mph
Fastest Speed: 33.04 mph
Total Calories Burned:  1034

A friend of Michael’s was over for dinner so the three of us sat outside in the warm, sunny evening and grilled burgers for dinner. I wanted to eat everything in sight.

It was a fantastic day all around.

QUESTION: Okay, who’s with me? Who wants to make a goal to commute to work by bike this summer?