I-205 Bike Path


Sunday was going to be the first 40 mile bike ride of the season for me. Michael had done it many times in the last few months since he’s out of work right now. I’ve been relying on my commutes to work to get my mileage up. But it was time. Now or never. The event is a month away.

Looking at last year, our first 40 mile ride took us 4 hours (different route) and then our first attempt at this 40 mile loop took us 3:44. How would this year go?

We started the morning off with watching Tour de France and eating breakfast. 1.5 scrambled eggs, 1 turkey sausage link, black beans, unsweetened iced tea and strawberries. We were about to get going when Michael discovered he had a flat tire. At least it happened in the house and not 20 miles from the house.

Our start was delayed and we didn’t actually get on the bikes until after 11:30. And the temperatures were rising steadily. I slathered on the sunscreen and I also wore my new cycling jersey. I bought it for $30 (regularly $80!) and it fits great. For snacks I brought dried apricots and GUs (which I never ate), water and a water mixed with energy powder.

Michael and I set out on the I-205 bike path north which is essentially an uphill climb for about 15 miles. It really is uphill almost the entire time. Sometimes it’s a gradual grade, sometimes it’s a steep climb. I was actually feeling okay on the hills! I think riding to work has gotten me better at it.

There wasn’t really much to see or report on the 205 path. We connected with Marine Drive and were then biking the next few miles into a wall of wind. At least the wind felt nice on the hot, hot day.

We rode along the water and then eventually stopped to help a guy out who had a flat. He borrowed my bike pump and then was on his way.

I got two compliments on my new cycling jersey–the first from the guy with the flat and the second from another cyclist who came up along side me and said “I love your jersey!” Too funny! I thought for sure I’d get compliments from women, not guys.

We left the trail and picked up the bike lanes through North Portland, taking Dekum to Vancouver. We stopped briefly at a convenience store, resting in the shade. Michael got himself a Pepsi and I got a Gatorade. I drank half and put the rest in my empty water bottle. I also had a snack of dried apricots before we pushed on.

Dekum did not have bike lanes but there wasn’t much traffic there. Vancouver has super wide bike lanes and I love it! At this point of the day it was very, very hot, almost 90 degrees. I was starting to really feel the heat. The heat makes me feel slow on the bike and there wasn’t much of a breeze to cool me off.

We rode by the Rose Garden and then picked up the Esplanade downtown. The rest of the ride was basically my commute home. The Springwater Trail was very crowded because it was so nice out.

The first 25 miles felt fantastic! My body was good, I felt light on the bike, my legs felt strong, my back was comfortable–no complaints at all. The next 5 miles were slightly uncomfortable. My lower back was getting fatigued. The last 10 or so miles were brutal: I was tired, I was thirsty and what I brought was not helping and it was disappearing quickly, my neck hurt, my back hurt, my FEET hurt (next time wear thicker socks for padding) and I was just ready to be off the bike.

Time: 3:16
Calories Burned: 1753
Mileage: 36.6 miles (almost 40, not sure where you shaved off 3 miles)

Michael and I shared a recovery protein drink and I happily showered the grit, sweat, sunscreen and bike grease off my body! We went to Little Big Burger in SE Portland to grab one of their small burgers as a lunch/dinner. I like that place because the burgers are the size of sliders and they are oh so good! We split an order of truffle fries.

Even though I burned over 1700 calories, I oddly wasn’t that hungry. I blame the heat. It was a good first long ride but it did make me doubt whether or not I’ll be ready to do 100 miles in a month’s time….

In good news: the next day I felt completely normal. My recovery is awesome! That is really good news!

Finally, check out this great post by Suzanne on three success stories!

QUESTION: What’s a summer fitness goal you’re working towards accomplishing? How is it going?

Have I Lost It?

Saturday was supposed to be sunny and 60 degrees! Woohoo! 60 degrees in March? I’ll take it! I was so excited about the prospect of some warmer weather and getting some vitamin D. So when Michael suggested we go for a bike ride, I said definitely.

Then we played the oh-so-fun game “What do we wear biking today?” It’s a sometimes frustrating game because until summer time, it’s really hard to gauge how cold it will really be outside on the bike. We both rode around our cul-de-sac while we decided what to wear. I settled on no cycling tights, just my super-pale bare legs in shorts, and a short sleeved cycling jersey with my arm warmers. I wore one of Michael’s base layer tank tops underneath my new cycling jersey.

It was cool in the shade and the wind was strong, but once we were in the sunshine we were comfortable. The arm warmers were the right choice. I ended up taking those off later. Michael and I biked from our house to the I-205 Bike Path and headed North. There was a headwind the entire way but I didn’t mind it.

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know it’s been a long time since I was out on my bike for reals. In fact, November was the last time I ventured out on my bike outside. For the last four and a half months or so I have been faithfully going to Spin class once a week. My goal was to increase it to twice a week but I still haven’t done it because that would mean giving up one of my weight lifting days and I don’t want to do that.

My hope was that Spin class would keep my base steady throughout the winter. Saturday was my chance to see if it worked. The verdict was not quite what I was expecting. The first medium sized hill I came to almost killed me. My THIGHS WERE ON FIRE. I kid you not. I got to the top of the hill where Michael was waiting at a stop light, my heart rate was 170 (that’s high for me) and I was out of breath. Damn.

Each big hill was a challenge for sure. I was starting to feel discouraged about all the time I’ve put into those Spin classes. And then the hills got easier. Maybe I was just rusty? The hills got a little easier, my recovery time improved, and my energy was just fine. I did not feel tired at all, even with a headwind.

The even better news? I did not feel fatigued in the saddle at all. I think Spin class has at the very least has kept my comfortable sitting in the saddle. Plus, all the weight lifting and core work kept my upper body, back, and shoulders  from getting fatigued.

The downside of the beautiful spring day as that my allergies really wreaked havoc on me. I’d also forgotten to take any Claratin before the bike ride.

We turned around and headed South on the I-205 Bike Path to where it connected to the Springwater Trail. We decided to take the trail West into Sellwood to stop somewhere for lunch.

We ended up at Pizzicato for lunch. Michael ordered a slice of pizza and a spinach salad. I got the mozzarella, spinach, basil and tomato panini. Ever since that delicious sandwich I had at the East Side Deli, I’ve been craving a panini. The one I had for lunch was quite good. The spinach salad with feta, tomatos and pine nuts was even better.

Looks pretty good, huh? It was! After we finished our lunch we headed back home. It was still warm and sunny out and I was enjoying my time on the bike. I still felt comfortable on the bike and was really happy that we went out together.


Time: 2:15
Total Calories Burned: 1101
Total Mileage: 23.25 

The verdict of my Spin class is that I am going to continue going because I feel like it has kept me comfortable in the bike saddle. My goal is to now challenge myself more on the hill climbs in class. I think I’ve been going easy on myself.

QUESTION: Have you noticed a difference between a fitness class and the actual fitness outside of the class? Was there a big difference for you?