The Road

Things have been slightly crazy lately. Spring activities have been in full gear for the kids. Anna was running track and had 2 meets each week. Will is playing little league baseball and has 2 games per week. They have both been swimming and have already had their first long course swim meet. Will also did his  first triathlon of the season, and had his end of the year orchestra concert. Given all of those events, we have had very few open nights for the last month. I've been able to get my runs in over lunch, but I haven't been biking much.

Bike To Work week was this week, so I decided to try my hand at the commute, which is a little over 20 miles each way. I had mapped out my routes and pre-driven them to be sure they were safe. The weather finally cooperated on Wednesday, so I dropped Anna off at swim practice (yes, we do that a couple mornings a week before school), went home and finished packing my bag.

I began my journey about 5:45. The beginning of my route has a few decent climbs in it, so by 6 I was wondering what I was doing, but I kept on pedaling. Everything went pretty well until about 6:30. I stopped at an intersection for some traffic and when I pulled away, my clothes fell out of my backpack. No biggie. I stopped an picked them up and returned to the task. I did take a wrong turn at that intersection, but had I not, I probably would have lost my clothes. The rest of the trip was uneventful and I arrived at work around 7, refreshed and ready for the day (after a shower, of course).

For the return trip, I did get started a little later than I had wanted due to work issues, and that made traffic situations with more traffic in some areas and less in others. I did have to alter my route a few times because of street closures that had occurred in the last week, but other than adding a couple of climbs, they didn't take me far off my planned route. About the 16 mile mark, I was really starting to feel the results of the days riding in my quads. The slightest climb was making them cramp. However, I didn't believe it was something I couldn't get through. I just had to maintain a steady, easy pace. I did try to avoid any climbs the rest of the way, but knew I would have a couple short climbs when I got near home. I tried to avoid one, but didn't turn off soon enough and still had the slightest incline for a couple of blocks. At the top, my legs said no more. Both quads locked and I knew I was done. I pulled over and stopped, called for my support vehicle and stood straddling my bike until the cramps released. I almost called off the cavalry since I was less than a mile from home, but knew with remaining hill, that the muscles would just cramp again, maybe worse. I decided to take the help and keep the challenge of completing the commute for another day.

I'm disappointed that I didn't finish the task, but as I think about it, the ride wasn't a loss. I learned quite a bit about the process. I need to drastically cut what I carry on my back. I shouldn't be carrying more than a phone and some ID. Everything else needs to be pre-staged, like my work clothes (especially shoes) and if I want to carry my lunch, that too. I probably need to hydrate and increase my electrolyte intake as well to prevent the cramps. Most importantly though, I need to get some more bike miles on the road to increase my endurance.
Artist for Song in Title: Jackson Browne


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