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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Long Ride Effects

The cycling was interrupted this week with the unexpected visit of a friend. She came in on Wednesday and resumed her journey late Thursday afternoon. Because I tend to be quite anal about the condition of our home when company is coming, I spent Wednesday cleaning before her arrival, so the ride didn't happen. While I longed to get out, I think not riding was a good thing after my 133 miles on Sunday. Having extra recovery days most likely didn't hurt things at all.

During Sunday's ride, I thought some about the effects I would feel from cycling over a hundred miles. I found out day by day this week. Monday my quads were sore, like I'd done a lot of squats, and by mid afternoon I needed to take a nap. Tuesday, the soreness had eased, so Hubby and I went for a short ride, actually two short rides. The first was an early morning twelve miler around the lake. The air was cool, the sun was shining, and according to the turbines the wind was non-existent. The second ride came about after my new Garmin arrived. I had to try it out, and since we were still in our cycling shorts and jerseys, we jumped back on the bikes and went out for a seven mile ride. The Garmin is absolutely awesome. I can now keep track of my cadence and heart rate, giving me a clear idea of just how much effort I'm not putting in. Let's just say I found out I've been a slacker. I'm hoping to see a significant difference in my speed/distance now, given the Garmin will push me to go beyond my usual effort levels. Maybe by the end of the season I'll be able to do a century in five hours.

All of the quad soreness disappeared by Wednesday, but with the waning of the soreness, one other painful side effect came to the forefront: a very sun blistered lower lip. With each stop during my ride, I made sure to slather on the sunscreen. I forgot to protect my lips, though, and now I'm suffering from blister on top of blister. I've always wondered what I'd look like with collagen-enhanced lips. Well, I now know what my lower lip would look like as it puffed up rather nicely. Eating hasn't been fun the last couple of days, so I turned to protein shakes; drinking is a lot less painful than eating.

Today, the lip is on the mend, and I'm not feeling fatigued, in need of a nap. During last evening's ride, I felt stronger all the way around. I kicked the effort up for about six miles to see how I was feeling, and according to the Garmin, I kept the speed over 20 mph the entire time. I love looking at the numbers as I'm riding and seeing my heart rate over 170. That tells me I'm actually doing something. I also like knowing I'm keeping my cadence between 75 and 95. Knowing this info at all times truly makes a difference in the overall effort of a ride. I won't ride hard all of the time, but being able to change things up and set a variety of goals should make things even more interesting.

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