January 22, 2006

Too much exercise

A friend at work is trying to talk me into riding the Chilly Hilly on February 26. It's a 33-mile bike ride on Bainbridge Island with a total of 2875 feet of altitude gain. This is a far cry from my usual day's ride which is 3 very flat miles each way.

So today I took a longer and climbier ride to see if this is even doable in a little over a month. The answer: maybe. Here's a cool map and altitude profile of today's ride using the google maps pedometer. My odometer says I rode 18 miles vs. the virtual pedometer's 16.3, but I think that's just from rounding off corners and ignoring a couple little divergences from the basic route. So there's some comparable climbing, though not as many up and downs.

I felt pretty good right up until the last three miles (which are coincidentally my normal commute) at which point I was running out of steam. This could be because I did the ride first thing in the morning (for a jeffy definition of "morning") and didn't eat before I left or along the way. Dumb, I know.

The eating issue actually points to one of the things that's going to be hardest for me in doing a ride of this length. As long-time readers will know, I've got a medical condition that makes it hard for me to swallow stuff. Some portion of any food or liquid I consume just sits in my esophagus for a long time unless I drink water for an hour after eating, or actively spit it out. This is an issue even drinking water on the bike. The last of the water stays in my throat and if I'm not careful I can accidentally inhale it especially when I'm puffing like a steam engine as I was for a large portion of this ride. It's easily fixed, I just have to spit it out, but I feel kind of self-concious about doing this around other people, and on a ride with 4,000 other cyclists there will be other people around. I guess I just need to get over it. It becomes more of an issue when I'm riding in chilly weather (and I'm probably straying into the area of Too Much Information here (as if I haven't already), so if you're squeamish, skip the rest of this paragraph...) my nose gets runny, as I assume pretty much everyone's does. Blowing your nose on the bike is pretty awkward so the natural tendency is to do some aggressive inhaling and make the drip post-nasal. That works fine if stuff in your throat gets swallowed, but not so much in my case. (I must admit that the whole mucus question is part of why I haven't taken up swimming at the local pool. Pathetic, I know.)

Okay, I'm done being gross now. I enjoyed the ride overall. It took a little under an hour and a half on the bike to do the 18 miles, and about two hours total door to door (my trip odometer only counts time when the bike is moving.) At about mile seven I stopped for a little while at the Sammamish Library and browsed a bit (picked up a stack of CDs). They have a very cool display of NW native-style wood carvings made by the students of a local woodworking school I'd never heard of, Beaver Lake WoodWorks. The pieces on display were very cool. I might have to take one of their classes! The studio where it's taught is about six miles from here, though it's up that dang hill...

Posted by jeffy at January 22, 2006 08:48 PM

It's doable. My old commute used to be a total of
6 flat miles a day, and one Sunday I rode about 95
miles to Half Moon Bay and back, across the Santa
Cruz mountains twice. I was only lightly killed.

Posted by: Dan L at January 23, 2006 11:26 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?