Mercy Riders

Pushing pedals, pushing hope

Riding hard versus riding long

Riding the Keiser

These past nine days of January have been great for riding, both indoor and out. I did several several short rides and one long one, which – ouch – hurt! With Indianapolis temps in the 50s and 60s, the weekend of January 11, I broke away early from work and put in 20 miles before dark. Saturday, I did 40 miles. This week, I rode the Kaiser spin bike during lunch at our fitness center at work. I spin between one to two hours, often followed by a quick weight circuit. Yesterday, with sunny skies and projected temps in the 50s, I rode 70 miles. Riding five hours in a stretch is not a natural step from prior days riding one to two hours.

Most times when I ride, I tend to push it hard (the long- long-ago racer asserts his impractical self), which leaves my legs really feeling the effort. I’ve been thinking about the Mercy Ride, the day after day, 100 miles or so, and how I will adjust to that. So, yesterday I purposefully relaxed my pace. Too bad the wind was not so relaxing. It blew from the south, southwest, 20-30 mph! On the 10 miles of northerly stretch, I blasted along, averaging 23 mph. The final 15 miles, however, were directly against the wind, which meant riding a laughable 8-13 mph. Slog city! Still, riding with or into the wind is much better than managing a crosswind, which meant leaning into the traffic lane, constantly adjusting to hold my straight line, avoiding either being blown off the road, and veering too far into the lane.  The last few miles were a killer; I had to push it (funny when the wind is so strong that stopping for stoplights doesn’t require braking ;-)). I was beat when I finally arrived home. But I was glad to get some distance in. I could have seriously used a leg massage, if I had had time and money to go get one!

I had my second-ever table massage, after riding hard on Thursday. It felt miraculous…afterwards. My legs had felt stiff all week, regardless of stretching. Holly, the therapist, kneaded my legs like dough, and spent a lot of time on my taut IT bands.  I need more stretching there. Holly’s application of cross friction massage really made a difference, though the technique had me wincing, and I nearly leapt off the table a couple times. More stretching, yes… Thanks Holly!

While I’m spinning, I usually listen to iPod audio recordings. Recently, I’m doing lectures called “Cycles of American Political Thought” from The Great Courses series by The Teaching Company. I also listen to various social/political opinion podcasts, the tech podcasts by Leo Laporte and Lifehacker, and, finally, I’m becoming hooked on “the best podcast in the universe” the “No Agenda Show” an investigative news/opinion podcast. Brash, entertaining commentary on the unreported news.

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