First record: I've ridden over 125 miles in the past week!
I kinda sorta can't believe it. I guess the combination of a better bike and a more physically fit me has translated into longer rides. We're now averaging about 40 miles per ride and it doesn't actually seem that long anymore.
I am learning, however, that one really needs to work to stay hydrated on long hot summer rides.
Yesterday the official high was 97 degrees, though CatMan and I both saw temps pushing the triple digits at our homes. Any way you slice it, it was hot!
So, what did CatMan and I decide to do? In our infinite wisdom, we went for a 45 mile bike ride! Oy!
OK, perhaps it wasn't our best decision ever. This particular ride is one that seemed almost impossible to me just last year, but now it's one of our regular routes. It takes us up and over two of Denver's flood protection dams (think big, steep hills,) with a long, hot, shadeless stretch in between.
|View from the top of Bear Creek Dam|
I drank a total of 4 bottles full of water... that's 12 cups, or 3/4 of a gallon! Still, by mile 35 my head was pounding and I started to feel a bit like a wilted piece of lettuce.
We decided to stop and take a break, which we don't usually do, at a little cafe along the bike path. It was closed, but the drinking fountain and restrooms were open, so we sat down in the shade to catch our breaths and guzzle some water while we waited for a few blessed clouds to blow their way our direction.
|Funky Flowers at the Bike Cafe|
Anyhow, we made it home unscathed, but I think I probably drank a whole other gallon of water after I got home! Sorta remarkable but true. I think perhaps I should try to do a better job of hydration before the next ride rather than trying to replenish fluids once I'm already dehydrated.
So..... record number 2: I set a new personal best speed record of 38 miles per hour! (That's 61.1 kilometers per hour for those of you who speak metric.)
Riding fast is not necessarily a goal for me, but my little bike computer keeps track of speed so it's sorta fun to look down and see how fast you're going, especially when you're screaming down a big hill.
This was on the 4th of July. It was a bit hot so we decided to ride west to Morrison, which is near Red Rocks park. It's all uphill, but the temperature cools off as you gain elevation, so the extra work is totally worth it.
Anyhow, we got just about to the hogback, which is the first major ridge west of Denver, when a big, dark thundercloud blew in from the west. Not really wanting to get hit by lightning or caught in a hail storm, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and high tailed it outta there.
So we were headed eastward on Morrison Road, which is one of the few busy streets that I actually enjoy riding on. It has a shoulder that's wider than a lane of traffic, and there's a state park all along the side of it so there are no side streets to contend with. Plus, it's nice, smooth pavement.
We were pedaling for all we were worth, trying to outrun the storm. It was right behind us though with fierce winds blowing us along and raindrops pelting us from behind. Then we hit "the hill" which is a stretch about the length of a football field with a very steep grade, probably around 10% or so.
The wind was whipping and I was riding the breaks the entire way down, so imagine my shock when I glanced at my bike computer and it said 38mph! I was sure I'd misread it, and that I was really only going 28mph, but when we finally screeched to a halt at the bottom of the hill I checked my maximum trip speed and sure enough it confirmed the amazing number.
|Look, I have proof! OK... I know you can't really read that, but trust me, it says my maximum speed was 38mph.|
Lordy! I'm sure glad I didn't crash, 'cause that definitely would have hurt!
OK, enough bike ride blathering... I promised you a Crazy Lady Eco Tip. I've sorta been thinking of starting a series of these. They're not gonna save the planet or anything, they're just funny quirky things I do to make my life a little easier, save a few pennies, and be a smidge nicer to the big blue marble that we call home.
So here's my first one: Bathe with your workout clothes.
I realize this is a little bit nuts, but when I come home from a long bike ride, I've gotten in the habit of just tossing my bike clothes into the tub with me. They're generally just sweaty, not really dirty, and they last much longer if you hand wash them rather than putting them through the machine.
Plus, it takes soooooo long to dirty enough clothes to fill my huge washing machine, that I'd need a ridiculous number of them if I was gonna wait until I had enough stuff to make a load.
So I just decided that it would be easier and quicker to wash them at the same time as I wash myself. It saves water and energy, and this way I always have clean clothes for my next ride.
It's sorta like rinsing your swimsuit in the shower or something, but I do give the dirty spots a good scrub with soap. Then I just let them drip dry.
|Yes, that is the lovely carpeting in my bedroom. Hey! It's RETRO!|
I told you it was crazy. :-) So that's about all the news from the funny farm.
How about you? Got any personal Bests or crazy eco tips to share?