Ben Wheeler 80 Mile Ride

I did my last July bike ride this morning. I took off on the F5 around 6:20 this morning, and rode my Ben Wheeler 80 mile route.The clouds from the last couple of days were gone, it was sunny and it got hot quickly this morning. I finished just after noon, and it was already 93 degrees. I had done two 30 mile rides during the week, so for the third week in a row, ended up with 140 miles total for the week.

I ended up with 620 miles for the month of July. That’s my best mileage month for the year, and finally puts me right on the pace I need to maintain to make my mileage goal of 5,500 miles for the year. My monthly mileage average needs to be 460 miles to reach that goal, but I likely won’t make my monthly goals in either November nor December, so from now to then, I need to stay on a pace of more miles per month than that average.

Today’s route.

Ben Wheeler 80 Mile Ride

I took off on the F5 just before 6:30 this morning and did my 80 mile loop out to Ben Wheeler. It was cloudy and breezy when I took off, but soon cleared off and was getting pretty hot when I finished the ride just after noon. I had done 30 mile rides Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning, so ended up with a total of 140 miles for the week.

Today was my first 80 mile ride of the year. The Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred is only six weeks away, so it’s time for some longer rides to get me ready. I was trying to do a brisk pace and wasn’t very happy with the 15.3 mph average I managed, but I battled a low rear tire for much of the ride, and I think that was the main reason I couldn’t muster a faster pace. I was pretty wiped out at the end. I’m still running tubeless tires, and they do successfully stop leaks, but not until the tire is down to about 40 psi, it seems. That’s enough to get me home, but much too low for a road tire, and makes for extra work to move the bike. Time to me to pull off that rear tire and patch it.

Today’s route.

Martin Mills 70 Mile Ride.

I took off on the F5 this morning and rode to Martin Mills, adding some extra miles on State Highway 19, to end up with 70 miles for the day. I was on the bike shortly after 7:00 am, and finished well before noon, but it was still a hot day on the bike. I ended up with a 16 mph average on bike today, a very brisk pace for me. I did 30 mile rides on Wednesday and Thursday morning, so ended up with 130 miles for the week.

I ended up with a total of 520 miles on the bike in the month of June. That’s a good mileage total for me. I would like to get that much or more in July.

Today’s 70 mile route.

Martin Mills Metric Plus Ten

I took off this morning on the F5 and did my Martin Mills Metric route, adding another 10 miles on State Highway 19, for 70 miles. I did two 30 miles rides during the week, so had a total of 130 miles for the week. I started today’s ride just after 7:00 am and finished just before noon, so I was finished before the hottest part of the day.

And it is hot right now, heat training time in Texas, you might say. The last few days have seen temperatures in the 90′s with high humidity, so the heat index has been 105 plus. I finished up early enough today to avoid the worst of the heat, but both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s 30 mile rides were done after work, in the heat of the day.

By the time I ride the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred in late August, I’m used to the heat. But this first heat of the year is always tough, with the body not being acclimated to riding in the heat yet, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as wiped out after a 30 mile ride as I was on Wednesday. But it’s good heat training, and that’s what I kept reminding myself as I was suffering on the road.

Today’s 70 mile route.

Ben Wheeler 80 Mile Ride

After work this afternoon, ahead of the storms that are closing in now, I managed to get in a 30 mile ride. Between working out of town and continued flooding, I didn’t manage a single ride during the week last week. I rode my Ben Wheeler route on Saturday for 80 miles, my only ride of the week. Today’s ride gave me 453 miles for the month, not as many as I would have liked.

Most of my rides are done at an easy pace, but in the summer, I start picking up the pace to get myself ready for the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred at the end of August. On Saturday’s 80 mile Ben Wheeler ride, I finished with a 16.3 mph average, my best ever average for a solo ride on the rough roads I ride around here. I have no explanation for that, but looking at my other rides this month, my average looks much better than it did at this same time last year, that, in spite of the fact that my weight is five pounds or so above what it needs to be for HHH in August. Whatever has me stronger this year, I’ll take it.

Saturday’s 80 mile Ben Wheeler route.

Martin Mills Metric Plus Ten

I ended up with a total of 531 miles ridden for the month of April. That’s a good April mileage for me, and I was hoping to get near the same mileage this month. But all the storms and flooding have made it tough. I got 120 miles the week before last week, but last week, after two 30 mile rides during the week, I had a 60 mile ride planned for Saturday, to give me another 120 miles.

But when I got up that morning, weather radar was showing a storm bearing down on Gun Barrel City from the northwest. My ride routes take me straight east, and it looked like I should be able to stay east of the storm, so I took off on the F5. I was staying ahead of the main storm, but a new cloud in front of me built up into a smaller storm with lots of lightning. I don’t like riding in the rain. Skinny bicycle tires and wet pavement aren’t a good mix. But if I don’t like riding in the rain, I REALLY don’t like riding in lightning. I cut off the route and rode to nearby Purtis Creek State Park to take refuge.

I hadn’t noticed it on the rough roads I’d been on that morning, but as soon as I reached the smooth state park roads, I could feel an unmistakeable thump, thump, thump coming from my front wheel as I rode. As soon as I stopped, I found the problem, a large knot on the almost new front tire on my bike. At that point, I gave up and called a friend to pick me up. I only had 19 miles for the day. I waited at home for the rain to clear out, put a different wheel and tire on the front of the bike, and just past noon, took off to try again. I rode another 31 miles to give me 50 for the day, and 110 for the week.

This week, between work and storms, I didn’t get a ride in at all until Friday. I rode 40 miles after work Friday, then got up Saturday morning and rode my Martin Mills Metric route, but added another 10 miles to the route to give me 70 miles for the day, and 110 miles for the week. There is more rain in the forecast for this week, so getting my rides in will continue to be a challenge.

Martin Mills Metric route plus 10.

Martin Mills Metric

Another week, and again, more days of flooding in Texas. By Wednesday, I was starting to wonder if I was going to be able to get any riding miles this week, but after big storms during the night, it dried up enough Wednesday that I was able to get in 30 miles that afternoon. It came another round of storms that night, but had dried up pretty well when I got another 30 miles in on Friday afternoon. I took off this morning and rode my Martin Mills Metric route for another 60 miles. The weather was truly nice today. Today’s ride gave me 120 miles for the week.

Today’s Martin Mills Metric route.

Wednesday’s 30 mile route.

Riding My Age

Yesterday’s 65 mile ride to Martins Mill, combined with a Tuesday ride of 40 miles, gave me 105 miles for the week. I ended up with 410 miles in March. That’s about average mileage for me in March.

There is a fairly popular thing among cyclists called Ride My Age. On or near your birthday, you do a bike ride, the length of which in miles, is equal to or greater than the number of years of your age. I’ve never gotten into riding my age. During my club riding years, I was doing rides greater than my age on most weekends. And during my randonneuring years, I did lots of rides much longer than that. On April 4th, 2010, one day before my 59th birthday, I completed a ride of 241 miles. That was more than quadruple my age!

But these days, most of my rides are much shorter, while my age number is starting to get up there. So, I’m thinking that maybe the Ride My Age thing may be becoming a worthy challenge for me now. With that in mind, since last Tuesday was my 65th birthday, I’m calling yesterday’s 65 mile ride this year’s official Ride My Age ride.

Yesterday’s 65 mile Ride My Age route.

100 Miles This Week.

I took off late yesterday morning on the F5 and did my 40 mile loop out to Purtis Creek State Park. That, combined with two 30 miles rides during the week, gave me 100 miles total for the week. But my mileage totals for the previous two weeks weren’t good at all, and I ended up with only 290 miles ridden for the month of February.

I spent the last half of the month battling bronchitis. It came about from my sinuses draining down my throat, and treating the bronchitis with guaifenesin for the rest of the month never got ahead of the constant drainage. I never had any signs of an infection, but on Friday, February 26th, I finally went to the doctor. I’ve learned not to ignore bronchitis that lingers for too long. It’s just begging to turn into pneumonia.

Sure enough, I had no infection, and the doctor gave me no antibiotics. Since I already had plenty of guaifenesin, he just gave me a perscription for pseudoephedrine to treat the sinus drainage. It does seem to be working, and I’m finally much better, though not completely free of chest congestion yet. I need to make a note about the pseudoephedrine for future use. It can be obtained without a prescription, though you do have to ask for it at the pharmacy counter.

On Saturday, February 27th, I attended the LUNGevity Hope Summit in Irving. Nothing worse than attending a gathering of lung cancer survivors while you have a horrible hacking cough, but I wanted to go. I didn’t participate and interact as much as I would have otherwise. Staying quiet cuts down on the coughing. I don’t stop riding when I have bronchitis, but missing half a lung, and after numerous bouts with pneumonia, I do ease up quite a bit, hence the low mileage for the last half of the month. I hate it when these blog entries end up being more about my health than about riding. Spring will be here soon, and hopefully, that will change.

Yesterday’s route.

390 Miles in January

Today’s 30 mile ride, along with a couple of short rides during the week, gives me a total of 100 miles on the bike for this, the first week of February. I ended up with 390 miles on the bike in January.

My mileage goal these days is 5,500 miles a year. That’s around 106 miles a week or 458 miles a month. But I don’t ride close to that mileage every month. I ride more than that in the summer, and quite a bit less in the winter. I try for 100 miles a week in the winter, but don’t ride on the coldest days, and ease up when I’m sick. If I can get close to 400 miles for a winter month, I’m happy with that. Last year, I only managed 220 miles in January. So I’m off to a better start this year.

I’ve also managed to keep my weight down better this year. I weigh 188 pounds right now. That’s just four pounds heavier than the 184 pounds I managed to get down to at the end of August for the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred ride. If I can make it through the winter and its associated baking and candy making onslought of mine, without gaining any more than that, then I’m doing well, I think.