training ride

Last Chance

Last chance long bike ride!!

It’s official: Michael and I signed up for our biking event. While I’d hoped to do a full century this summer, so many things go in the way of that. Lots and lots of flat tires, for one. There were a few weeks there where I had a flat tire every day. That sucked. This summer we also traveled more than we’ve ever traveled before. We had a wedding in Dallas, celebrated our anniversary in Austin, had my family reunion, visited my family in Seattle, and went to Hawaii for a week.

We signed up for the Salem Peach of a Century. Instead of the full century, we’re doing the Metric Century–62 miles. The weather is supposed to be nice. The route fairly easy without a ton of elevation. And it was cheap. About $50 less than the Harvest Century coming up in a few weeks (some day I will do that one).

Sunday was our last chance at a long bike ride before tapering. I ate a breakfast of an English muffin with cream cheese on it and about 1/2 cup of leftover couscous and then we set off. We went a little different route to get to the Springwater trail this time, which was good for shaking things up. There was a big hill right off the bat and I did okay on it. That made me feel really good.

Then the route turned into my commute to work. I breezed through that, passed downtown and then we wound our way through North Portland. I was feeling fantastic. Legs were good, body was good, energy was spot-on. Michael was a little slow and said his back was bothering him. It wasn’t bad enough that he wanted to quit, though.

We took the route through North Portland that as great bike lanes. We’d been biking for about an hour and decided to stop at Hopworks BikeBar on North Williams. At this point, we’d probably biked about 15 miles. I burned 536 calories before lunch.

There was some outdoor seating (which was perfect because we didn’t bring the bike lock). It was a hot, sunny day and it was nice to just be outside. I got an iced tea and we both ordered the lunch special: a slice of pizza with a salad and a drink.

I went with the cheese pizza. Pizza is a good option for lunch on these long rides we do because getting a slice is fast and easy and it’s just enough food to be satisfied, but not so much food we have to mess with leftovers or a bloated stomach from too much food. I’m sure the carbs help, too.

Lunch was really nice and hit the spot. Then it was back on the bikes. I was still feeling really good. We took some neighborhood streets through the backroads to get to the bike lanes that lead to Marine Drive. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic. This is the part of town that makes me anxious. I don’t necessarily feel safe on my bike and there aren’t always bike lanes that are sufficient. I’ve also had some negative experiences with aggressive drivers here. But luckily, this didn’t happen Sunday.

We made it to Marine Drive in no time at all and the trail was smooth-sailing. The wind was at my back, my body felt great, and I just zipped through the trail. Michael zipped a little bit faster than me, as per usual. πŸ™‚

The 40-mile loop through Portland is a great way to practice for long biking events. You can add on miles depending on which routes you take. It’s also a pretty ride. We usually go a specific way and this time we went counter-clockwise instead. This meant that we had a really big hill to tackle once we got to the I-205 bike path.

I struggled on a short, steep hill and so did Michael. He had been feeling much better on the bike until that mini-hill. I was slow and felt like my legs would NOT get me to the top. We stopped to rest in a little park before THE BIG HILL. The photo above is new art on the drinking fountain–a dog and a kid. It’s cute in person, the photo didn’t turn out very well.

I drank a bunch of water and Gatorade and had one of my GUs. I bemoaned the upcoming hill and Michael did, too. As it turned out, the anticipation of that hill was worse than actually doing it. I hunkered down, changed my gears and looked down at my front tire as I powered up the hill. Not looking ahead at the climb before me has helped in the past, and it helped again this time! It’s not that it’s necessarily steep; the challenge is that is forever. The hill is such a slow, deliberate, long climb that it’s easy to lose steam mid-way through. This time, I did not!

The rest of the ride was literally downhill from there. It was nice to have a bit of a break and be able to coast a little. Unfortunately, this is also where my lower back started to bother me a bit. I told myself: “you’re almost home, you can do it” a dozen times and the back pain disappeared.

Calories Burned: 1480
Miles Biked: 37.5
Time: Β 3 hours 9 minutes

Salem Century: Sunday, September 23rd. I hope I’m ready!!!

When we got home, I Β made us protein shakes for recovery. A little while later, a friend came over for dinner. It was a thank you to her for taking care of my cats while we went to Hawaii. Michael made his famous fish n’ chips (this time with tilapia), I made corn on the cob and caprese salads to go with it.

Dinner was delicious. And I could have eaten three more of ’em! πŸ˜‰

I also made dessert: chocolate pudding. I added some bedazzlers to it, some chocolate chips and chopped cashews to add some texture to the thickness. It was delicious. And less than 200 calories for dessert.

We sat outside on the deck in the warm evening and enjoyed a well-earned dinner. Then I shared the Hawaii photos with my friend before sending her off with lots of goodies from Hawaii.

I’m also now on DailyMile, so friend me–although I don’t know how good I will be about updating it. But I’ll try! Back to biking. I have one more bike commute planned for this week and then I taper. I will swim on Friday night, take Saturday off from working out altogether, and then the Metric Century on Sunday. Wish me luck!

QUESTION: Did you do any events or races this summer? How did they go?Β 


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!Β 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?