One of my recent consistent goals has been to ride 75 miles in a weekend, the plan being that Friday can count as part of the weekend at first. Easier to get 75 miles in with 3 rides. And then the thought is I'll move to doing it within 2 days. That MIGHT be the most conditioning I'll do in preparation for my August century ride in Chicago.
I can't remember if I had made the 75 mile goal yet before this weekend - I know there have been a multitude of social obligations as well as some weather issues that have hung me up quite a bit. Nonetheless...I DID IT this weekend! YAY! Hit the goal and surpassed it - my total miles ridden over those 3 days, including today's 50-mile jaunt, is (and I had to do the math SEVERAL times to get this right)....90! WOO HOO!!!
My carpal tunnel is giving me fits - the bike really flares it up. Friday night it was there but pretty manageable, with just some opening and closing of my hands as I rode along. Saturday morning it started in on me at mile 2, and I fought it the whole ride...but didn't have to make any stops to deal with it. Today was a 50-mile ride, and my hands started acting up at mile 1. I used every coping-while-riding technique I know, and also had to make pretty frequent stops as my right hand especially just started feeling like a big meaty paw with almost zero feeling in it (hard to brake well with zero feeling in your fingers) and pain pulsing up my wrist and arm. Darn carpal tunnel. I came across some possible solutions for it recently, but haven't had the funds to buy the book. And no, if you're wondering...I'm not interested in the surgery. From what I understand, as long as one persists in continuing the offending behaviors, it just comes back anyway. And I'll not be stopping on the keyboard nor on the bike anytime soon - those are my two greatest contributors to the problem - so I'll just keep looking for non-surgical solutions. Though I've given this topic an entirely-too-long paragraph, it's not really a deterrent for the bike...soooo...onward and upward (says the lady who will sleep in wrist braces tonight and probably work in them tomorrow!)
The other fun element for the ride was the bugs. All of my bike paths run along water. And this is apparently "flying insect season" in full. All weekend I rode through continuous clouds of bugs. There are these blonde-colored winged insects that seem to be just EVERYWHERE; today early in the ride, one flew into my ear and then was trapped by my helmet strap. Major miracle, that I didn't crash while coping with that (some things just make you instantly crazy, ya know?!) Later, a gnat got caught between my glasses and my eyeball and did a little pinball game before I was able to wipe him away. Several times through the day, those blonde bugs shot foomp right between my helmet and my head - just hit at full speed and slid right in there, though none of 'em wiggled long, once lodged. Disconcerting, but I ignored it (and seemingly all their little carcasses exited my hair in the shower afterward.) I'm apparently learning how to ride without my usual big dumb happy bike-riding grin, cuz I don't think I swallowed a single bug all weekend. Projectile spit some...well, YEAH...but nobody went down the gullet. Ahhh progress. My least favorite of the little darlings are the ones that land directly on my face or the exposed part of my chest, and get instantly caught up in the gumminess of combined sweat, SPF 80, and dirt...and just struggle there, wiggling and wriggling until I get a free hand to wipe them away. Ahhh bug life.
Anyway, even with all that nonsense, being out on the bike is better than not being out on the bike. It was around 70 today and sunny - nice enough that I could wear short pants but long sleeves (surviving Melanoma makes one not as fond of the whole "tanning" craze - I'll be glowing white, thank you!)
My legs are less sore tonight than they have been after past 50 mile rides. I think that means my time on the Duck Creek path, conquering its frequent and steeper hills, has conditioned me nicely. Oh, I'm still sore tonight - but I didn't need a soak in the hot bathtub afterward, and THIS is progress. Which I could have guessed, by the very noticeable-of-late reduction of size of my thighs. While they are still massive to the unfamiliar gaze, I'm here to tell you...my mind is blown by how much smaller they "suddenly" seem (she says, two full years into biking, one full year into running, and something like 16 months into letting God teach me to love my body..."suddenly" indeed...)
Before I rode, I feasted on: 3/4 cup brown rice (that's TOO BIG a serving in general, but I knew I was about to ride a 50, and that's a good time for carbs), 1/2 can of refried beans, 1/4 can of fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 entire avocado, chopped, a generous dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and a big bunch of red sauce, all with a big ol' bottle of water and then a water chaser. That was an AWESOME bowl-o-food and carried me through the day well. I did stop at the half point of the ride for 2 hard boiled eggs (from a local farm, of course) and I drank my water backpack dry while I rode. Afterward, I enjoyed half a porterhouse steak (I don't do meat most days anymore, but this was extra I had from preparing for a church cookout yesterday), a small baked potato, and a small bowl of Greek salad (and endless quantities of water - I sweated enough riding that even with all that drinking, I didn't need a singe potty stop in the 6 hours I was out there). Tonight, craving something sweet, I had a banana. Turns out that'll scratch the itch just as well as ice cream might have. Who knew?
Probably too much detail there. Just sharing another day in the life of letting God teach me to love my body.
This stuff rocks.