I got the OK from the physiotherapist to get back on the bike after taking a solid 2 weeks off. I’ve done two sweet rides since getting the OK (and raced my first XC race of the season, which resulted in a sore body and did a bit of aching muscle recovery in there too).
The first bike ride was a late afternoon cruise through the river valley on the fixed gear. I filmed three segments of video on the trip and basically now have videographic proof that Edmonton is the best place in the whole world to live between the 10 of September and the 20th of October each year. Other dates are up for debate, lots of Colorado, Wisconsin, Upper New York State and Washington State are in pretty close contention after riding my bike there this summer.
This weekend I also had the opportunity to pay a visit to Rocky Mtn House. Intervarsity Groups from around Alberta have a tradition of meeting up out at Pioneer Ranch camp on Crimson lake on the third weekend of the school year and having a sweet weekend away from school before the homework crunch begins in earnest. I wasn’t exactly up for a day paddling a canoe and didn’t want to risk the possibility of slipping and bracing myself against a fall while climbing a ridge so I opted to take my bike out and go for a ride. I offered to drive a group out to 2 O’clock ridge at the west end of Abraham lake and then proceeded to bike all the way from there back to Rocky Mountain House. The scenery along the whole drive out was spectacular and figured I would be able to see the most of it if I rode point to point instead of doing a loop. I hopped on the bike with my camelback (first time ever riding with a camelback) a couple roast beef sandwiches, 3 bananas and a few sweet and salt bars. The sun was shining and for the first 90 minutes or so I had a light tailwind to push me along. I averaged 35 kms per hour for the first hour, loving the opportunity to ride in the aero-position and looking at the green and gold countryside roll past.
All told the trip was 160 kms, yet another century to tack on to the stats for this summer. That makes 18 century rides for 2008, a tough record to break! My ride time was sub 5 hours (4:50 ride time, 5:19 under the gun), I didn’t quite match my performance in east colorado with the total time under 5 hours (4:48 ride time, 4:56 under the gun). The lack of support vehicles meant I needed to stop in at the grocery store in Nordegg to stock up on water (and a pepperoni stick) before heading out on the stretch of road with no services for 92 kms!
This was my first ride this season with aerobars on and I didn’t really consider the ramifications of that until I had proceeded to get an achy lower back and neck. It typically takes a few rides to get those muscles used to the aero position and they typically happen early in April so I’m not in good enough shape to bite off a century anyways. This wasn’t exactly the case, I probably rode aero a bit too much for the first half of the ride as I needed to hop off the bike and stretch out my back with about 40 kms to go.