Marine Drive

40

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.

Stats:
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?

The Portland Century – Part 1

I’m writing this recap freshly showered, foam rolled, fed and wearing my compression tights. I have a few hours before my massage. When I signed up for the Portland Century Ride I had only one goal:

I’m not a fast cyclist. I’m pretty steady and consistent rather than speedy. I had no expectations of completing the ride in a certain amount of time. I just wanted to complete the 70 miles successfully. Michael and I woke up early Sunday morning, 6 a.m. early, and ate our normal breakfast before heading downtown to PSU. Michael was silly in his suggestion “we just bike from the house to downtown.” Hmm nah. If I’m going to do 100 miles it’s going to be on a course not commuting home. 😉

We parked the car and checked our bags at PSU and then we were off!


It was about 7:45 a.m. and 65 degrees–no need for arm warmers or warm cycling gear at all! Michael and I set out following the yellow signs. I almost bit it right off the bat. We were biking down the street from PSU when suddenly the street ended in a sidewalk. Michael went over the sidewalk with his bike and was okay. I knew I would not be okay and I slammed on my brakes–of course forgetting I was clipped in. I came “THIS CLOSE” to just falling over two blocks from the start. Luckily I caught myself and did not crash at the start of the race.


We rode through downtown in the quiet of early Sunday morning. They had part of Naito Parkway closed near the waterfront. We biked along the water and then up to the top of the Steel Bridge.


I’ve never ridden over the top of the Steel Bridge–just on the lower deck. It was a little nerve wracking being that high up. We got to the Rose Garden transit area–part of where we’ve been riding during our training! It felt comfortable and familiar.


The trail changed from the familiar after that. We biked up Interstate to Greeley-which is a very slow, long, gradual hill up passed the Adidas Campus.


I’ve never biked over in that area. It was really scenic. It winded around to Overlook/Willamette and overlooked downtown and the city. I wasn’t familiar with that area at all and basically just followed the guy in front of me.


The bike paths through the neighborhoods in North Portland ended when we got to I think Columbia and the route turned onto a path that wound through the area to the first Rest Stop.

So far I was feeling really good. I think the first rest stop was at about Mile 10.


Bike N’ Hike (a local bike store here) was one of the sponsors and they had a booth set up helping people fix bike issues–which made me feel pretty safe and confident that if something happened along the course I’d be okay. I honestly wasn’t that hungry at the first Rest Stop. Our breakfast was pretty big and filled me up. But I did eat a few donut holes…


There was a lot of options but like I said, I wasn’t hungry. I skipped the Larabars, bananas and bagels. Michael had a bagel with peanut butter on it and then we continued on.


The first half of the ride was the most comfortable. The weather was perfect–not too hot yet. We left the area and biked through winding roads in the middle of nowhere and finally looped around to Marine Drive! Familiar territory!


For most of this part, including the Marine Drive path, I drafted off a group of riders in front of me. They were going about my pace and it made me work less! Smart Lisa. I barely had to pedal. It was a nice break. After Marine Drive the route diverted. The 33 Mile Route people crossed Marine Drive to the 1-205 Path and the 70/100 Mile Route people turned left onto Marine Drive. This was a pretty long chunk in areas I wasn’t entirely familiar with it. This part was a bit hard–my lower back started to ache. I was worried and anxious about it but tried to put it out of my mind.


We made our way to Blue Lake Park– the second Rest Stop. By that time we’d done about 24 miles I think.

I got off the bike and used the port-a-potty (which was super fun when you’re wearing bib shorts under your jersey!), reapplied lots of sunscreen and stretched a lot. At this Rest Stop I ate two mini cookies, half a banana, 1/4 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some cantaloupe slices. I just wanted a little pick me up before we got to the hard part…

 To Be Continued….

QUESTION: If you are a cyclist, which part is more challenging: hills or sitting in the saddle for long periods of time?