Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oh yeah, I rode 40 miles

So I have already saturated all my other online media outlets with this news, live-tweeting at five-mile intervals, uploading pictures on my journey, and generally delighting in my accomplishment for several hours and days afterward... but I forgot to mention it here. And I really think I should, since this is, after all, my Fitness Blog of Record:

I rode my bike 40 miles!

This was about 10 days ago, on a Saturday, when I had grown accustomed to my regular 13 mile commute to work, and I wanted more of a challenge. So on a warm and humid weekend morning, I strapped up my heart rate monitor, filled my water bottles, and headed out on the two-trail 20 mile journey from Silver Spring to Old Town.

The ride out took a little over 90 minutes, and entailed taking the Capital Crescent Trail (my daily trail) 12 miles from Silver Spring to Georgetown, then crossing the Key Bridge over the Potomac, and taking the Mt. Vernon Trail the remaining 8 miles to Old Town.

The ride out was thrilling. I'm pretty good at the Crescent trail since I ride it all the time, so that was no problem. After a few minutes of quizzical searching - as I had forgotten to map out exactly how to get from the sea-level trail to the 100-foot-level Key Bridge - I found a roundabout street path that led me there. The next 8 miles were a nice little bit of reminiscing, as I used to ride the Mt. Vernon Trail to get to my old job in Crystal City about 4 years ago.

The Mt. Vernon Trail is mostly flat, so it was an easy 8 miles... I will admit to passing a fair number of people and bikers on the way, as its posted "10 mph" speed limit is utterly ridiculous for a flat trail. On the way there were beautiful views of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, and kayakers enjoying the water.

I felt great until about mile 17, at which point I began to feel a little winded. Fortunately, Old Town was just a few miles ahead of me, and so I soldiered on. After another 15 minutes, I made it!

A friend said this looks like a magazine cover :-)

Having gotten to Old Town, I realized something rather pressing. I had no idea what to do next.

There were definitely a good dozen dead flies on each arm.

I walked my bike around for a while, and eventually settled on Thai food. It was delicious.

I was so proud, I Skyped my parents to tell them all about Matt's Big Adventure!

"You're riding too much! You'll hurt your knees!" --Mom

Fully satiated, it was time to head back. I knew the trip back would not be as pleasant as the trip out, but I didn't realize it was also going to be 10 degrees hotter (mid-80s) and that I would be totally exhausted. It turns out 20 miles is a great distance for me. FORTY miles is insane, at least at my current level of fitness.

It didn't help that the last 10 miles are mostly uphill. After around cumulative mile 31, it was a matter of sheer will to get back home. Luckily I was still surrounded by the beauty of nature, so it wasn't all bad.

When I arrived, I wiped all the dead bugs off my sun-block covered arms, and collapsed on the floor in a heap.  It took about 3 days to recover, but I found that the next time I got on the bike to ride my normal 13 miles to work, everything felt about 20 percent easier. It was incredible! I felt so much stronger! I can't wait to do a long trip again. :-)

I passed 200 miles this weekend... I was having so much fun I didn't even realized I'd hit that milestone. I think I'm up to around 230 now -- and that doesn't count the 16 miles' worth of testing pedal-assist ebikes this weekend................ (DUN DUN DUN)

Join us next time when I explain why pedal-assist is NOT, in fact, "cheating."