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Longest Ride

November 1, 2011

Today’s Ride: 167km—Terra Cotta

Weather: Cool. Sun and clouds

With 5000km in sight, the original plan was to put in a 220km ride today and get it over with. Google maps had outlined the route, and I was wondering how I might hold up—the route was not a soft one to make up for the distance. Then Mrs. Velonista pointed out that we had afternoon plans and that 220km was going to take some time. So the trip got cut down a bit.

Out to Terra Cotta and then home through Glen Williams, although I didn’t stop for lunch this time. Discovered some interesting new roads and put in very good time on the outward leg. I was in Terra Cotta in 2.5 hours, but then ran into a head/crosswind on the return leg along 15 Sideroad that seemed to slow progress and bring on fatigue. It couldn’t have been that bad—I still managed to maintain a 28kph average for the ride—but the return leg, with its detour out to Crief started to hurt a bit. Not legs or lungs, both of which were quite happy with the work rate, but shoulders and back stiffened, which was unpleasant.

The ride started well. Up Sydenham Hill and then Snake Rd. The weather was cool, but the wind was light near home, which meant I got out on a good pace and climbed out the valley without too much trouble. Same with the other climbs of the day, though none was as long or as severe. Possible exception was the hill on the Terra Cotta course on Heritage Road (pic below). As with my visit in August, this wasn’t nearly as hard as I remembered it, and I was soon at the top and not needing any time to catch my breath before bumping up several gears and rolling away. No, the wind was the tougher obstacle today. Not severe, but tiring enough on a longer ride like this.

Now less than 50km shy of 5000km for the year. Not sure when I’ll manage the next ride, but hopefully I should clear that barrier by the end of the week. No snow in the forecast yet (how’s that for ensuring a blizzard tonight?) so there’s hope I’ll get the month of November to ride.

Heritage Road @ Terra Cotta

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2011 9:58 pm

    What’s up, doc?
    First, congratulation on arriving at your goal. You’ve really stacked on the kms in the last 2-3 months and I always enjoy seeing where you ride.

    But a question from the sleepy student in the back row:
    Do you put snow tires on your commuter? Which ones? If this winter is anything like the last one….

    • November 7, 2011 12:16 am

      Thanks! The last two or three months have been absolutely fantastic. I’m looking into how I might turn the sabbatical every seven years into one year of teaching and six riding.

      Snow tires: never experimented with them. I rode the mountain bike in snow with its regular tires a few times and thought this might have been easier with better gripping tires, and I figured that the commuter—with 28s—might cut through snow a bit better, but it wasn’t built until spring was well and truly here. I don’t fancy being too bold with the tires I have on now (less expensive, bike co-op specials, which are decidedly bottom of the line—like most of the rest of the bike). I’ll do some digging around, though, and get back to you…

  2. November 7, 2011 6:32 am

    Yes on that sabbatical:work ratio. I assume you are working on a manuscript and if that ends up on the NYTimes bestseller list (environmental history division), then I think the way forward is clear.

    The reason I ask was because I was looking at different flavors of studded tires (Schwalbe and Nokian) here (tires being more affordable at present than rollers):

    and I thought you’d be amongst the more snow-experienced of the group. The main condition here, though, is post-plowed road with alternating patches of ice and clear pavement rather than packed perma-snow. I rode through each of the last 2 winters but it gets kind of sketchy, particularly in the dark commuter hours.

    • November 7, 2011 7:21 pm

      Time with the good folks at Café Domestique has made me rethink a number of my previously held (mis)conceptions. I love that I’m learning everything all over again.

      As for the bestseller, thanks in advance for your support in this venture. Buy early and often. If the weather sours, I might actually get around to writing it…

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