Monday, June 02, 2014

May Wrap

Spare time was difficult to come by in May, so it was difficult to get any posts up. I had a number of unfinished drafts throughout the month, so I just decided to combine them all into one post.

As in years past, I participated in the May Is Bike Month competition at work. I pledged a conservative 700 miles, a little more than my personal best of 612 miles. However, my personal goal was really 900 miles, a number I figured I could reach by utilizing my road and cyclocross bikes when possible.

May 1 - I rolled out the door at 4 a.m. for my first commute to work. When riding all the way from home, I use a mountain bike. This allows me to utilize dirt trails and stay away from the busy roads all the way to the bike trail.

It's always exciting to gear up for the first commute of the year. I bought a NiteRider Lumina 700 to supplement my eight-year-old NiteRider Rage. I really like the Lumina cordless format, and being able to charge via USB is great. Having a good light on the helmet and the handlebars was awesome. It really improved the night riding experience.

I made it to work in one piece with 38 miles, a nice start.

May 2 - I rode 64 miles on the bike trail using my road bike, and it was a miserable experience. My fitness wasn't great, it was hot, and I struggled mightily at the end.

May 6 - I left home to a misty drizzle, but didn't think that much of it. We often have similar conditions on our hill only to find clear skies a few miles down the road. Not on this day.

The mist became a sprinkle, which became light rain, which became hard rain the farther I rode. The first section of dirt is a couple miles of gravel road, which handled the rain well.

The next section was rocky singletrack, and it was here that things started to get sketchy. I like a challenge as much as the next guy, but my low-tread tires, mud covered rocks and darkness weren't mixing well. I had a number of close calls, but no crashes. I made it to work wet and muddy, but alive.

May 8 - Rode the MTB to work again. It was less fun than the first few times, and I had picked up some poison oak. This would be the last commute using the dirt trails because of the proliferation of poison oak this year.

May 12 - I rode 57 miles on the road bike after work, and it was terribly boring. There was a time when I really loved road riding, but that time has passed. This would be the last ride on the road bike.

May 14 - I switched to the cross bike as my commute vehicle and started in Folsom, where I could rice a mostly car-free 22 miles each way. This gave me more miles, less gear, less hassle and no chance of any more poison oak.

May 15 - After another commute day, I am at 517 miles with 16 days to go.

May 17-19 - After three mixed terrain rides on the mountain bike totaling 120 miles and over 7000 feet of climbing, I am officially tired.

May 22 - Only a mile from my house on a planned 40 to 50 mile ride on my cross bike, I had a close encounter with a carload of idiot teenagers in a BMW. They barely missed hitting me and forced me into the ditch. I escaped unscathed, but their screeching-tired-near-miss put me in a foul mood, and I cut my ride short at 21 miles.

May 23 - Still angry about the incident with the car, and wondering why I am doing this, I take the day off.

May 24 - At this point I had pretty much quit pursuing miles. I decided to take the family out for a ride.

We started in Diamond Springs and took the El Dorado Trail up to Camino.

We rode on singletrack, dirt roads, bike trail and city streets.

It was the most climbing the boy had ever done, and he did great. He enjoyed the downhill ride back to the car.

I didn't ride the last two days of the month due to work, two kids graduating, little league, shopping, errands, etc. I was also coming down with a cold, which I am suffering from today.

I ended with 855 miles, far more than I have ever ridden before. In some ways I am very happy with that number, but also disappointed because I was on pace for well over a thousand.

It's tough to keep riding consistently for 31 days and still maintain some order with the rest of your life. The month of May is packed with the kids' school and sports activities. There were certainly evenings when the last thing I wanted to do was strap on the shin guards and catch my son's pitching in the backyard, my legs tired and aching, but I did it. In order to pull it all off I often had to get up as early as 3:30 a.m. A lot of sleep was sacrificed, which is essential for recovery and health. I spent an entire month tired and eventually it caught up with me.

Right now I have absolutely no interest in doing this again, but I'm sure in 11 months I will have forgotten what a grind it was. Surely I'll be right back at it, and likely complaining about it again, too.